Strategies and Mobilists

I’ve just added the “Carnival of Mobilists” to my little reading list over on the side there. It’s interesting stuff — a lot of discussions on the different mobile technologies out there and where the industry is going.

The funny thing is that for me, reading about where the industry is going and what various companies are up to has always been kind of like eating broccoli (or whatever your least-favorite-yet-good-for-you vegetable is…). Yet I’ve discovered that for some reason it’s more interesting on blogs. It seems kind of counterintuitive that reading things that random people have posted for free would be more interesting than serious news outlets, but it makes sense: A lot of news in the standard press consists of (maybe slightly modified) press releases, and it’s hard tell anything from a press release except that the P.R. departments of the companies involved want you to think that this new product or merger or whatever is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Whereas the bloggers tell what they think of the prospects of various technologies and why. Plus a lot of them are writers promoting themselves, so they’re skilled and motivated to write something interesting.

I’m not sure I really fit in with that particular blogging carnival since my interest here is more to get down in the guts of new technologies to see on how to apply them in practice, and only occasionally come up for air to tell you what I think of them and how they compare to related technologies. Off the top of my head yesterday I came up with a list of eleven little projects I’d like to try and write about here. So I should probably go find myself a carnival of mobile software engineering blogs. 😉 But it’s good to get some added perspective by reading the higher-level tech business blogs.

I have one little thing to say about macro business strategy though, and that’s that I think it’s cool that mobiles are starting to follow the rest of the Internet in the direction of having a big draw be socializing through content uploading and interacting with other users. It makes sense that a lot of this online interaction would be entirely mobile-based (i.e. there are people you play a game with on your mobile, but you don’t necessarily play a P.C. game at home against the same people). However, I’m more excited about the prospect of mobile applications having a tie-in with existing communities on the Internet.

For one thing, it’s difficult to build a community from scratch through mobile interaction, except for cases like games where the application provides a natural framework/activity. I can’t really see getting hooked on, say, a forum through my handset just because I can’t see that many posts at once, and what’s more it’s a pain to type a post on that tiny keyboard. But people who are already hooked on Internet communities are a great potential market for mobile services.

It’s almost kind of funny that the classic example program for an online service was originally the “real-time stock quotes” program. Probably many engineers (like me!) have a difficult time relating to people wanting such a thing (see above about how fascinated I am by business news). At least since the year 2000 anyway. Whenever I read tutorials implementing that service, I mostly just relate to the exercise on the “sell software to people who have money” principle.

On the other hand, I can easily see wanting to have a mobile client to stay up-to-the-minute on the latest posts on favorite blogs, forums, and wikis. My classic example program for an online service would be one that gives real-time blog stats for those neurotic bloggers who compulsively check their stats every twenty minutes. Not that I know anybody like that. Anyway, I’m totally exaggerating. I mean every five minutes.

It’s not clear how one could make money off such a thing, but identifying the market is an important step. Then comes a fun little engineering exercise known as designing the billing model… 😉

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2 comments so far

  1. Tomi T Ahonen on

    hi Carol and readers of a little bitty Java blogsite

    Welcome to the blogosphere. I’m very happy you enjoy the Carnival of the Mobilists, and like you, I too feel reading traditional industry rags for news about the industry (or even worse – industry reports) as very tedious, and am regularly falling behind on my necessary reading tasks.

    But reading some selected blogs – like Russell’s and Carlo’s MobHappy for example – really provides the fun in learning about what is going on in our industry.

    And with that – I am sure you too will find every so often, that you are that happy with a blog posting, that you would like to submit it to the Carnival. don’t be shy. There will be readers and fans….

    I’ll stop by here every so often to see how you see the world, and obviously, we welcome any readers to the Communities Dominate blogsite at http://www.communities-dominate.blogs.com

    Tomi Ahonen 🙂

  2. carolhamer on

    Thanks Tomi!

    By coincidence, I was just reading the “Communities Dominate Brands” blog — pretty interesting stuff!

    As you can see, I’ve just started this blog. I haven’t even started leaving comments on other people’s blogs yet, so I don’t really have any readers — yours is my first comment! (The default comment from “Mr. WordPress” doesn’t count. 😉 )

    But I expect to get the hang of tech blogging pretty quickly. If I come up with any posts that seem appropriate for the carnival, I’ll be sure to submit them — thanks for the invitation!


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