Consumed by “it”

•March 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday I listened to a pretty unique sermon at my local Church. John Ortberg, the pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, chose to show a video of him running on a treadmill to represent our relentless, neverending pursuit of “it”. “It” are those targets that we expect will solve our lives and fill us with happiness. e.g. a house, $1M, a partner, a new job, a sports car. Unfortunately, once we reach “it” we immediately discover another new target. He used many quotes of Ecclesiastes, one of my favorite books. I encourage you to spend the next 15 minutes watching the video.

Unfortunately life sounds too much like a social game sometimes. Having worked on them for a while I can tell you that most games have an infinite number of levels. Choose the one you play wisely and enjoy it.



Are digital subscriptions saving the music industry?

•February 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) just published its annual Digital Music report. In 2012 the industry saw its first year of growth (+0.3%) since 1999. There are a couple of other interesting data points:

  • Digital revenues increased by an estimated 9 per cent to US$5.6 billion in 2012, now accounting for around 34 per cent of global industry revenues.
  • Download sales increased in volume by 12 per cent globally in 2012 and represent around 70 per cent of overall digital music revenues.
  • The number of people paying to use subscription services leapt 44 per cent in 2012 to 20 million. Subscription revenues are expected to account for more than 10 per cent of digital revenues for the first time in 2012.
  • Digital channels account for the majority of record companies’ income in an increasing number of markets including India, Norway, Sweden and the US.

The report also keeps calling out piracy as the main barrier to growth, yet there hasn’t been a significant milestone in this area that could explain the growth in the industry in 2012. What has been driving the growth is companies getting closer to a value proposition for users that is better and more convenient than piracy at an acceptable cost: digital subscriptions with unlimited streaming and a gigantic music catalog. In Sweden, home of Spotify and the Pirate Bay, almost 50% of internet users used a subscription service in 2012. Subscriptions are disrupting piracy.

What this industry needs is more carrots, less sticks.

Mobile != on the go

•February 23, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Mobile apps are optimized to deliver instantaneous location-based value for users on the go. When tablets started growing, companies started treating them differently from smartphones. The assumption was that its use was mostly at home.  Harvard Business Review has now published a study that included this terrific piece of information:

Mobile doesn’t always mean on the go. New data show that 68% of consumers’ smartphone use happens at home.

The article was focused on the implications of this for ecommerce. Today I would like you to think of what this means for your product. Can you deliver local, immediate experiences for the 32% of people on the go and broader, deeper experiences for the other 68%?

Mobile Phones Tackling Poverty

•June 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Terrific infographic from USAID as part of their social exhibit. It is sometimes important to step back and think of the impact that technology can have in the developing world.

Infographic: Mobile Phones Tackling Poverty

Figure out how to monetize mobile

•June 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

KPCB‘s Mary Meeker did a terrific presentation at D10 last week. You can go over the deck yourself, it’s available below.

I’ll point out some of the highlights:

  • 1.1B Global Mobile 3G Subscribers, 37% Growth, Q4 – @ Only 18% of Mobile Subscribers. Impressive 29% of USA Adults Own Tablet / eReader,Up from 2% Less Than Three Years Ago. Despite Tremendous Ramp So Far,Smartphone User Adoption Has Huge Upside.
  • Global Mobile Traffic Growing Rapidly to 10% of Internet Traffic
  • Rapidly Growing Mobile Internet Usage SurpassedMore Highly Monetized Desktop Internet Usage in May, 2012, in India
  • eCPMs 5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop
  • ARPU (Average Revenue per User) 1.7-5x Lower on Mobile than Desktop

It seems that monetizing mobile went from being an opportunity to a necessity for survival.


•May 18, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Credit: Zef Nikolla

Today Facebook became a public company. This is not only a great moment for social media but for venture capital, Silicon Valley and entrepreneurship.

Congratulations to all of you who made it happen. Thanks for keeping the dream alive.

Still not tablet ready?

•April 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

A month ago I published a post on the iPad outselling all major PC manufacturers. This week Forrester published a study that makes it clear that tablets are also changing user behavior; disrupting print and online media, music and gaming.

Device convergence is nothing new, but for many the device of choice is still mobile phones. The richer UX that tablets provide enables more complex and longer experiences, that can be monetized better.

This chart shows the results of a survey among U.S. tablet owners regarding changes in their media and device use since they own a tablet.