Archive for October, 2011

History of the Cell Phone

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Click twice for full screen:cellphone-evolution

Wall Street Journal Google Predictions

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Google (…) provided investors with a peek in the third quarter of 2010. The company said at the time that its mobile business was generating revenue at a $1 billion annual run rate and that its display business was generating revenue at a $2.5 billion run rate.

Mobile Advertising Big Bang Formula

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

t=0 : June 29, 2007

Eric Schmidt on Steve Jobs (Bloomberg)

Friday, October 7th, 2011

As seen in Bloomberg

Everyone knows the transaction where the board sided with John Sculley and Steve left Apple (AAPL). Steve sold all of his Apple stock, kept one share, and founded NeXT. Typical Steve maneuver. When I was still at Sun Microsystems, I visited him at NeXT—we did a bunch of deals with him. He was exactly the same way he was at Apple: strongly opinionated, knew what he was doing. He was so passionate about object-oriented programming. He had this extraordinary depth. I have a PhD in this area, and he was so charismatic he could convince me of things I didn’t actually believe.


I should tell you this story. We’re in a meeting at NeXT, before Steve went back to Apple. I’ve got my chief scientist. After the meeting, we leave and try to unravel the argument to figure out where Steve was wrong—because he was obviously wrong. And we couldn’t do it. We’re standing in the parking lot. He sees us from his office, and he comes back out to argue with us some more. It was over a technical issue involving Objective C, a computer language. Why he would care about this was beyond me. I’ve never seen that kind of passion.

At NeXT he built this platform—a powerful workstation platform for the kind of computing that I was doing, enterprise computing. When he came back to Apple, he was able to take the technology he invented at NeXT and sort of slide it underneath the Mac platform. So today, if I dig deep inside my Mac, I can find all of that NeXT technology. Now, this may not be of interest to users, but without the ability to do that the Mac would have died. I was surprised that he was able to do that. But he did it.

When he went to Apple, he was basically down to 1 percent market share. Apple was near bankruptcy, the company had been for sale, there were a series of management changes. I talked to him about it. He said, “The thing that I have that no one else has is very loyal customers.” He had these fanatical people who would line up all night for a product that wasn’t any good. He figured correctly that by upgrading and investing in and broadening the portfolio, he could do it. At some level he foresaw the next 10 years.

What I remember thinking at the time is that you shouldn’t take a job unless you know how to win. I had no clue how to do what he did. When somebody tells you they’re going to do something and you say, “I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,” and they succeed? That is the ultimate humbling experience. My interactions with Steve were always like that. He was always ahead of me. When he started working on tablets, I said nobody really likes tablets. The tablets that existed were just not very good. Steve said: “No, we can build one.” One of the things about Steve is, he was always in the realm of possibility. There was a set of assumptions that Steve would make that were never crazy. They were just ahead of me.

I joined Apple’s board after the Apple Stores started. It used to be that you would go to a store and you had Macs and PCs. And then, because of volume and because of the Microsoft (MSFT) monopoly, people were not buying any Macs. There was less and less distribution, and many dual Mac-PC distributors were going away. The argument at the time was you shouldn’t screw your distributors because they are your lifeline. Steve made the calculated decision to open a series of stores and turn it into a sort of a consumer lifestyle. He also understood that people had trouble with computers, and they wanted to go to a place where somebody could help them. The stores were universally derided as the stupidest idea ever known to man, and they would literally bankrupt the company. It was an incredibly gutsy move. And Apple Stores I believe are the highest-grossing stores in America.

It took enormous courage for Steve to go through the operations, the treatments—without violating his privacy, it’s just horrific what he had to go through. I think he made all the board meetings I was at. He was obviously ill sometimes, and sometimes he was fine. But Apple was his passion, along with his family. There was never any question when I was there as to his ability to do his job, and I just felt terribly sorry for him, as everyone else did, over what he was going through physically.

Steve and I were talking about children one time, and he said the problem with children is that they carry your heart with them. The exact phrase was, “It’s your heart running around outside your body.” That’s a Steve Jobs quote. He had a level of perception about feelings and emotions that was far beyond anything I’ve met in my entire life. His legacy will last for many years, through people he’s trained and people he’s influenced. But what death means is you can’t call—you can’t call him. It’s a loss. I’ll miss talking to him.

— As told to Jim Aley and Brad Wieners

How the smartphone killed mobile advertising

Monday, October 3rd, 2011


There is a common misconception that the mobile ad space remains inherently different from online advertising. This misunderstanding was born in the days before smartphone and tablets, when the fragmentation of devices and operating systems made it difficult to reach consumers. Today this is no longer the case. We need to stop treating mobile different, and realize that its now just another digital screen. It is standardized and scalable. Advertisers can now reach 100 billion impressions per month through a single size banner (300×50).

Mobile Advertising 101: Fragmentation and Porting

The world was very different when marketers first starting thinking about reaching consumers through their mobile phones. Around 2001 Europeans had embraced messaging as a new way of communication, and marketers realized the opportunity to reach them away from their couch. The first mobile advertising campaigns we ran at YellowPepper in 2003 were naturally txt based.

One of the earliest campaigns we ran was a fishing game for a beer company, in which players caught various size fish to win a year’s supply of beer. The interaction rates were so high that we burned out the servers, and increases sales by 3%. It was then that we knew mobile advertising had a future.

SMS (TXT) should have been ubiquitous , as all phones can send and receive text messages, but for marketers this was not the case. Each carrier set up their own shortcodes, and at the time it was not possible to txt from a Verizon phone to an ATT shortcode. This initiated the mobile advertising fragmentation decade, which really only ended with the introduction of the iPhone.

Before the iPhone the mobile web was dominated by WAP – the precursor to the mobile web. Each device had a different operation system, and each phone had a different browser. To create a mobile website, marketers had to build hundreds of sites for various capabilities and sizes. A multitude of companies were created to help brands and media companies accomplish this.

The madness peaked when the ecosystem started building applications for these devices. Companies had to create a new application for each handset. The process, which became known as “porting” was a highly labor intensive, required special knowledge, and engineering talent.

Of course in those days, it was almost impossible to conceive a mobile advertising campaign with a single creative that would reach a significant number of consumers. This lead to the emergence of mobile ad networks such as Third Screen Media, Enpocket, Jumptap, and Admob. These firms aggregated and standardized this highly fragmented inventory and helped marketers to execute campaigns.

This was mobile advertising 101. A small stand-alone ecosystem dominated by mobile companies.

Mobile Advertising Today

Today the fragmentation is quickly coming to an end. Smartphones and tablets will outnumber features phones at the end of this year (Nielsen 2011), and most web traffic is already on smartphones today. Almost all smart phone screen sizes tend to be around 300 pixels wide, and the majority of mobile browsers are closely related to full PC browsers.

As such the smartphone killed the mobile advertising ecosystem – and that is a good thing. For mobile advertisers and publishers this results in a transition from a mobile stand-alone environment to a connected ecosystem. This will lead to greater efficiencies, as advertisers can use existing infrastructure to execute large-scale campaigns. Of course it does not mean that every screen needs its specialists. Mobile advertising firms will continue to strive, as they understand how to interact with consumers on the go. But this shared infrastructure opens the door for cross-platform buys in which publishers can package users across multiple channels (web and mobile) to provide a convenient means for buyers to reach their audiences.

The mobile revolution has just begun. If the consumer enthusiasm of the last 12 months is any indication of what’s to come, get ready for a very exciting 2012.