I was fascinated by a recent presentation I viewed off of TechCrunch as it epitomized to me what I call the velocity of business. It was done by an analyst at Morgan-Stanley, Mary Meeker. She titled it “Ten Questions Internet Execs should ask and answer”. My only comment is why stop at “internet execs” – any executive with an internet business at all should be asking and looking at these questions. We have been seeing some emerging trends – that have been around for a while but are now accelerating, creating new market dynamics and new business opportunities. There are three core areas that Mary Meeker brings up as the current and future business drivers on the internet: Mobility, Search and Social Networking
The area of mobility is interesting and if you believe the slides will deliver a world where most internet browsing is done via a mobile device and not the traditional PC. I don’t find this hard to believe at all One of the first points made is around “globility” – in some countries there are trends that compete against yours, either directly or perhaps in a way similar but new. It would be easy to say in the US PC’s are used in one way while in India they are used in another. However that is an apple to apples comparison. The difference being one is Gala and the other a Honey Crisp. The reality in many countries is mobility has changed the landscape of how people live and communicate in dramatic ways.. Microsoft tried for years to create a model in conjunction with country specific banks to create a model to finance the purchase of PC’s. While all that was going on the local communities were finding internet access a different way – via their mobile phone. With the launch of the iPhone and its unique web browsing capability that trend has come to the US. By that I mean more and more Americans are browsing the web from their mobile phones. It’s hard for Americans to believe innovative trends can happen outside our borders, but they do. And in today’s world of connectivity it is happening with more frequency. A poll was done several years back asking, “where will the next Bill Gates comes from?” Not surprisingly the majority answered India. It is both exciting and will be challenging, but it’s the way things will be.
With Search we are in an area that is evolving quickly before us, even though it may not be as sexy as mobility or social networking. Google continues to lead in this space and with both Android and Chrome are utilizing search to change the traditional industry landscape. Though we know that the key to Google’s success was being able to monetize advertising online there is still a lot of innovation to come, beyond just recognizing revenue by keyword searches. Traditional print and video adverting may be disappearing from our papers or minimized on our television, but they are not going away they are just morphing before our eyes and going online. With Android Google is really looking to monetize on trend one: Mobility. Based on the rapid increase in market share for Android based phones they are well on there way to succeeding. On the Social Networking front they are more obsessed with the big Competitive threat: Facebook.
Finally there is Social Networking. The hottest tech company on the planet is Facebook, followed by Twitter. As the presentation points out what is impressive about Facebook and its counterpart in China, Tencent is that they each have over 600 million users. The ability to market and sell to those companies is enormous. The fact that so much time is open at these locations with friends communicating together creates unique market dynamics and the opportunity to up sell those participants to other services. Like Search you can see Social Networking using it’s core business to fund other revenue opportunities. Facebook’s recent plan around email seems to be a good start. I seem to remember a company called Netscape tried a similar method as it branched out into “big” corporate email plans as an off shoot to its browser business.
As the title says…the future as it will be. One thing is guaranteed that the future I write about will come to fruition sooner than we expect and it will come to pass that I will write another article with the same title talking about a different set of technologies, probably different companies that will be shaping the future. Trends and outlooks that once took decades will come much faster as technology evolves. That is just the velocity of business we operate in today. That part of my technology predictions you can take to the bank.
Good Night and Good Luck
Hans Henrik Hoffmann November 22, 2010