Brave new world: Mobile’s tectonic affect

Brave new world: Mobile’s tectonic affect


News of Mojiva closing a $25M round just a few years after starting up brought a rush of high five from peers, rounds of drinks from friends, and more than a few calls from unknowns trying to sell me things I never knew I needed. The ride so far has been amazing, and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for the courage of my co-founders Krish and Dan, the expertise of our CEO Dave, and the dedication of rest of the team. And with all the skill in the room, I am still also respectful of how much luck and timing have to do with the entire equation.

When she heard of the news, one of my Board members from KFAC had a pretty simple question: what does it really  mean? I had the benefit of some time away to reflect on that while doing my annual cultural lap through southern France and came up with no less than the following.

Mobile is now, and will be, among the most profound effects on our society and civilization of our lifetime. Its impact will be right up there with space exploration (cancelled), HIV (still nasty), Middle East Peace (as if), The Internet (still going), Reality TV (why Snookie why!) and the Fall of the Berlin Wall (still down).

Phil Leigh sums it up artfully:

Today we interact with digital t media nearly as routinely we checked our wristwatches to read time-of-day fifteen years ago. While the conversion might seem radical to consumers from 1996, the advent of portable connected devices such as smartphones and tablet computers implies an even more fundamental change in the future. In short, all media shall become interactive – not just Internet media.

Significantly, app-enabled mobile devices are empowering traditional media to adapt to such a transformation because the portable units are evolving into cognitive prosthetics. Much as experienced amputees routinely use mechanical prosthetics as artificial limb extensions, habitual smartphone and tablet owners are starting to use the devices as convenient intelligence aids. They help users gain more information that would otherwise be unavailable, or difficult to obtain. For example smartphones can find price comparisons merely by scanning barcodes and other implanted signals off shelf merchandise labels. Specifically, a price-comparison app reads the barcode or embedded signal to (1) identify the merchandise and (2) display a website where up-to-date prices for the item from all merchants are complied.

According to, smartphone sales in the United States crossed the 50% market share threshold for the first time in the first calendar quarter of 2011. That’s nearly double the 27% share of only two years ago. Google’s Eric Schmidt proclaims “the smartphone is the new PC”. Similarly, Yankee Group predicts that over 60 million tablet computers will be in use by 2015. Sharma concludes “…mobile will become the platform of everything. Anything that can be connected will be connected.” Among other functions, such devices will evolve into ubiquitous cognitive prosthetics, nearly always available to help us interact with media in all its forms.

I have blogged about my thoughts of how mobile (plus social and local to quote Mary Meeker) will affect a few places I have interest in: how we might visualize health, coupons, high school sports and even how the trust and reputations that we earn (both online and in the real world- an increasingly blurred distinction) will enable us to build an economy of sharing.

What excites me is the tremendous domain expertise and world view I am given by being involved in a company like Mojiva. It’s a box seat with a great view of everything that will play out on the field of mobile in the next few decades. And those things will have profound effect on how our world evolves.

Lucky, lucky me. Up ’til now at least.


If you have mobile social local ideas that you think will solve big problems or make better our world, bring ’em on!

I mentor two kids and several entrepreneurs. Similarities are coincidental.