Flintstones vs. Jetsons: Mobile data will be the new have/have not gap

Flintstones vs. Jetsons: Mobile data will be the new have/have not gap

There is a yawning gap emerging in the world and I think this gap will define the advancement of societies, the creation of jobs,  and even the happiness of populations in the decades to come: it is access to mobile data and I call it Flintstones vs. Jetsons. (shout out to April Rudin for the headline).

  • Generation segue: Some of us remember Fred Flintstone. Worked in a quarry, drove a foot pedal car. Loved to bowl and eat steaks. Life was simple, and there was not a lot of reason to innovate. Pebbles and BamBam didn’t seem to be a big generational culture gap. A loveable guy in the Jackie Gleason vein.
  • And his cartoon counterpart, George Jetson. Worked are Spacely, drove an automated space scooter. Astro walked himself, Rosie the Robot did the chores. Skyped with the office, used the tele-puter on his wrist. Loveable knucklehead is in a fast-moving world, but he kept adapting and he kept pace.

So my point, my belief, is that we have arrived at a crucial inflection point in our history, where people, countries, leaders (and entire industries) are choosing to go Flintsone or Jetson. And the catalyst for this decision is, clearly, the smart phone and the data it generates. The Flintstone are content with how things are. They have found ways to live until now without technology, and they resolved they would coast from here on in, whether in their carreers or their lives. Financial planners are on the list. So is much of the financial services (non retail) industry. Traditional media has hated the transition. KONY is no fan. Nor is Assad, or Mubarak. People of a certain age (but not all!). There are lots more.

Meanwhile, the Jetsons accelerate. The gap has not even yet begun to present itself.

mOcean at Mobile World Congress

mOcean at Mobile World Congress

If you have any doubt of how quickly this industry has grown, check out the Mojiva/Mocean (I am an investor) booth at The Mobile World Congress. MWC was, five years ago, just a bunch of suits from Nordic and Asian countries wielding flip phones for voice and text. Today, MWC is heralded as the biggest and the best mobile technology event in the world. According to conference organizer the GSMA, this year’s event played host to a record number of attendees, topping out at 67,000 visitors from 205 countries; an 11% increase over the 2011 show. The four-day conference and exhibition attracted mobile operators, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies and media and entertainment organizations, as well as government delegations from across the globe. More than 50 percent of this year’s attendees hold C-level positions, including more than 3,500 CEOs.

Most telling perhaps, CEO’s were wearing jeans, T’s and blazers…

So here’s the shocker datapoint from cisco: 40% of the worlds smartphone data is consumed by… 1% of the world population. That means a small group of people are gaining an unfair (perhaps) advantage because of their access to information

  • The subways are down: take the bus.
  • This new place is overcrowded: here’s another local option.
  • Gas prices are skyrocketing, but discounted in NJ this weekend.
  • This client has spent xxx seconds on the site and is ready to take the next buying step
  • Yo Twitter! The rally to unseat the government has been moved to the following sidestreet!

The examples go on and on. A few minutes saved. A better solution for the moment. A bit more background before the interview. A better way, on the way. Compound that millions of times over billions of people and guess what: you have a new gap between the haves and the have-nots. Food for thought before you make your choice between Flintstone or Jetson!


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