Top 10 Quotes From Mobile Madness: Apple Vs. Facebook, OLPC, & More

3/19/12Follow @gthuang

Hello, I am a recovering Mobile Madness 2012 organizer. I’d like to give huge props to the 350+ people who attended and participated last week, and very special thanks to our speakers, sponsors, and host, Microsoft NERD. (The day is depicted in photos here.)

It was a memorable afternoon indeed. So memorable, in fact, that I have a notebook full of story ideas to pursue once the dust settles around here. I hope to roll those out in the near future. In the meantime, here are my top 10 quotes from the conference. Together they tell a nice little story about the state of mobile tech and business heading into the spring of 2012:

1. “Think big, but start small. Stop writing business plans and pitch decks, and start getting momentum. Make it real.” That was Jason Jacobs, CEO of FitnessKeeper, on advice to mobile entrepreneurs. In fact, Jacobs said, he didn’t know much about mobile tech before working on RunKeeper, his company’s popular fitness app.

2. “The consumer controls pretty much everything. What the consumer wants to use is what everyone gets behind.” Seth Priebatsch, the CEO (I refuse to print Chief Ninja, oh, whoops) of SCVNGR/LevelUp, was talking about what it will take to get broad adoption of mobile payments. But there was discussion on the panel about what the real catalysts will be: data analytics and profits for merchants, and loyalty programs and saving money for consumers.

3. “This is the Year of Mobile.” That was Tom Burgess, CEO of Linkable Networks, mocking the phrase he was already hearing back in 2001-2002. On the “Boston’s mobile mafia” panel, Burgess (formerly of Third Screen Media/AOL) and DataXu CEO Mike Baker (formerly of Enpocket/Nokia), were notable for having gotten out of mobile as a vertical category. Linkable is tied to mobile, but is more broadly about financial services, while DataXu is about optimizing “omni-channel” advertising (all screens) rather than just mobile, Baker said. (Of course, once you’re in the mobile mafia, you can never really get out.)

4. “You guys did three of the earliest mobile advertising networks [Enpocket, Quattro Wireless, Third Screen]. Are we still not ready for prime time?” That was Jeff Glass, the former m-Qube CEO and now a VC with Bain Capital Ventures. One of his takeaways from the mobile mafia: it’s still early days for mobile ads. Just ask Lars Albright, who’s on his third mobile-ad startup, SessionM.

5. “The problem now is the big guys are not only big, they’re also smart. Google and Apple want to own the whole stack. It’s hard for startups, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it.” From Ted Morgan, CEO of Skyhook, who … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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