It’s been a crazy last few weeks for me. I helped move my brother out to Salt Lake City, Utah (which is a beautiful city by the way), and a few days later caught a flight out to Manchester, England to visit my girlfriend Sophie and my other friends abroad. A couple weekends ago started with Sophie’s birthday party, and then I spent the weekend in Bristol, England for the 2011 UK Open Rubik’s Cube Championship, followed by a weekend in Newcastle raising money for charity. Late last night I got back from a couple days in Birmingham (for a Frank Turner concert and then watched the opening of “The Nutcracker”). So far the trip has been pretty good, and I expect it to get better.
I wanted to write a bit about my thoughts on future technology and its effect on our lives. I’ve been pondering a lot over the last year about the future of our lives, with the mass emergence of Facebook (which has enormous about of influence on the world, and is taking over people’s lives), and how mobile phones are removing the use of desktop/laptop internet use – mobile internet will soon overtake fixed internet (in terms of traffic). It is an interesting thought. 10 years ago a mobile phone wasn’t even that common to have, 5 years ago having a phone was normal, but internet on it no so much, and 5 years further everyone not only has a phone, but they have a phone with internet – and they are using it – A LOT. Instead of logging on their home computer to check Facebook, people simply pull their phone out of their pocket, anywhere, anytime. It is interesting and facinating to think about.
You can look at it from many perspectives (from the phone user, from the phone creator, or from an advertiser, to name a few). Since I’ve been arbitraging the internet advertising market as of late, I’d like to talk about it from that perspective. Advertising on the internet has exploded over the last few years – I remember reading in 2008 how Google grossed something like $22 billion with Adwords. It was surprising, but I didn’t fully understand it. I remember when Google bought Admob (mobile ad network) a couple years ago for $800 million, and I didn’t fully understand. In 2009, internet advertising overtook TV advertising in the UK. It all makes sense now – they predicted that mobile was going to be huge (they also build the Android – and they now lead the mobile market). Another interesting piece – the richest man in the world is the guy who runs the biggest cellphone carrier in Latin America. Looking at just this, you can see this crazy shift – mobile is becoming a huge part of our lives, and with that, mobile is becoming a big part of internet advertising – and is taking it over. Because the internet will likely be used more on a mobile phone than on a desktop computer soon, people will be spending their money advertising on a mobile a phone. Contrary to what most may think, this is likely a good thing.
With a desktop computer, what do you know about the user (from an advertiser perspective)? Well, you know thier location, you know what sites they are visiting, and depending on the website, you know their age, gender, interests, etc. With a mobile phone, you also know all this information. The big difference is that the mobile phone constantly travels with the user, so advertising can be taylored toward where someone is, what they are doing, and how they are doing it. Ads will be much more personal, which is good. Say you’re walking through downtown NYC around lunchtime during the summer – if ads show up on your phone showing which local businesses next to you are offering free lemonade and 50% off on a meal, it helps you find what you want. It helps businesses make money, and it helps you save money. It just makes sense, and it helps people enjoy their life more. This is just one minor example – the possibilities are endless.
Another big part of mobile are the applications. Advertisers can also buy real estate in the applications, and offer you further things that interest you. While you’re using an application to find directions across town (by the way, mobile phones are removing GPS’s from existence), you can now be offered places to stop and eat, shop, rest, fix your car, and much more. Although this isn’t too new, it is becoming much, much more accurate as your phone learns more about what you do, how you do it, and what you like. The more the phone knows, the more it can help you. Additionally, there is huge demand for quality phone applications, and there is also huge competition. Applications that hold the most popular spots make a lot money (I remember iFart making upwards of $50,000 a day a few years back when it was one of the most downloaded applications). Because there is competition (because of demand), there is money, and overall this boosts the quality of the applications, which is better for you, the phone user.
This is just something to think about, and there is huge opportunity here to jump into a lot of markets built around mobile. It is massive, and it is going to get much, much bigger. I find it fascinating, and I am excited to see what the future brings in mobile.