Monday, January 30, 2012

A short history of location-based services

I was invited to speak at Mobile Marketing Magazine’s mRetail Summit last week to talk about the history of location-based services. Some of you may or may not know that I spent my early career in fashion retail and then some years later in 2000, joined the mobile scene at ZagMe, where we sent text messages to shoppers at Lakeside and Bluewater shopping malls while people were actually out shopping. My retail experience certainly came in very handy there. Anyway, I was lucky enough to be, not only at the birth of mobile marketing, but also at the birth of mobile location-based services.

I’m not sure my slides will mean much without the dialogue, but they’re here if you want to take a look.

I suppose the key learnings for me from that time are

  • Customers wanted a permission-based offers channel for their local shopping mall
  • Once they’d signed up to the service, people assumed we knew where they were (we didn’t, we spoofed the location bit) and expected us to send them relevant messages
  • We were at least 10 years ahead of our time
  • It’s not about the technology, it’s about the application of technology. Understanding how to communicate with customers is essential. Understanding how retailers and retail staff operate is critical.
  • The ZagMe concept is still sound, but despite several services attempting to do something similar in the last 10 years, they’ve all failed. My guess is that it’s because they focussed on the technology and thought that retailers would change the way they do things to adapt to the technology rather than the other way around.
  • Location information is mostly useless without some context
  • Past behaviour is not a good predictor of future behaviour. A recent example to demonstrate this… I’m going to Barcelona next month. I searched extensively on Google to find my accommodation. Now the only ads I see are adverts for accommodation in Barcelona. If you really did understand my behaviour, you’d know that the time to serve me those ads is in December and early January. By the end of January it’s too late. But behaviour predictors don’t have that level of granularity. But I guess that conversation is for another day.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Carnival of the Mobilists #259

Doesn’t time fly. It doesn’t feel like over 6 years since the Carnival of the Mobilists first started and here we are in 2012, and celebrating the Chinese New Year and the start of the year of the Dragon. A year of positive change so they so. And if there’s one thing I know about mobile, it’s that it is a constant state of change. So without further ado, let’s have a look at some of this week’s blogging on mobile.

First up, we have James Coops from Moby Affiliates giving us the lowdown on who he thinks will be the top mobile advertising companies of 2012. It’s an interesting list and there are plenty companies there I’ll be keeping an eye on.

Following the mRetail Summit, David Murphy, editor of Mobile Marketing Magazine, wonders who is advising Lloyds on their mobile advertising strategy. With a string of schoolboy errors in just one campaign, one wonders who signed this one off. Anyway, let others learn from their mistakes. You may also be interested in some of the comments on this article here.

So what’s the story with mCommerce and mRetail? VE Interactive tells us ‘Just 18 months from launch, the use of tablets for online shopping has almost equalled that of mobile phones and it is growing even faster than the mobile.’ And ‘According to the Logan Tod & Co’s 6th Annual Online Future Shipping Index, 14 per cent of respondents used an iPad or other tablet device to make a purchase in the run up to Christmas and 15 per cent of respondents used a mobile to purchase an item.’ Impressive figures certainly.

VE Interactive also thinks there are 6 distinct customer market segments for mobile apps. What do you think? Are they right? Are there more, less, different? Certainly one for discussion I’d say. I think I’m in the ‘never gonna buy an app anytime soon’ category. Wondering if that’s the biggest segment…

Newcomer to the Carnival, FJ from Tech Socio Tech, has been thinking about dating and how the kindle might be keeping us from finding our soulmate. The title of the post may seem flippant, but this is a very interesting read on changing habits due to adoption of new technologies. My favourite post of the week.

I was thinking about longevity and business this week with Kodak recently filing for bankruptcy protection. It occurred to me that we seem to expect businesses to last forever, when in fact, history tells us that the average corporate entity lives for about 40 years. I also found out that one of the oldest companies in the world, the UK’s Royal Mint, is in mortal danger due to mobile payments. Have a read and let me know what you think. There are some comments about the post over on G+ too which are worth a read.

Untether.TV’s latest mpulse video has Kevin C Tofel, purveyor of all things mobile at GigaOm, talk about his16 2012 mobile predictions, Peggy from MobileGroove jumps into some surprising consumer behaviour desires and Rob tries to make sense of the mess that has become RIM after the CEO shakeup. Available in audio and video here.

Long-serving mobilist, Tom Hume, sheds some light on network operators and identity with the recent hoo-ha about customers telephone numbers being passed on to third parties. Is this a missed opportunity or a storm in a teacup?

Ajit Jaokar, another regular contributor to the Carnival of the Mobilists, is talking about Apps for Smart Cities this week. There’s a shout out for speakers and details of an upcoming event he’s involved with in Amsterdam, but more interestingly, for me at least, is some context behind the event with an explanation of what the vision is for apps for smart cities and it got me thinking as to what impact that could or should have on our daily lives. Will the internet plus internet of things = the wisdom of the earth as the Chinese premier recently suggested?

And for some light relief, my friends Kate Imbach and Tom Conrad made a little video which seems to be quite a hit. If you’ve ever worked with tech start-ups, read Techcrunch, hung out in Silicon Valley or watched The Big Bang Theory, then you’ll get it. My favourite quote in it is ‘this app is so elegant’. What’s yours? Are there any they missed?

Well, that was the week that was the last week in January 2012. We’re already one month in and just a month to go until Mobile World Congress and (shameless plug) the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival in Barcelona. But never fear, there will be more carnival goodness next week over at Antoine RJ Wright’s blog. Until the next time…

Monday, January 23, 2012

Long life and business

If you work in technology, or even if you don’t, it’s quite likely you saw in the news last week that Kodak (founded in 1889) filed for bankruptcy protection. A number of people seemed to be very shocked at this news and many in technology circles put it down to Kodak not embracing technology quickly enough and that their management were stupid for not making the right decisions about becoming a digital company instead of a film company.

At the same time, here in the UK, we heard of two much-loved retail businesses going under – namely Peacocks (a High Street value-fashion retailer founded in 1884) and Past Times (a 26 year old gift retailer specialising in nostalgia and retro and has a particularly good line in costume jewellery).

They may well be right to blame Kodak’s demise on technology and bad management and the demise of Peacocks and Past Times on the recession and lower spend on the High Street. It’s very easy for us to criticise, but is it fair? It got me to thinking why there’s an expectation for big businesses to live for a very long time. We don’t expect people to live forever, so why do we expect businesses to? It’s the exception, not the rule, for any large business to live beyond 50 years, let alone 100 years or more. It seems to me that both Kodak and Peacocks had a great run as both were over 100 years old.

If you read the prologue to Arie De Geus’ 1999 book, The Living Company, you’ll see that the average age of a corporation is under 50 years (you can buy the book on Amazon). And if you take a look at this list of the oldest companies in the world, I’m sure you’ll find it a fascinating read. Most of the companies seem to be Japanese or German and 89% of them have under 300 staff. I would argue that there are few in that list who were the technology vanguards of their day.

So what do I conclude from this? Firstly, that it’s hard to scale-up your business and live a long life. Also, the bigger you get, the harder it is to make drastic changes when those changes will mean many hundreds, if not thousands, will lose their livelihoods. As a manager, do you kill what seems to be a currently thriving business and a thousand happy staff for a bet on future technology that you’re not sure when will happen or that you’ll succeed at it? That’s a tough one. And just as businesses are born, so they will die and new ones will be born.

Of course, our business landscape has changed enormously with the internet and mobile technology. And will continue to do so. But these companies are still run by people – at least until the Singularity some might say – and therefore prone to errors of judgement and an inability to predict the speed of change let alone what the future may hold.

I wonder which of the new tech giants of today like Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay, PayPal, Twitter, LinkedIn et al will make it to 50 years old, let alone 100 years old? And will they, in turn, when they reach a ripe old age, stop being able to move quickly enough to deal with the pace of change themselves?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heroes of the Mobile Fringe–get involved

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Sign up now to find out about the first unofficial fringe festival being held in Barcelona the same week as Mobile World Congress in February 2012!

Some of you will already  know that I’ve been working on the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival. The plan is to let visitors know about the interesting side events that are on during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - both on and off site: to help you find the stuff that's relevant to you; to help you make the most of your visit; to help more people get their events, happenings and initiatives seen and talked about during one of the most hectic weeks in the mobile industry calendar.

The festival will start on Sunday 26 February and finish on Friday 2 March 2012. It will include a variety of events, large and small - meet-ups, discussion panels, barcamp, demos, investor & start-up lunch, half-day conference and more, including a bunch of great parties for you to mingle with mobilists from far and wide. Most events are free to attend thanks to generous sponsors, for some there will be a charge payable to the event organiser direct to cover costs.

GET INVOLVED - Add your event

Our website is nearly ready to launch. If you're running an event in Barcelona and would like to include it in the festival, please add your details here. There is no charge to add your event, all we ask is that you link back to us and tell people that your event is part of the festival. We'll give you a logo and a URL to do that. It doesn’t matter what type of event it is or how large or small it is. All welcome. Whether it’s a geek meet-up for 10 people, a big party, a panel session, a round-table discussion, a half-day conference, a barcamp, a developer jam session or something else, we don’t mind. We just want to include the most interesting and relevant events that add to the festival vibe – and not just the parties (although they’re very important too, as Swedish Beers fans will no doubt tell you).

GET INVOLVED - As a helper

There are other ways to get involved too. We need more venues to run events (this could be part of your MWC stand for example), we also need helpers at each event for things like manning the registration desk or handing out badges, or looking after special guests. And any help with marketing is also much appreciated. No offer of help is too small! If that sounds like you, please tell us here. Also, if we’ve already talked about you getting involved as a helper, I may have forgotten. It’s useful for me to see who’s on board to have all the names and contact details in one place.

GET INVOLVED - Sponsor us

There is still time to join the festival as a sponsor. And as part of that, we can help with organising your event. Why not join confirmed sponsors, Pearson, Oracle and others? Get yourself more coverage at Congress and be part of this innovative festival. Please get in touch with Helen Keegan to discuss. Options available for all budgets.

GET INVOLVED - Be a media or community partner

We are also putting together our media and community partnerships right now. Perhaps you'd like to be a media partner alongside GoMoNews, Mobile Groove, GrowVC, MEF, Mobile Monday Global,, Mobile Marketing Magazine and many more. That way we can help each other engage with the mobile community and help them get even more out of being in Barcelona at this very busy time. Please get in touch with Helen Keegan to discuss.

Keep in touch

Follow the festival action on twitter. We have a facebook page too (all 'likes' are much appreciated and it means we show up in your feed) and you can RSVP for the festival here (which means we can alert you as new events get announced). And our newsletter based on the email addresses we're collecting here will be out soon and will include details of events, sponsors and partners.

Thank you for your support so far. It hasn't gone unnoticed. We're very excited about the festival and hope you are too and will join in the fun next month.

p.s. Still after a free pass for Mobile World Congress, then have a read of this with links to apply for one.

Disclaimer: This initiative is not officially sponsored by, supported by or associated with GSMA Ltd or with Mobile World Congress.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Official RNIB Accessibility Hackathon– London 11 Feb 2012

Some of my friends and regular readers will know that I was on a bit of a mobile accessibility drive last year. It was a topic completely new to me but now I’m a total convert to the cause. 10% of the population in both the UK and the US has some kind of ‘official’ disability or impairment and goodness only knows the numbers of people with temporary impairments or milder impairments that still impact their lives but could be made easier with a little thought and a little technology. My personal bugbear is that I can’t increase font sizes in mobile apps but have to reach for my reading glasses instead to see the screen on my phone. So tedious. I dread to think what it’s like for those with much more serious sight impediments. I wrote up the results of the Edinburgh workshop here and I did a podcast about it here.

Anyway, I’m very pleased to see that the RNIB are also thinking along similar lines and are running a hackathon in a few weeks time at Skillsmatter. So if you’re a developer who wants to know more about how to deal with some of these sight accessibility issues, or you’re a developer with an idea for an app or service for people with visual impairments, then get yourself along to the hackathon. Free to attend. Open to all mobile technologies especially iOS, Android and HTML5. And there will be visually impaired people there for you to meet with to discuss their needs and wants in more depth.

The agenda is still taking shape, so the early bird registrants can help shape that agenda further. And if you’re feeling generous, they could do with some help around sponsorship too. More details here

And for those who can’t wait that long, then why not head over to one of the RNIB’s monthly Phone Watch events? I’ve heard they’re really useful for both visually impaired consumers and also the developers who are making apps for them. The next one is on 24th January – details below. Further RNIB supported tech events can be found here.

Date: 24th January 2012 (5.15 pm to 7.15 pm)
Event: Phone Watch - mainstream smartphone accessibility event with short talks, handset demos and hands-on time.
Location: RNIB Judd Street, London
Contact: Andrew Ronksley, 020 7391 2191

Mobile Retail Summit–London 26 Jan 2012

mobile web summit 2012Some of you may have seen me tweet about this already, but the lovely people at Mobile Marketing Magazine are putting on a one-day summit looking at all aspects of mobile retail. This is most certainly a hot topic and mainstream retailers are now beginning to see the light and are focussing efforts in m-commerce and m-retail. And it’s working for them. There are some terrific success stories out there.

I’m very happy to be involved in the summit. I’ll be there all day as I’m doing a short history of LBS (that’s location based services), moderating a panel on mobile payments and discussing the future of mobile at the end of the day with friends and colleagues Russell Buckley and Jonathan MacDonald.

The good news about the summit is that it’s free for retail, FMCG and CMG executives to attend. At the time of writing, there are just 30 places left and if you join the session, you’ll be mingling with the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams, Tesco, Oasis, Coca Cola, Amazon and Homebase. And if you’re not in that category, then you can buy a ticket for £595.

Check out the Agenda below, and head for to book your place. It should be a good day. Hope to see some of you there.


8.15am - 9.00am Registration & Exposition

9.00am - 9.10am Chairman's Introduction. David Murphy, Editor, Mobile Marketing Magazine

9.10am - 9.25am Going Mobile - The Big Picture. Nic Newman, MD, Tigerspike

9.25am - 9.35am On Device Stat Attack. Alex Kozloff, Mobile Manager, IAB . Alex will reveal research showing the volume of mobile web browsing, how many people are engaged in mCommerce, etc.

9.35am - 9.50am mCommerce in Action. Hugh Ritzema-Carter, UK Commercial Director, YOC. Hugh will represent case studies showing how retailers have successfully deployed mCommerce solutions

9.50am - 10.15am Keynote Address. Sarah Baillie, Mobile Commerce Coordinator, Debenhams. Building a Holistic Mobile Offering Embracing Apps and Mobile Sites

10.15am - 10.30am How to build a mobile site and integrate it with your backend systems. Duncan Hallas, European Director Sales, Netbiscuits

10.30am - 10.45am 10 Rules for Building Mobile Apps. Rupert Ashwell, Head of Client services, UK Golden Gekko

10.45am - 11.15am coffee break, mobile exposition, mobile surgery

11.15am - 11.30am Mobile Search, Mobile App Discoverability Discussion Panel

Guest Moderator: Simon Andrews
Nicholas Cumisky, Sr. Industry Manager, Ad Mob
Emily Gudeman, Account Director, Efficient Frontier
Ramy Yared, MD, Adsmobi
Peter Glaeser, co-founder and CEO SponsorMob.
Andrew Emmerson, Senior Business Analyst, JD Williams

11.30am - 11.40am Multichannel Stat Attack. Matthew Hopkinson, Business Development Director, Local DataCompany. We take a look at how tough it is out there. With falling sales, and consumers shopping less in the recession period, this is a great time to use every tool at your disposal to get people into your shops, and here is how mobile can help retailers do just that

11.40am - 11.55am Mobile CRM. Anamaria Chiuzan, Retail Propositions Manager, Velti
How to build and manage an opted-in mobile CRM database to drive traffic into your retail outlets

11.55am - 12.10pm Using Social Media to Drive Footfall. Matt Gierhart, Head of Social, Ogilvy

12.10pm - 12.25pm A Brief History of Location-based Services. Helen Keegan, Specialist in Mobile Marketing, Advertising & Media. Helen offers a summary of the past 12 years of location-based services, from her work in the early noughties with ZagMe, through to the present day

12.25pm - 12.40pm Using Mobile Advertising to Drive Footfall. Stephen Jenkins, Marketing Director EMEA, Millennial Media

12.40pm - 1.00pm Mobile Advertising Advice Panel.

Moderated by: Russell Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer, Eagle Eye Solutions
Alex Rahamen, CEO of StrikeAd
Paul Childs, Chief Operations Officer, Adfonic
David Fieldhouse, Linking Mobile
Doug Chisholm, Founder and CEO, Rippll

1.00pm - 2.30pm lunch, exposition, mobile surgery, speed networking, mobile pitch panel

2.30pm - 2.40pm In-Store Stat Attack. Alistair Hill, On Device Research

2.40pm - 2.55pm In-Store Price Comparison. How the phone can help you close the sale in store, using on-shelf links to information on the mobile web. Dave Marutiak, Managing Director, Scanbuy

2.55pm - 3.10pm Mobile Couponing and Vouchering. Steve Rothwell - Eagle Eye Solutions
What is the state of play with mobile coupons and vouchers? What are the issues, how are they being overcome, and which retailers are successfully using mobile coupons and vouchers?

3.10pm - 3.30pm Mobile Payments - The Options. Discussion Panel. Overview of what's out there, from NFC to SMS-based mobile payment systems.

Guest Moderator: Helen Keegan, Specialist in Mobile Marketing, Advertising & Media
Ivor Morgan, Head of EMEA Marketing, Venda
John Milliken, MD, Mobile Money Network
Mary Carol Harris, Vice President, Mobile Development at Visa Europe
Iain Herd, PayPal

3.30pm - 4.00pm coffee break, exposition, mobile surgery

4.00pm - 4.15pm Augmented Reality Demos. Matt Mills, Head of Innovation, Autonomy

4.15pm - 4.30pm iPad Kiosks & Queue Busting Solutions. Justin Coward, MD, Global Bay

4.30pm - 4.50pm Google Demos. Amanda Rosenberg, Mobile Business Development Manager, EMEA, Google

4.50pm - 5.15pm Alternative Views on the Mobile Future

Moderated by: David Murphy, Editor, Mobile Marketing Magazine
Russell Buckley, Chief Marketing Officer, Eagle Eye Solutions
Jonathan MacDonald, Co-founder at This Fluid World & Co-Founder at Human Dialogue
Helen Keegan, Specialist in Mobile Marketing, Advertising & Media

5.15pm - 5.25pm Chairman's Closing Remarks. David Murphy, Editor, Mobile Marketing Magazine

5.30pm - 7.00pm networking drinks, exposition, mobile pitch results

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The road to Mobile World Congress 2012

Update 14 January 2013 - I've written an update to this post with links for 2013 and some logistics info for the new venue. Check it out here.

mwc logo_02
Yes, it’s that time of year again when the mobile world focuses its energy on the annual shindig that is Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. If you haven’t been before, and you have anything to do with mobile, then you should consider attending. It’s huge (60,000 attendees last year apparently). It covers everything to do with mobile from the boxes that drive mobile telcos to the deeply technical sessions geared at mobile developers to mobile marketing and advertising to the new handsets and tablets to the start-up and entrepreneurial community and everything in between. There is also a large conference element and I’m lucky enough to be moderating a session there this year looking at the role of social media in mobile marketing. There’s pretty much something for everyone.
And every year, I get asked, without fail two questions from a lot of people.
1. How do I get a free exhibition ticket?
2. What should I see and do there?
I’m going to answer those two questions here.
How to get a free exhibition ticket
*Update: Poynt has five tickets to give away. Closing date to apply is 10th February 2012 at 18:00 GMT. Details on the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe site. More competitions on the way on the fringe festival site*
  • Buy a ticket. A ticket that gives you access to the exhibition is 699 Euros. Yes, I know it’s not free but thought I’d better get this one out of the way. Not such a big deal for a senior exec at a large corporate maybe, but certainly a big deal for us lesser mortals who have to watch our budgets more closely. Conference tickets are even more expensive. The good news is that with an expo pass, there are still plenty of sessions you can attend and plenty of things to do do and see. More on that later.
  • UPDATE 21 Jan: Buy a half-price ticket. You can still apply for a meeting brokerage service to help you meet other companies at MWC12. The fee is 300 Euros and includes one expo ticket. You do have to agree to make and attend some meetings, but you're there to meet people right? The deadline has been extended to Sunday 29 January. More details here.
  • Apply to attend one of the App Planet days. This is where the bulk of the tickets get allocated within the developer community. Several App Planet days are scheduled and each host (Nokia, Samsung, BlackBerry, IMGA, WIPJam and one more tba) will have an allocation of tickets to give away to ensure attendance at their developer sessions. I know that most of the WIPJam passes have now been allocated, but the others have not yet been allocated. So press the big blue button on this page to ‘register your interest in attending one or more of the App Developer Conferences’. These tickets should be allocated over the next three weeks or so. If you’re allocated a ticket, you’ll get a reference number and a URL and you have to go and claim your ticket. If you don’t claim in good time, your code will be allocated to someone else. So if you do get a code – use it or lose it.
  • UPDATE 27 Jan: You have until 31 January 2012 to apply for a free Samsung App Planet pass
  • UPDATE 12 Jan: Apply to attend one of the MPowered Theatre days. This is a new stream for Mobile World Congress and is geared towards brands, media owners and the agencies who look after them. I'm guessing key themes will be mobile marketing and advertising, consumer insight, mobile search, mobile and social, location based services etc. Nielson and McCann are confirmed partners for this, with more partners tbc. Apply here by clicking the big orange button to register your interest. 
  • Sign up to the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival. I will have an allocation of tickets from sponsors to give away. The website will be launched w/c 16 January (all being well) but until then, you can add yourself to the mailing list here, you can like the Facebook page here and you can follow proceedings on twitter too.
  • Get a press pass. If you have an audience or community in the 1000s, then you may qualify for a press pass. Details of how to do that are here. I have never done this so do not know what’s involved or how hard it is to get a press pass. If you do have experience of this, then please share it in the comments.
  • Make friends with colleagues and contacts who are exhibiting. Each exhibitor gets an allocation of exhibition passes to distribute at their discretion. This includes stands organised by trade bodies representing countries and regions. Ask, and maybe you shall receive. This one is going to be down to your relationship and networking skills. So check the MWC website and see who is exhibiting who you can ask. There were 1400 exhibitors last year, so there are a few to choose from.
  • Keep an eye out on social networks. Every now and then, tickets become available and get allocated through social networks (twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and/or through various mobile and developer communities such as Mobile Monday chapters globally or local developer user groups. These tickets are usually fairly last minute and get allocated very quickly, so you need to be quick off the mark. The twitter hashtag for Mobile World Congress this year is #mwc12 or #mwc2012.
  • UPDATE 11 Jan: If you're an ICT company based in the North West of the UK, then you may qualify to join a Trade Mission to MWC which includes organisation of one-to-one meetings with potential clients and partners as well as an expo ticket. The cost is 300 Euros (cheaper than a ticket anyway) and there may be other finance available to help you with your trip. Details here  and you must register by 20 January. [Update 21 Jan - I believe the deadline has been extended to 29 Jan]
  • Be a speaker. If you’re quick, and I mean really quick – the deadline is 12 January – then you can apply to be a discussion leader or storyteller at WIPJam which is on the last day of Congress, 1st March. Details of what they’re looking for and how to apply here. I’m pretty sure whoever is invited to speak will be sorted out with at least an exhibition pass. [I believe this opportunity may now be closed]
What should I see and do there?
Congress is huge and I know it can seem overwhelming. With 1400 exhibitors, after the first hour, every stand seems to look the same and they all merge into one. Everyone seems to be your ‘best mobile partner’ or ‘best mobile solution’ or carrier grade technology’. Not terribly helpful when you’re trying to navigate around 8 very large halls. Equally, everyone is in town and it’s the ideal opportunity to network, to build on existing relationships, to discover new things and to make things happen. However, you have to put the legwork in. So this is what I recommend…
1. There will be a wide selection of events, meet-ups and things to do, see and get involved in at the fringe festival. Background to the festival is here and you can sign up for alerts at . We’ll be covering a wide range of topics from start-ups to security to finance to emerging markets to mobile marketing and lots more besides. And there’ll be a whole bunch of parties to attend too. So allow yourself some time to attend some of these sessions.
2. Create your own event. That’s what the fringe festival is for. Create an opportunity for like-minded people to get together, whether that’s a round-table discussion, a panel session, a lunch or dinner, or something else, then go for it. You can promote the event yourself and we can promote it on the fringe festival site too. Please get in touch. I’m very happy to discuss.
3. Schedule meetings in with people you can’t see easily at home. Make them brief and to the point and at sensible times. If you’re partying into the wee hours (and some of the best networking happens then), then a 8am breakfast meeting may not be appropriate. Also allow time to get to and from meetings. At peak times of day, and the main drag is very crowded, it can take a good 20 minutes or more to get from the front entrance of La Fira to App Planet (assuming you know where you’re going).
4. Be clear on who it is you want to meet there  and why so that when you’re at a networking event, you can say that. The person you end up talking to may not be the right person, but they may know someone who is.
5. Attend the parties. To some people, these will seem like jollies and just an excuse to get drunk as a skunk. And true enough, there is an element of that. However, Mobile World Congress is a very sociable place and the parties and meet-ups are where I usually meet the most interesting people. You need to allow for serendipity at large shindigs like MWC and the parties and the fringe festival are an ideal opportunity to do that. Hint, Swedish Beers will be on the Wednesday night as usual.
My last bit of advice is about safety. Barcelona is still notorious for theft. I’ve written about this before. Please be street smart and heed the warnings. It can happen to anyone. And it is an all too frequent occurrence. There are 60,000 gadget-geek execs in town. It’s like bees to a honeypot where thieves are concerned. Consider yourself warned.
And finally, no, I don’t have any top tips on where to stay or how to get a cheap hotel room. If I do, I’ll blog it!
Please feel free to add your own top tips in the comments.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Welcome to 2012

And welcome to the Year of Mobile. Just joking! And I don’t have any predictions for you either. I think there have bee enough of those posts over the last week or two. I’m just going to share some of the things I’ve been reading or thinking about in the last few weeks, as much for my own benefit as yours.

On New Year’s Resolutions and the like…

Quashing the self-improvement urge “Quash the urge to improve, to be better. It only makes you feel inadequate. And then explore the world of contentment. It’s a place of wonderment.”

10 Lessons from the Treehouse One to keep coming back to to get some perspective. Thank you to Dan Burgess for sharing.

How to write 300,000 words in a year I always mean to write more. When I get round to doing it, I really enjoy it. I know I have things to say and I know there are people out there who want to read that (well, at least a handful not including blood relations). I doubt very much that I’ll get the 300,000 words done, but I am making a conscious effort to revisit longer form writing. Much as a I love twitter and will continue to hang out there, I feel the need to do more blogging.

On mobile technology…

What is HTML5? A great intro video

Update Conference 2011 videos are up and are all pretty much mobile focussed. Probably worth dipping into.

Some Facebook mobile app figures for you from Benedict Evans

From Simon Rockman: A Knight’s Fail. Why Jony Ive isn’t the most deserving person to get a Knighthood There’s a bit of a UK tech history lesson in there too so an interesting read.

Stephanie Rieger tells us about The Trouble with Android – or more specifically the problems around fragmentation with Android. Do take time to read the comments too.

On mobile marketing and media…

Upstream is taking the social media and gaming approach to recruit their next mobile marketing campaign manager. Could this be you? (Job spec here

Gigaom’s thoughts on paywalls

Infographic: The bigger the screen, the bigger the click-through rate I’d be interested to hear if other ad networks are experiencing similar results. Feel free to add a comment on the topic.

On work and economics and opportunity…

No, you can’t pick my brain. It costs too much (This is something I think about a lot and I’m going to point people to it when I feel like I’m being taken advantage of in the hope that contacts no longer take the pee on this one. A coffee and a panini is not a fair trade for an hour of picking of my brain.)

The over-justification effect “The Misconception: There is nothing better in the world than getting paid to do what you love. The Truth: Getting paid for doing what you already enjoy will sometimes cause your love for the task to wane because you attribute your motivation as coming from the reward, not your internal feelings.”

Seth Godin tells us this is the chance of a lifetime so, in other words, get on with it!

Mastering the art of Living Well by Umair Haque and the related Business isn’t as Profitable as Betterness and podcast, Economics for Humans,