Mobile First Web Second

Paramendra wrote a post last night that got me thinking about a class of apps that I'll call "mobile first web second". He mentions Twitter and Foursquare and I would agree that both of them are mobile first web second.

Back in the early days of Twitter, I sent and read most of my tweets via SMS. I signed up a lot of users by telling them to text "follow fredwilson" to 40404.  Evan Williams said in a blog post yesterday, "46 percent of active users make mobile a regular part of their Twitter experience." I am surprised it is not higher. I use Twitter on the web and mobile every day, but I use it a lot more on mobile.

Foursquare's web app is not particularly useful, at least not yet. Most of the value from Foursquare is delivered in their mobile apps. I've used the Android and Blackberry apps. And my kids use the iPhone app. All three of these apps are high quality mobile experiences. Foursquare is most definitely a "mobile first web second" experience.

The thing I like about these kinds of apps is they are with you all the time and can be used in moments of downtime. As such they lead to higher levels of engagement. But because they are also web apps and connected to a web scale network, they can offer a lot of value that mobile only apps cannot.

I think we'll see a lot more of these kinds of apps going forward. I'm curious what other "mobile first web second" apps you all use.



Comments (Archived):

  1. Jamie Forrest

    Yelp started out for me as web first, mobile second, but now it has flipped. Same thing happened with Pandora.

  2. Anurag

    Facebook app

  3. RichardF

    Great post, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s out there.My list:ShazamGoogle localLastFMSkype (increasingly)Facebook and it’s going to get a lot more use by more people as Places takes off

    1. ShanaC

      I doubt the places, apparently people are very pissed about privacy weirdness.

      1. RichardF

        Shana, I’ve never been excited or interested in anything that Facebook have ever done before but I really believe Places will be huge. I don’t like Facebook at all and I’m not their demographic but I do think they are going to bring check in’s to the masses.

        1. ShanaC

          Not if they piss off the masses first. Remember that lovely adoption curve. If not even us crazies adopt, why would the normals? It’s dead in water.

  4. Jeff DiStanlo

    instapaper is definitely mobile first, web second for me. so many times i will come across an article in a few minutes of downtime and need to save later to read on something other than phone. ipad or computer (through the website), more often ipad these days.

    1. falicon

      +1 on instapaper … oh and shameless plug while I’m at it since you like instapaper, would love have you check out my serivce (once a day it automatically feeds the best links flowing through your twitter steam [or delicious account if you prefer] to your instapaper account).

      1. Mark Essel

        shameless plugs all get a like.Shame is so 20th century yo.

      2. Jeff DiStanlo

        i’ll give it a try. thanks for pointing this out.

        1. Mark Essel

          Kevin’s latest hack is the bom for knowledge sifting:

    2. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

      Totally. I don’t even know what the Instapaper website looks like, but my morning subway routine is: instapaper all interesting links on Twitter, launch Instapaper app, read.

  5. David Semeria

    I’m probably in a minority of one in believing the whole mobile thing won’t scale-up to mom, pop and aunt Maude.I believe tablets will be huge though.

    1. awaldstein

      Agree on the tablets and to me..they are mobile. iPad running around NYC is a game changer.Hate to bring this up David but aren’t we “mom, pop and uncle david” now?

      1. David Semeria

        LOL! It’s more of a mentality than an age thing…

      2. JLM

        Haha, I did not see your post. I think we are grandma. But, grandma, hey grandma is a babe.

        1. awaldstein

          Absolutely JLM.I try to define each day as the center of my life. Cool…when it works:)

      3. Mark Essel

        +1 for calling Dave an old fogey 🙂

        1. awaldstein


    2. Dave Pinsen

      Speaking of tablets, I wonder if anyone has launched a 10 Commandments app for the iPad yet.

      1. RichardF

        Thou shalt not use Flash

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Thus sayeth Steve Jobs.

      2. David Semeria

        Thou shall-st not unlock !!

        1. ShanaC

          Though shalt come up with commandments about the internet

      3. Mark Essel

        Though shalt not leave it sitting in your living room unused and gathering dust.

        1. RichardF

          send it to me!

      4. karen_e

        There was a great thread about this on SAI, polling readers on whether they used their iPads 4 months later (it’s a safe assumption their readership are all early adopters!). Quite a number of them said, I would, if I could only get it back from the kids!So, maybe thou shalt hope for a basic-features, non 3G, lower-price point tablet that you can buy for your offspring? Go, ‘droid!

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          You should check the new Archos’s Android tablets. They just released fivediffent models in different sizes and prices. Reviewers seem to beimpressed:

          1. Mark Essel

            Heard Archos won’t have the android market baked in due to not having a camera (required for Android designated devices) in the comments of this buzz post by Matt Mastracci.

    3. Fernando Gutierrez

      Another problem with mobile apps is that you let out the huge group of people who don’t own a smartphone. In the future I’m sure that most of this people will convert, but we’re not there yet.

    4. falicon

      I think it all depends…it’s not really about mobile first, web second…it’s about function first, service second, platform third.The average Joe on the street doesn’t really care if they are doing something on their phone, a tablet, or a traditional computer…they just care that they can do what they want/need to do when they want.As Fred hinted towards, I think the low hanging fruit for mobile is the stuff we want to do while we are killing time (play a quick game of something, check-in to a location, post a short status update, check our email)…the problem all of these things are really solving on mobile is “what do I do for 5 minutes while I’m waiting for my friend to show up?”. And that’s a problem the average user does have, so I think it will continue to scale-up (and because of this users are being trained to think/use mobile in different ways…which opens the door for more serious things to be addressed via mobile over time)…

      1. ShanaC

        I honestly like reading the wsj on my phone….I think good content will always and forever win.

    5. JLM

      Agree completely.What is happening is “convergence” in that any good app is being spread far and wide — thereby gaining traction and acceptance — but the delivery mechanism — today web v mobile — is initially going to be universal but ultimately going to be determined by the penetration of the device being used.I think tablets are going to be huge because there are so many apps which can move immediately to that device. As a pilot, I am particulary blown away with how many aviation applications are already available on the iPad. It is amazing.In that regard, the iPad, as a harbinger of all things tablet — is the wave of the future as it is the collision point amongst a great number of apps and delivery mechanisms and levels of service — computer, phone, GPS, PDAs (do you remember PDAs?), 3/4G, satellite, etc etc etc.We are at an 8-track v cassette moment in the development and delivery of apps and we are drinking from the fire hose and getting very, very wet.If one can park their personal thoughts about Apple and some of its business practices, you have to admire the leadership provided by Apple in this convergence. There is almost not a phone out there which has not hijacked the iPhone profile or the waving fingers touch mechanism.BTW, I think WE are grandma in this debate.

      1. Mark Essel

        It’s hard to question Apple’s current sense of product timing and release. Tablets and smart phones existed long before Apple released the iphone and ipad, but they showed us how potent these tools could be now. They sold the world on the promise of mobile.

        1. awaldstein

          Thinking of something or even making something is notable.Giving it to the world in a form factor that they want it is something else.You can push and push and push your ideas and products out Mark…but when the mass market pulls them in on their own, it is magic. Can’t be bought. Needs to be just right.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            It’s interesting to consider how much of iPad adoption has been Apple pushing and how much has been the mass market pulling. Apple has created such a powerful brand and such a devoted user base that they basically resurrected a category (tablets) and then sold their version like hotcakes.I remember Howard Lindzon blogging months back that the iPad would “revolutionize finance”. That seemed a little over the top to me, and, in hindsight, I doubt Howard meant that literally, but the impulse behind overstatements like that speaks to the power of Apple’s brand. Did “revolutionize” come to mind from an unconscious association with Apple’s classic 1984 ad?What’s especially amazing to me is that Apple has managed to maintain a cult-like devotion among its customer base even as it has grown into one of the biggest companies (by market cap) on the planet. It’s big, but managers to avoid a lot of the negative associations that often accrue to big companies.

          2. RichardF

            it’s an interesting point Dave although they pissed more than a few people off with the problems with both iPhone 4 and IOS 4.0 and they have more mass market customers than ever before who are less forgiving.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Right, I guess that was one of Steve Jobs’s rare marketing missteps when he downplayed the antenna problems with the new iPhone.________________________________

          4. awaldstein

            Hi Dave…The word ‘brand’ is bandied about lightly. The power and value when a brand truly crosses over is an act of nature…unstoppable…for awhile.Few get there. Few grow and hold their core as they grow. Apple has but as it makes this huge huge leap into the world where people don’t care about ‘open’ or ‘platform’ or anything except about what they want now, aka, mass market consumers, they are going where the air is a lot thinner and consumer loyalty a lot more fickle.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Hi Arnold,Good point. You and RichardF seem to be on the same page.Curious what you would have done if you were running Apple — would you have leaped into the mass market, or maybe tried to create a separate, mass market brand instead?

          6. awaldstein

            Huge topic Dave.Most umbrella brand strategies fail. GE. Sony…these are umbrellas not brands with visceral conections.Apple gets who they are and will play in the stream that the mass market supports them in. They let their product categories define the market stratas they play in. Just so happens that all roads for them lead to the mass market which is a necessity as they are in the hardware biz and need huge volumes to win.

          7. Dave Pinsen

            Huge topic, but a good, concise explanation there, Arnold. Thanks for that.Definitely agree about GE. I do wonder whether Sony could have built on their mojo in the ’80s (Walkman, etc.) to build an Apple-like brand. Water over the dam for them, I guess.________________________________

          8. awaldstein

            Could of/should of…doesn’t matter

          9. Dave Pinsen

            Remember how cool Sony’s little yellow waterproof boom box was though? The one you could take to the beach?

          10. awaldstein

            Yup…But Sony let “it” that is “me” that is “themselves” as a brand slip away.Watch Apple…never (so far) have they ever let their products seem as anything other than enablers of you, no matter how little they cost.And the other key to Apple are the stores. What is the running line about Apple products?…”OK hardware that breaks but the best customer support ever.” And people say that with a smile as they come back again to the genius bar and talk to smart people who actually seem to care and love their jobs.Sorry…I study brands and marketing and product rollouts for fun;)

          11. Dave Pinsen

            Yeah, they sure did.The part about going to the store and talking to smart people who are passionate about the product reminds me a little of that coffee place I mentioned to you, Philz Coffee. Check it out when you head to SF and let me know what you think. I’m curious to hear your opinion of the place as a student of brands.

          12. awaldstein

            Will do!

          13. Mark Essel

            With much of their components manufactured over seas they’re almost like a hardware retail affiliate that earns a share of each sale. But the novel piece of the Apple puzzle is that they control the design, not the manufacturers. And they understand their community & customers better than anyone else.

          14. awaldstein

            Yes…they do get why they matter to their customers.No small feat and remarkably rare.

          15. Mark Essel

            I just picked up a new “phone” the latest iPod touch (google voice + gizmo5) and it’s amazing. As much as I harp on open software (and mobile choices), I adore the form factor and interface of the iPhone/iPod. Now I can get any data plan I want facetime/skype/phone all as just vanilla data. The way it should be. Wish I could market that to Apple.

          16. awaldstein

            Great product design is a wonder…and so cool when almost perfect!

          17. JLM

            Brilliant comment re GE and Sony. Apple is a cult. It is almost defined by the type of people who use their products as much as it is by the products themselves.

          18. awaldstein

            Apple = Consumer CultRight on JLM. The incredible thing about Apple (maybe more than any other brand) is that we…the users…market the product for them. They build it and we sell it and sell it and keep selling it to our friends and our networks.

          19. JLM

            The other interesting phenomenon is that their competitors are primarily “imitators” rather than hawking an alternative.The form factor of the iPhone is a perfect example.I admire Apple’s willingness to invest in “industrial design” and make their products “cool” looking and feeling. I think this is part of their genius.The whole “finger waving” interface is brilliant. It makes every operator the equivalent of an orchestra conductor.They have created a “mirror” brand — one that makes the user feel good about him/her self when they project the brand. This is the critical element of a true “luxury” good — such as the blue Tiffany box.These Apple cats are pretty damn good.

          20. Chris Clark

            “I admire Apple’s willingness to invest in “industrial design” and make their products “cool” looking and feeling”I think it’s a bit more than that. Here’s one of my favorite Jobs quotes:”Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

          21. JLM

            Agree completely. Speaking in shorthand. You are absolutely right.

          22. awaldstein

            Human design is in the touch and in the eye.

          23. Mark Essel

            Steve Jobs described the internal business structure like a startup. That translates as small teams that drive really hard and fast with a large navigator being market research.

      2. awaldstein

        You and David are smack on with this one.The tablet changes the game because (besides mobile) it gives an instant larger canvas that lets information and social mix and makes response back easier and natural.Re: Apple…yes, ‘open’ is the way but they’ve jumped the chasm for the empowerment of technology and the changes in human behavior that come with it. The phone, the tablet, and maybe the TV. Whether they win or survive is not as relevant as defining the human interface for the future. They’ve changed the category name from ‘tech’ to a new definition of ‘CE” and the tech market now the mass market.

        1. fredwilson

          speaking of “canvas”, have you seen what twitter did with their iPad client?

          1. awaldstein

            Nope…but checking now. Thnx

          2. Chris Clark

            It’s spectacular. Maybe most impressively, it was super-usable right out of the gate but still harbors a lot of surprises and tricks. The learning curve is a pleasure to climb.

          3. Mark Essel

            Oh read about this last night and forgot, thanks Fred.

      3. ShanaC

        I’m not a grandma!

      4. fredwilson

        i just put down my iPad and fired up my laptop to join this discussioni could read the comments but i just can’t create content well enough on that device yet

        1. Aaron Klein

          Totally agree. When they come up with touchscreen typing technology so good that you can rest your fingers on the keys without pressing them…THEN the iPad will be a content generation device. 🙂

          1. Chris Clark

            I’m not even sure it’s the typing itself. I can type pretty fast on the thing. The problem is that all the small usability issues (going back in a sentence to correct a typo, switching between letters and numbers, moving your fingers across the screen to NOT autocorrect spelling, etc) really add up quickly and make the experience of creating pretty painful.

          2. Aaron Klein

            I agree for the most part, but I got pretty good at switching between letters and numbers. The lack of tactile feedback on the keys just really throws me – and I tried HARD on the iPhone for a solid 12 months before I gave up.It’s amazing to experience how well BlackBerry keyboards are engineered. On every single one, the “D” key has a tiny plastic dot on it that you can feel with your fingertip. I can type on it blindfolded…and it’s going to be very hard to pry it out of my hands now that BlackBerry 6 delivered a great webkit browser and “it just works” iPod functionality.

          3. Mark Essel

            Silly that you can’t have that type of keyboard experience mixed with apple hardware and google software

          4. Aaron Klein

            Well said. The iPhone software is actually great – I think it does Gmail really well. The iPhone does both Exchange and Gmail so well that I’d be very tempted to switch if Apple came out with the iPhone 4K. And you know they could build a beautiful device with a slide-out keyboard.

    6. David Noël

      Tomorrow’s mom, pop and aunt Maude are today’s Emily, Josh and aunt Jessica. And they’re growing up using mobile.

      1. ShanaC

        I am those kids. I do use my phone a ton. That being said, I do know people my own age who are late adopters or people who want to take a break. I wouldn’t mind a phone where I can’t do all of this stuff and it only has the capibilities to call and text message. And is small and hard to break- you know, for going out.Sometimes, I do want to space out. I’m also tired of walking around and seeing people in a fog of computing, I worry about their long term health.

      2. fredwilson

        aunt jessica – she will be great in that role

      3. David Semeria

        Web years are like dog years.In ten years time the web will be a hundred years older (assuming Wired is wrong).The real killer mobile apps are yet arrive. Anyone remember Larry’s Network Computer?

    7. trizk

      While I agree that the check in and games are getting old, I think that services such as hold alot of promise for the future of mobile.

  6. awaldstein

    Provoking…When I’m out, time comes in spurts and what I most want to do is share or participate in one of my social networks.Facebook’s massive growth in developing countries without high proportion of computers per capita is coming from this.

  7. LIAD

    Apps we can snack on whilst going about our normal routines are going to be the breakout successes.We nibble on a bit of 4sq munch on a little twitter, chew on a level of angry birds, taste a news story or two.These apps have instant utility, no friction to usage and are designed to be consumed in bite size chucks.You’ve got 2 mins in between meetings, 60 seconds waiting for the traffic lights to change, 30 seconds waiting to pay for lunch – who doesn’t pull out their phone and have a little digital snack?

    1. Greg Hochsprung

      That is my exact experience with twitter. I rarely use the website and rarely spend more than 2 or 3 minutes catching up on tweets but manage to find the time to read just about every tweet coming into my stream.Mobile apps are an incredible way to make use of the many short spans of downtime we have every day.

      1. Dave Pinsen

        I use Twitter’s website, but I’m not sure how much utility I get from it. A quick example: I’m looking for a designer right now to create an iPhone app icon for me, so yesterday I wrote a blog post describing what I was looking for (“Wanted: iPhone app icon”), and then tweeted a link to it, asking folks to please re-tweet it. So far, no luck and no leads from that (Elance FTW though — 6 proposals in a few hours). I probably have far too few followers to make Twitter useful for those sorts of requests, but I wonder for what percentage of users Twitter is something more than a mostly one-way source of communication.

        1. Mark Essel

          Oh, check oDesk, sorry I forgot to mention that.It could be worth a few moments to draw something up that you feel best represents your app, then paying an artist to craft it in photoshop/gimp etc.

        2. Mike

          99designs is pretty great for this type of work. Don’t want to get into the “spec work” debate with any designer types out there, but if you’re on a tight budget and don’t know who you can trust to complete the project on time (which is the reason I went this route) they’re second to none. I got the logo for my business in 5 days for $200.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            I checked out 99designs and Crowdspring yesterday. Of the half dozen proposals I got on Elance so far, most were cheaper than the “suggested” prices on 99designs and Crowdspring.Ordinarily, I’d prefer going straight to a designer (which I did with my current logos) and be willing to pay up a little for that, but in this case I’m just trying to convert a current logo into an icon, which should be a simpler matter.

          2. ShanaC

            I’ll try to do that

          3. RichardF

            there’s also guru and scriptlance

          4. Dave Pinsen

            Thanks, hadn’t heard of Scriptlance.

          5. Mark Essel

            Shana can undercut the competition!

          6. Dave Pinsen

            I don’t know about that, I’ve got proposals coming in from everywhere from Russia to Indonesia on Elance right now.________________________________

          7. ShanaC

            Yes, but I would do it for the practice, not for the fees.

          8. Dave Pinsen

            I appreciate the gesture, but I just hired a fellow in India to do this.

          9. ShanaC


          10. Dave Pinsen

            Mike,I just hired a vendor in Calcutta to do my icon via Elance for $60, and he’ll do it in three days. He sent me nice-looking samples of his iPhone icon work, and he’s got an average star rating of 4.7 out of 5 after 33 client reviews. Elance FTW.

    2. fredwilson


      1. @billg

        It’s all about being able to ‘glance and go’.

      2. Jon L

        Fred and LIAD, I couldn’t agree more. That is the premise of Love@FirstTweet ( which is a dating site my partner and I have built on top of Twitter and recently launched into beta.Our premise is simple: utilize Twitter as a mobile platform to build your dating profile on the go.As Kevin Marshall commented below, “what do I do for 5 minutes while I’m waiting for my friend to show up?” — we want to answer this for single people. We made is very simple, with no hassle or stress. So whether you’re online at the grocery store or heading to the F-train, you can use this downtime to be productive and answer our daily profile questions. We then notify you when you get matches, and have hopefully saved you the stressful, tedious, and often drawn out profile creation and searching process that you find with other dating websites.

    3. Jay Fallon

      You’re right. I just went through my iPhone apps and it seems that I don’t use any mobile-first apps unless they’re are games. While it’s true that I probably use mobile 30 to 40 percent of the time, the activities or information consumed are mirrored on my web use, and those mobile-first or mobile-only apps that I’d like to use would be for single-purpose functionality.

      1. fredwilson

        that’s been my experience toodo you think games can be mobile first, web second?

        1. Patrick McCarthy

          While I definitely do have some games that are mobile first, at this point I’m mobile first and it’s my primary way of using Reeder (Google Reader), Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, etc.I’ve almost completely switched to using a desktop or laptop for all productive work and then using either my iPhone or iPad for all news, social, and entertainment.It’s actually a very clean mental block to say “when I’m on my laptop, I’m only knocking things off my to-do list and getting true productive work done. I can check Twitter and read news on my mobile device later.”

    4. akharris

      That “I have 30 seconds so I may as well check my phone” process is something I’m actually trying to break out of right now. I’ll shy away from calling it an addiction (which is probably the biggest indicator that it is), but there isn’t really a good reason for me to have to check my email between the time I get off the subway and the time I walk into my apartment 5 minutes later.In fact, I’ll often check my phone just so that I look like I’m doing something. I’d probably be better served during that time by thinking through how to book my next customer, or what feature we should leave on the killing floor.Not sure if you saw the article from the times about how our constant use of tech is disrupting critical think time, but it’s worth a gander…next time you find yourself with 35 seconds to spare

      1. LIAD

        100% agree it’s a drug. A lot of us, myself included are addicted to getting frequent data/info hits.I’m sure much time could be far better spent.- as a real time anecdote I’m writing this from the grounds of Buckingham Palace, which I decided to visit this afternoon to view the state rooms which are on display during the summer.I am in the centre of perhaps the grandest and most exquisite residence ever built. Paintings, sculptures, furniture, chandeliers of the great masters from the past 500 years surround me. You cannot fathom the beauty of the rooms and their aura – some of the most gorgeous sights I have ever seen – yet I find myself staring at the 2 inch screen of my iPhone – typing away. What gives?Of all the things technology has brought us perhaps one of the most dramatic is ADD.

        1. Mark Essel

          We’re listening to your thoughts and responding. The rooms are quiet.. at least until they get mobile transmitters or remote video streams.

        2. karen_e

          I’m sad about the drug effects, too. The video phone is just the worst. There are millions of people who will soon stop being able to look up from their phone much at all. I think about this with my infant who already has his own iPhone (my husband handed it down when he got his iPh4). We use the white noise app and soon he’ll be using all the toddler apps, I’m sure. If I had my druthers, we’d only play with wooden blocks for a few years and forbid the screens, but something tells me I’m going to lose this battle. Thanks for bringing this up LIAD – I hope others will comment.

          1. ShanaC

            Karen, for my sake, win.

          2. JLM

            Having made it successfully to 20-somethings, I can tell you w/ certainty that every generation has its challenges as it relates to what kids are going to do and emulate.First, they will emulate you and your husband. Guaranteed. Whatever behaviors you have, they will repeat.Second, there is no substitute for physical activity to drain the energy which is necessary to invest in mischief. I made my kids do everything — football, basketball, gymnastics, swimming, horses, field hockey, etc. — that would drain them and make them tired and go to sleep early. I forced them to compete on school teams as gently as possible but nonetheless they took the bit and it worked out great.My daughter literally went all over the world playing field hockey and could have been a Div I player but the coaches would not allow her to be a sorority girl — guess what, she had to emulate her mom and live the Greek life. A $250K decision on her part. Like I said, they will emulate you.Last, know every second what they are doing — Internet, phone, diary (read your children’s diaries like it were a sacred fiduciary obligation and you will save yourself a whole lot of heartache), friends, locations, medicines.When they are old enough to drive — GPS chip in the car to be able to ascertain their location at 2:00 AM — might literally be lifesaving information one day.Make them go on family vacations every single year and always have dinner together and make them report on their activities.Ozzie & Harriet had it figured out and you just have to work in the iPhone.

          3. RichardF

            “read your children’s diaries like it were a sacred fiduciary obligation and you will save yourself a whole lot of heartache”JLM an image of you as Jack Byrnes (Robert De Nero in Meet the Fockers) springs to my mind! 🙂

          4. Mark Essel


          5. JLM

            De Niro? I’m 6’4″ tall. LOL

          6. karen_e

            Thanks, Uncle J, I feel better already!

          7. fredwilson

            we don’t allow phones at dinner, whether it is at home or in a restauranti learned back in the 90s to ban laptops in meetingswe ban phones for the most part in meetings too, unless a family member is calling or textingyou have set rules about this stuff

          8. markslater

            this is what i was waiting for someone to time you are in a bar – look around. watch how many people are addicted to “digital nothingness” – the guy next to me just chgecked his BB for the 3rd time in a minute – there is simply nothing that important, infact nothing there…..but he still cant resist the urge to snort some BB the next time you meet with someone and out comes the device plonked on the table. its like saying – yeah we might be chatting but if that thing gives me the slightest hint that it has something i’ll not hesitate to pick it up mid sentence and check it.i usually try and put my iphone on the table and turn it off in front of someone – after all i agreed to get together with you and if i cant have the respect to focus on our discussion for a period of time – why take the meeting or agree to meet the friend.these apps are creating a whole new generation of ADD addicts searching out tiny morsels of totally useless information in public.

          9. David Semeria

            Spot on Mark. Technology has its place.

          10. ninakix

            It’s an interesting point. While I’ll not necessarily turn my phone off in front of the person, I leave it in my bag and let it be. I said this below, but I view that constant email checking as a sort of nervous tic of mine, though there’s one thing I’ll say in defense of it: If I get an email that’s quick, I’ll deal with it and delete it out of my life right then and there. If not, I am usually absentmindedly doing the checking when walking from place to place, and it gives emails time to sit and incubate in my head a bit before I get back to them later on. The problem is, when I have so many nervous tics – to check 4sq, twitter, etc – that you block out your time to incubate and think about things.I like to believe that eventually we’ll get sick of this nonsense, and instead begin being more fascinated by more truly “engaging” experiences. I think there might be a lot of possibilities for “gateway” products and services, that begin by making us think they’re quick use, but actually help us become more committed to some sort of online forum, to being more heavily engaging with things.

          11. Tudor Munteanu

            This discipline should be imposed more often.

          12. Tereza

            I agree.As a general rule I’d say anytime human beings are together they should be limited to the tasks they can do when together. That usually means eye contact, sharing, discussing, synthesizing. Two-way communication. That goes for home and work.I was surprised when I went to my first tech conference how many people were on screens typing and not meeting new people.Then again it suggests there is also too much “broadcast” and linear/non-integrated discussion at events.When I planned senior-level events and meetings it was all about crafting the right questions and matching up the right people with complementary or conflicting data and points of view and a task to jointly complete, and report back. That’s what takes things to the next level but it’s hard thinking.It’s too easy and tempting to bury your face in a screen, in life and work.Since I’m writing this at the park on a beautiful day, I better put this iPhone down now and chase my kids.

          13. Melissa Thelemaque

            Banning laptops in meetings? Stunner.

          14. akharris

            Growing up, our rule was “no books at the table” as I would take every opportunity to ignore the whole world (though I’ll admit that cutting steak while keeping a Lloyd Alexander novel open was a difficult feat for an 11 year old). I would never even consider pulling out a phone at the table with my dad – his table manners are iron clad and, I think, a great lesson on thinking about other people.My dad likes to tell a story about a staff meeting he was running (he’s a doctor) where one of his physicians was sitting there on his blackberry. He stopped the meeting and asked whether or not the physician had somewhere better to be…I’ll admit I’ve used the same tactic when leading a meeting, but have to fight hard against the temptation to do the same when not standing in front of a room of people.

          15. Roger Toennis

            What we need is an app I would call “Digital Methadone”. Use the technology to manage the technology. I describe it here in a blog post I wrote after reading this thread.…Roger

          16. panterosa,

            I am designing a suite of learning toys (real learning) with mobile app mirrors of some of them, depending on age, for the range of birth to high school. We just had a meeting about when the iPhone apps are appropriate to introduce to young children. Three mothers on our team, and a uncle, all agreed that mobile apps should not come in until after age 6. The uncle was told upon seeing 5 year old niece “Your iPhone’s broken right?” because she had become an addict.That said, many of the features will be web available for ‘screen time’ with parents, which beats club penguin and other mindless games hands down. The web apps will feature an age selector to be able to scale to the child’s age the amount of information. And then, the mobile apps will scale in for the 6+ crowd waiting in the doctor’s office or on the bus.I have a 9 year old, and have an iPhone. She had my old one a while back when I upgraded, and thankfully it died. She was a bit too into it. Had she been on our games however I would have had less trouble with her spending that time. Unfortunately I find some of the games so dumb. Which is how I got to designing better ones.

          17. Tereza

            I use the iPhone and iPad all the time for my kids, 3 and 7. They are fantastic when traveling and especially in the car, to make trips go faster and keep mommy off the phone whole driving. Also when the younger has to wait with me while bored waiting for her big sister. Or, say, a quick way to distract from a big temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket when you have to get through the shopping line without being held hostage to buying Fruit Loops or whatever other crap they’re trying to negotiate.We have outdoor time, screen-free indoor time, and approved indoor screen-time. I don’t differentiate between TV, computer and iPhone, it’s all screen time, and it’s metered.We do not hesitate to ban the iPhone or any other screen pleasures to incent desired behavior. It works and it’s sugar-free.

        3. awaldstein

          Yes…but I would argue, thanks for sharing!I’m betting your Facebook friends are experiencing the palace with you in pictures.

        4. JLM

          What a thought provoking and interesting observation. Are you allowed to take pictures?I recently toured the Vatican and had a similar reaction in the Sistine Chapel.I forced myself to do without my cell phone and to ignore my computer. I made it for about 10 days and then the cold turkey withdrawal failed.

          1. LIAD

            Airport style security. No bags. No photography. No phones. Ushers standing 10 metres apart watching like hawks.My first time here – truly breathtaking.Would be interesting to know the sum total of man hours spent building the palace as well as everything inside it. – would be astronomical – put perhaps still less than the aggregate daily usage of Facebook.Notwithstanding all the security. Managed to smuggle out a grand piano down my trousers 🙂

        5. markslater

          well said. or “hear hear”.

        6. Gary Sharma

          I got a chance to visit the state rooms last summer. Its amazing.

        7. akharris

          I’ll agree with the ADD bit, but I think the worst part is what it does to our ability to prioritize. It shoots the whole “urgent/important” decision framework to hell because it makes responding to both so technically easy that we don’t even consider whether or not we should.If you sat me down with a pile of 100 emails at the end of the day, I’d prioritize the hell out of them, make a list of action items to tick through, delete 75, respond to 10, and leave five for later. With my iphone out, I respond to way more, but am I really making progress against the important stuff? Who knows, I can’t even keep track.On a side note, the state rooms sound amazing. Not sure how anyone could really live in them, but I’d love to see them.

      2. Chris Clark

        I’m sure I’m not the only who has found himself in front of the computer, but the new email notification reaches my phone first, and I find my self thumbing-away, typing a reply on the phone while literally sitting at my laptop. Habits are hard to break.

    5. Mark Essel

      Bullseye nailing consumption trends.

    6. ShanaC

      Snacking isn’t healthy, it makes you fat.

    7. smallbizgyrl

      LIAD has captured the essence of mobile. It’s more than about digital snacking, though – it’s where you need it, when you need it. I use my Droid for checking the weather and facebook, my email and gmail; texting; taking pictures with its awesome camera (8mp, dual LED flash); searching Google; accessing Google maps and navigation; reading the news (NYT, WSJ); watching YouTube videos with my daughter while waiting for appointments; and phone calls. I’ll also be using it as a handwarmer come this winter, as the Incredible runs quite hot.A lot of things you can do on the web don’t translate well to mobile, for example ZIllow. NYT is mobile ready, but WSJ I still have to finger pinch to view. Many YouTube videos don’t work on mobile (smartphone or iPad). And I do get aggravated by Fat Finger Syndrome. Also, LBS apps and GPS drain phone battery too fast (full power to zero in 4 hrs or less). Overall, my husband prefers his iPad, I prefer my Droid – unless I’m writing, or doing spreadsheets, then I use my desktop.Mobile phones are getting more and more powerful every day, and carriers will continue to push smartphones and data plans to get a ROI on their infrastructure expenses.Mobile first, web second? I believe mobile devices will evolve, and user demand will grow, exponentially and the lines will blur between mobile and web.

  8. Ryan Drew

    “…they are with you all the time and can be used in moments of downtime.” is alternatively alarming and exciting, and explains how Twitter can be both a destination and diversion, which often determines signal versus noise.

  9. Harry DeMott

    I would posit that any music service launching or trying to grow today has to be mobile first – web second in order to gain real traction.Really, any media service whatsoever better have a mobile first attitude toward it.

    1. Mark Essel

      congratulations Paramendra 😀

      1. paramendra


      2. paramendra


  10. Mark

    That Twitter statistic surprises me too. I keep getting surprised that way. I often have a shock when I see the disparity in the way my friends and relatives use their phones and computers. It seems to me that a lot of people want a very narrow experience on their phone. In fact, IMO to win that phone attention with a lot of people, you probably have to first win them over on the web. I’ll bet that most Twitter users use their computer less and phone more as time goes on.

    1. Mark

      Actually, I think there might be a difference between Twitter and 4sq in the sense that 4sq is really based upon a mobile app experience. Even so, I haven’t downloaded the 4sq app, but have been to their page a few times. They could probably benefit from a better web foyer.Oh yeah, I use my yelp and dropbox apps most.

    2. JLM

      I think we are devolving toward a pistol v long gun analogy. Both shoot bullets but they generally have different functions though they can crossover in a pinch.

    3. zackmansfield

      I think we need to keep in mind that we are still early in the game of smartphone penetration. I think recent estimates are at 35-40% penetration: Normals are getting there and getting used to “digital snacking” – we are on the steep part of the curve right now and racing fast up and to the right in penetration. An interesting sidebar will be how traditional web properties figure out how to translate to mobile or whether mobile will be dominated by Mobile first, web 2nd properties. My guess is it will be the latter.

      1. Mark

        I think you are probably right about penetration, Zack. However, I do have a feeling (even from my own behavior) that the phone app uptake is going to favor those apps that run close to mobile OS functionality, -like they are extensions of the phone as a tool, the leading edge of what’s to come to the mobile OS. So I also agree with your second guess, -these would be mobile first experience-wise (like Twitter and 4sq).That said, it might be counterintuitive, but IMO due to this early stage and the narrow scope of mobile attention, those that take the mobile edge, might still best accomplish it by pulling eyes from the web, where people have a longer attention span and are less goal-oriented. I think Twitter did this, and I think 4sq could still find real gains via the web.

        1. zackmansfield

          IMO, this LIAD’s snacking analogy is a great paradigm to apply to mobile. Sure, browser experience has improved, but it’s nowhere near the full webso what we’re seeing is the rise of applications which allow for snacking orfor immediate utility by virtue of the unique nature of the device (i.emaps/LBS – your phone is with you and allow for quick bites/check-ins)Analogous to origins of video on the web – vast majority of videos watchedwere YouTube-esque – short form content which was easily consumed. In startcontrast to “traditional’ media of long form programming. We’re stillfiguring out how to get long form programming delivered via the web toconsumers most effectively. And no surprise, lots of the work is being donein figuring out how to get it to the biggest screen in home – the TV.I guess what I’m trying to say is, for all the innovation in apps andsoftware, the device still matters. And due to size of screen, browsercapabilities, variety of platforms/devices, I think mobile first, web 2ndproperties will be winners in “mobile” for forseeable future. And anotherreason why growth in tablets is a huge game changer (can you imagine howdifferent this conversation will be in 5 years when iPad or the androidbased alternative is ubiquitous and $100 price point)

          1. Mark

            >I guess what I’m trying to say is, for all the innovation in apps and software, the device still matters.I couldn’t agree more.

  11. Yulian

    I would throw pandora in the ring. It is more of a 50/50 app, but I listen to it on my iphone all the time and not at all my mac.

    1. Yulian

      Also urbanspoon

  12. lindsayronga

    Seems the content based apps (Yelp, Twitter, FB) have made or are making the transition as people have mentioned. Obviously location based apps make sense. We have yet to see transaction based apps where people have to put in credit card info make transition such as Gilt, Woot, Groupon, LivingSocial, etc

    1. Mark W

      Kayak apparently does a lot of transactions through their mobile/iPad apps….

  13. Fernando Gutierrez

    Google Maps. Altough I use them a lot in my computer, I think that I use them even more in my Blackberry.I also check Facebook while being mobile, but in my computer I only log in to see something I know it’s there, usually because I saw it on the phone (photos still look better on a big screen).

    1. RichardF

      +1 for google maps

    2. ShanaC

      I get lost without google maps. It’s actually sort of depressing. I’m thinking of spending a day or two without it to get purposely lost and discover something.

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        I’ve just came back from Cambridge, where I’ve been visiting for a couple ofweeks. While there my Blackberry died for a couple of days (I flashed thedevice twice and then I found it was just a faulty battery… shame on mefor not checking), so I was left alone without Google Maps. I remember I wasable to move around before without a gps, so I guess I’m getting dumberbecause I discovered the same highway around Boston about ten times whilesearching for the Cambridge exit…

        1. ShanaC

          Yes, but think of all the new things you must have discovered! And you must know boston so much better!

  14. Fernando Gutierrez

    I think that of the reasons for using Twitter in a computer is that most tweets include some kind of link. Mobile web browsing is much better than a few years ago, specially on iPhone and Android, but all the others need a decent browser to enjoy Twitter fully. I think that in the begining it was more about communicating, which could be done easily with just texts. But now it’s also about broadcasting, and for that a computer can be better.

    1. fredwilson

      i read a lot on my android phonethe new twitter iPad app is optimized for reading linksit is amazing

      1. Fernando Gutierrez

        I know, I’ve seen it and I’m envious… but I’m tied to my Blackberrybecause I travel a lot abroad and have a great roaming tariff (like the oneyou mentioned you had on T-Mobile) that I can’t find on Android or iPhone

  15. Fernando Gutierrez

    Almost forget! AVC+Disqus!!I usually come to the website to check the post and read the comments (if I have enough time, if I’m late and it’s very controversial sometimes I can’t catch up), but then I check the other comments in my Blackberry in short periods of time during the rest of the day.

  16. Sameer

    I use Geodelic (maybe you can call this shameless promotion), but we are just starting to do something on the web. The app mostly has been mobile only.Generally, contextual apps that have location as their primary context driver makes more sense to be mobile only.

  17. ErikSchwartz

    The right platform for solving a problem depends on what the problem is and where you are when the problem occurs.Maps is much more useful on mobile (but it is nice to do planning on the web).Finance is more useful on the web (but a smaller mobile component is useful).The total killer thing I’m using now is the chrome-to-phone extension. I click a button in my web browser and it sends the page or map or phone number to my android phone.

    1. fredwilson

      wow. somehow i missed that. i am going to add that right away.

    2. fredwilson

      erik – i finally got around to setting up chrome to phone and i want to thank you for the tipsometimes a new piece of technology appears to be like magicthis is one of themsweeeet

      1. ErikSchwartz

        You’re welcome.I suspect this is just the start though. You could build a similar extension that works like and sends audio files or streams you find in your web browsing to your phone’s playlist.There’s another android app called Android2cloud that sends stuff the other way. It is no where near as slick or well executed as chrome to phone, but you can see where this is going.

  18. MattKane

    When I launched I never thought of it as a mobile app. It didn’t even have a mobile version for a couple of months. I didn’t really think of beekeepers as the sort to be using their phones when doing inspections. Turns out that it’s by far the most popular feature, to the extent that I need to explain to users how it’s still useful to people without phones.

  19. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

    All of the local reviews services à la Yelp (US), Qype and TellMeWhere (Europe) are definitely mobile first and then second (though it’s hard to avoid Qype on the web given their SEO wizardry). What’s interesting is that of these three, only one is “mobile native” (TellMeWhere). The other three started out as web services, but I barely ever use them as such.

    1. RichardF

      does Tellmewhere have translation built in do you know Pascal? that’d be a really nice feature.

      1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

        What do you mean translation, Richard? Like a built-in phrasebook fortourists or something?As I understand it, Tellmewhere has (at least) two versions of their app:Dismoioù, which is in French, and Tellmewhere, which is in English. Eachshould be in the language of your choice.I’m not sure I’ve answered your question correctly.Btw: I know the Tellmewhere guys, they’re great. Great example of a “pivot”startup (they were originally a completely different idea) and now arereaching impressive scale in Europe.PEG

        1. RichardF

          well I was thinking that my French is sufficient to understand a review/comment written in French but not so in German. So if I’m in Berlin I’m unlikely to be able to get the locals view on what is a great restaurant but if the app had the option to translate the review for me then I could get the local view as well as the tourist.

          1. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

            Ha! Yeah, great point. No idea if they do that. I guess they could with aGoogle Translate API (if it exists)? But I don’t know if they do.

          2. PeterisP

            As far as I have seen, there is no translation technology in the world that will reasonably translate “user content” – which tends to include typos, punctuation issues, slang, internet abbreviations, etc. Nicely written comments might be translatable through google api, but if half of the users write something comparable to tweets, then it won’t work for quite some time yet.

      2. Fernando Gutierrez

        If not you can always use Chrome autotranslate. I’ve been using it lately alot and I think it’s improved a lot.

  20. Dean

    I’m about to release a start-up called Nuji. We’ve had the opportunity to think of a category (e-commerce) in this new, social, mobile world. When we sat down and thought of a way to solve our problem, it was mobile that made sense, not the web.It’s only now that we have the right tools, allowing us to think in this way, so I believe we’re about to see an explosion of these mobile first, web second companies. I look forward to it!

  21. im2b_dl

    Personally (I know you know I feel this way) it is the apps who will be mobile but an extension of our “core hub” and “interoperably” laid/portably integrated into other hubs that will be the future. It’s what we are teaching assisting filmmakers and gamers to build content for. So I personally feel the future may be mobility as a priority but utility, appetite cesation, and emotional story architecture in a grounded personal hub. Same reason I think the next social network will be more like a gathering of personal virtual foyers that are detachable than personal cots in a great hall somewhere and location apps that allow you to touch base with that cot in the great hall. As always just in my crazy opinion ; )

  22. Mark Essel

    It’s worth clarifying your definition of what a web app is Fred.To me a web app is any app that is driven by the web (http) as a backbone. So that makes almost every network mobile app a web app with a dedicated mobile interface. It’s essential to understand this distinction because long term visual interfaces aren’t what will be around, but the pipes and tracks we’re all laying now will be here for decades.What’s interesting to me is the marketing power of having a slick and dedicated mobile app in a popular market (App Store/Android Store). They’re additional marketing channels for a core service. What I hope for as a developer (and founder first!) is to see elegant mobile web app interfaces continually pushing the limits of what people think of as “web interfaces”. Google’s doing a great job on this front, but I expect the big leaps to come from startups in this area.

    1. fredwilson

      good pointi may be misusing the term herei simply meant a service accessed via the browser from something other than a mobile browswer

      1. Aaron Klein

        In that case, I was a little off with my other comment, but Kindle may well be a good example of “mobile first, web never” – and the platform independence of Kindle means I’ll never buy an iBook.

  23. karen_e

    The only app for me that is mobile first, web second and is not yet on the lists below is RunKeeper. At $9.99 the Pro version was a shockingly expensive iPhone app at the time of its emergence, but proved itself as so, so worth it. Has had a cult following among runners for a couple of years now! I drank the Kool-Aid early. Ran my first 10K with it while pregnant (first trimester) about a year ago. So much fun to come home and show people your runs on the little map on the web. Mobile first, web second. Now I’m not running; I’m looking for the sleep recovery app … please, somebody, please, get me a nap. Not the nap app, just the nap!

    1. RichardF

      that’ll be the earplug app karen

  24. Aaron Klein

    Kindle for BlackBerry has been one of the most life-enriching mobile apps I’ve installed to date. It doesn’t sound logical but it really is…especially with syncing your current page and bookmarks in the cloud.

  25. Aaron Klein

    (On another note, Disqus works so incredibly well in the new BlackBerry Torch browser. It’s now worthwhile for me to check AVC in the mornings and comment from my phone as I’m doing now.)

    1. fredwilson

      that’s a webkit browser, right?

      1. Aaron Klein

        Yep…they did a beautiful job on this. It makes sense why they didn’t press harder to buy Palm…they’d already built it.

      2. Fernando Gutierrez

        Yes, and the screen is quite big… but the resolution is low. They almostgot it!

      3. Fernando Gutierrez

        Yes, and the screen is quite big… but the resolution is low. They almostgot it!

    2. Mark Essel

      I’m impressed by Daniel and team’s work. They listened to our gripes about mobile and polished the interface and javascript to function well in a mobile environment (not unlike dedicated app interfaces).

      1. Aaron Klein

        Very much so. At this stage, my only complaint is that the font size in mobile is WAY too small. AVC is gorgeous on the Torch webkit browser…but my dad wouldn’t even try to comment because it’s about 6 point type. :)Of course, this may be a CSS issue more than Disqus…but the functionality is PERFECT. That’s all they need to fix.

    3. fredwilson

      do you like the torch?the gotham gal is trying to decide between staying on blackberry or joining me on androidthe two things she wants are “good apps” and a great browswer

      1. Aaron Klein

        Absolutely LOVE it. I tried a bunch of Android phones with the same question and there was no comparison.I think BlackBerry is going to remain a strong #3 in the market, focused on people who love beautifully-engineered physical keyboards, lightning fast e-mail and BBM.And they really have eliminated the differences on apps and the browser. Twitter for BlackBerry is beautifully done and the browser actually renders non-mobile sites better than the iPhone.

  26. ShanaC

    Honestly, I’m shocked at how many people prefer sms. The clients are better and they prevent you from being ocd. Plus they keep you organized.My personal favorite though is evernote. I like apps that sync between multiple environments- they make me feel organized. I’m a big blended screen fan.Now if only I could get my wordpress app to work on my blackberry, I would be in heaven. I tend to think mostly when I am traveling….

    1. mcbeese

      Me too. Dropbox is awesome for keeping notes and files in sync across my devices.

      1. ShanaC

        Same about DropBox. I think we underestimate how much we live in a multiscreen society.

  27. Mark W

    The world used to be divided into web experiences and mobile experiences, and companies would define themselves this way (“we’re a mobile xyz”). More and more, I don’t believe a consumer experience company (be it search, ecommerce, social networks or games) has the luxury of being one or the other. Both web and mobile are now integral to people’s lives – a service that wants deep loyalty needs to be present whenever and wherever the user needs it. Web first or mobile first, is a matter of tactics, not strategy. The key is successful services will be in both environments.At goby (an inspiration engine for finding things to do) we started on the web first – the customer acquisition paths (for example SEO or Facebook sharing) were much clearer (or at least seemed so). But thereafter we launched mobile experiences and the rate of uptake has actually been higher on mobile (it’s good in both web & mobile, but mobile has been faster). On the web, people’s web lives are much more set in habit, whereas in our experience people are much more willing to experiment with a new app on their phone, where behavior patterns aren’t yet set. So mobile environments, in addition to being intrinsically useful, can be a great customer acquisition channel.This is becoming more common – look at Pandora (where a huge % of new customers come through mobile), or Zillow or Kayak, which have strong presences in both web & mobile environments. I believe the key to being a successful consumer service is being strong in both environments, and finding ways to connect the web and mobile experiences in ways that are contextually meaningful for consumers. This is also mirrored in the increasing desire by advertisers to find effective mobile ad environments, and the increasing spend in this area, reflecting the increasing amount of time people spend on their phones.

  28. Mike

    Opentable and Yelp. I almost never check a restaurant’s ratings anymore until I’m in the car and heading in that direction.I then of course check in via foursquare on my iphone as I arrive which sends a tweet alerting my followers where I’m eating.

  29. Rocky Agrawal

    One thing that can’t be overstated is the degree to which mobile experiences are a lot cleaner and simpler. Many tasks, such as looking up movie showtimes, are so much quicker and easier on mobile devices than on the Web.Part of this is due to GPS integration, but part of it is the limited screen size. Developers are forced to make usable experience. This is in stark contrast to the Web, where the glut of low-quality remnant ad inventory is plastered all over sites. The small screen means only the most qualified (and profitable) advertisers are shown.

  30. Gary Sharma

    Increasingly I find myself pulling out my iPhone to get at some info even though I’m at home and my laptop / web browser is right in front of me. Its just easier.

  31. Brenton Gieser

    Mobile first has been emerging from the consumer side for the past couple years. It’s awesome to use products with simple, seamless functionality…much of which seem like a product of lean web development.I also think that there may be an emergence of more enterprise based mobile first apps…maybe not for corporate settings but for other service industries. Anyone know of any that exist right now?

  32. Jonathan

    I love tumblr on my iPhone. If I am out, it is really easy to post pics, or share a video, or article someone tells me about. It is very easy to post from the iPhone and the UI is very simpleNaturally location based apps or anything map related are better on the mobile device. Personally, I prefer my Macbook Pro over all mobile devices (I use an iPhone). The keyboard and bigger screen are such a luxury. It is just easier to explore social networks like Twitter and read RSS on my Mac, partly due to not having an iPad…yet–I have no current need. However, I think I would love Twitter on the iPad.

  33. William Mougayar

    Mobile and Web – from an app view, it’s the Ying and Yang.Same for Social Media vs. Online Media : which comes first now? A chicken and egg question.If I’m sitting at my desk and using an iPhone or iPad, is it Mobile or Web?If the iPad was a car, it would be a hybrid (half mobile and half web).The lines will blur further…wait til you see the next generation of HTML5 apps.

  34. ninakix

    Hmm. From a personal standpoint, this is sort of depressing: the idea that there is a world of people out there attempting to suck up my two minutes of boredom. There’s an interesting article about this phenomenon that was in the NYT recently:… and I have to say, I agree. With all we know about creativity and the like, this makes sense. I try to build time into my day to just think: the shower, driving, walking around, exercising. I’ll play a little music and just zone out. That said, I also compulsively check my email, and it’s a silly little nervous tic than anything else. I find myself resisting urges to do two-second things on my computer too: quick Facebook messages, Twitter messages, etc.From a more “professional” point of view, it discourages me that this is also what we perceive as an effective way to “lead to higher levels of engagement.” I like to think we can create ways for people to be genuinely interested and engaged in a product, not just in the way our brain unfortunately overreacts through chemicals to certain patterns of input, but in a way that’s actually pleasing to us on a higher level. Personally, I’ve noticed my frustration with these “slimy products,” as I now feel like I give several hours a day consuming digital products that make me feel like I’ve just eaten a packet of junk food – that is, wasted calories/time, but also feeling over-saturated and a bit sick to my stomach. Perhaps in a few years, we’ll start writing books about the tricks of the web 2.0 industry, similar to the way in which we’ve enjoyed exposes on the tips and tricks of greasy cars salesmen and the fast food industry.Not to sound totally bitter about this belief around products, but more to do a reality check: there are certainly fabulous, useful applications of the quick, in-and-out theory of engagement, but it’s something that I’d rather be careful with than overzealous about.

  35. Christian Brucculeri

    I use Socialscope religiously; but it’s really just a layer for Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook so I’m not sure if I’d call it mobile-first.I dont use much else. I’m looking forward to getting an android phone (I thought it would be the Nexus One, but I guess I missed that boat), so that I can use more apps. I like the idea of utility-driven mobile applications. In general, I don’t really play with games.

  36. sinzone

    I’m a fan of the Treehouse iPhone App, that is a pure example of mobile first, they even don’t have a usable website. Just an amazing mobile app. Go ahead Chrys!

  37. Emily Merkle

    I don’t think social when I think mobile first – except maybe a quick pic on tumblr on the fly. I think – utilities…health monitoring, (well yeah ok tweetdeck) – and a few ecomm sites I can imagine like price comparison/commentary on the go – helpful.I use twitter/fb/tumblr/li not touch and go but immerse more, so I favor web over mobile for now. at least until tunnels are wired…

  38. Jose Paul Martin

    Interesting post. mobile first web second apps in my trunk include: -Evernote, it’s been a life saver! An extended memory… clipping posts, sharing them, or just writing a note to myself or researching information. They’re focused around the mobile app, but their website does a decent job.Dropbox, it’s just for syncing, backup and accessing my files while I’m on the road… hey I can even listen occasionally to my mp3 collection!Posterous, for moblogging or just blogging! Doesn’t really need an app, your good ol’ email is sufficient. (So does this qualify?)But if I could change the title… I’d have: Mobile First, Web Second, Desktop Third. Seamless integration between all three are essential. Mobile for mobility, on the road, web for a larger screen and connected to the grid, and desktop for a larger screen and when you’re off the grid.

  39. Robert Hylton

    We [full disclosure] at Transpara have created a “mobile first web second” mobile BI app for monitoring of data centers, manufacturing plants, utilities, etc. Some people use it on their desktops (or even put it up on flat screens around the facility) but the mobile experience is by far the most popular use. Interestingly, we have a dedicated iPhone app, etc., but almost 100% of our users view it in their mobile browser (Blackberry, Safari, mobile IE, Android). I guess you could say it qualifies as “mobile web first, regular web second.”

  40. Tereza

    I really see mobile as *the* key access tool for moms and envision a whole new suite of utilities to do this.It’s more than digital snacking. You’re standing outside for 45 minutes at the soccer game. You’re in a line in the school parking lot for pickup or dropoff. We have so much less time in front of a computer screen than you think.Prevailing networks such as Facebook are still sub-optimal in mobile, for super-connectors. Lots of women are super-connectors.In affluent areas it’s already well on its way and most moms I know, if they don’t already have a smartphone, plan on an iPhone or Droid when their plan expires and it’s time for a new phone.Working moms who have a company-issued Blackberry are very reticent to download external non-professional apps. So I see them starting to get a personal phone, once they see their personal life productivity is hampered because of the ‘firewall’ between work and life.I just received class lists, in hard copy, for my kids. They’ll be having playdates and I’ll be interacting with these parents all year. Most of the time when circumstance arises to interact with them, I’ll be on a train or between meetings or at pickup or dropoff. At my desk? Hell no. My 2- minute activities related to specific, socially-driven planning tasks and not games.But our public school class list includes neither parents’ names nor their emails. So the class mother used Facebook to reach out to me. But I will bet money that she nor anyone else feels safe using Facebook as the key social parenting platform. The messaging doesn’t integrate well enough with email. And posting friends’ kids pictures on Facebook? Based on their privacy record….I don’t think so.And as I’ve mentioned multiple times before, I want Foursquare for carpooling. September is here, schedules for after-school activities are locking in, and I’m making decisions on what classes to pay money before based in largest part on logistically who I (and my nanny and my husband) — can get where in certain time slots. Right now my younger daughter can’t do choir because her big sister has to do piano at the same time. But maybe she can with a carpool? I’ve budgeted 10 minutes to make a final decision, so I’m about to say No. But I’d love to see recommendation engines for that, both in semester-based planning as well as real-time. I might make a different decision.Mobile, and smart apps that really understand our decision vectors, are only just nicking the tip of the iceberg for what it can be for moms who orchestrate the lives of entire families of people.

    1. fredwilson

      the class list and the school calendar in hard copy are so annoyingthe gotham gal spent a good hour yesterday taking all that info and gettingit onlineugh

    2. panterosa,

      I agree with Mom time being less big screen vs mobile. We are on the go a lot. It would be nice to have some synch with the other Moms via play time/activities.We got hard copy class lists every year. I complained bitterly. It’s private school too!! In K, I had my then assistant create vcards for everyone. Last year, end of school, I told 2 class mothers that I had done this and why didn’t I just mail them the files and have them do the future updates from there? I got blank stares on vcards, and enthusiasm on making their life easier, but no follow up – somehow even though it would be easier in the end the learning curve was too high. And these are women who are putting in major hours to coordinate all this stupid stuff which the school could have simply done for us. Ditto with the school calendar.I fail to see why this is still so hard to solve. There should be some solution for the problems you listed, not just sleep-deprived Mom generated google doc spreadsheets and the like. And I’m sure there could be great setting which could make the families and schools happy with the security level etc issues they might have.Tereza, I hope you are making a mental list of features you’d want.

  41. Erik

    Designing for mobile first makes a lot of sense since iOS, Android etc has given us exciting capabilities not available on the desktop. (multitouch, GPS etc ).Another thing that speaks for a mobile first strategy is the fact that developing markets will also have their first-time experience from a mobile device.

  42. StephenPickering

    Well, FourSquare, which could have been NY’s first multi billion $ start up is done. I regret it, because I like @Dens better than any tech personality. He’s uber cool. Not that I want a digital uber lord, but if I had to have one, I’d rather it be Dennis Crowley than Steve Jobs. But anyway, its not his or NY’s fault. I’m sure Word Perfect and Lotus Notes were really cool in their day. It’s just that the platform is the play, and if you are luck and talented like @Dens and you happen to find success, then those platforms, just like MS Office take your lunch money. You can’t blame Twitter or Facebook, because in this town (that’s a metaphor for free markets) your either going up or your going down.

    1. StephenPickering

      It’s all good. 🙂 California, New York, and ever where in between. :-))

    2. fredwilson

      why do you think foursquare is “done”?the growth is stronger than ever

      1. StephenPickering

        Oh, I believe you. Wish I hadn’t written that. I was just being smart alecky. Hate when I’m like that. But anyway, Arrington was talking a little bit that way on the Gillmor Gang, not that they were “done” but that he felt now, even though he wrote the opposite some time ago, that they should have taken the buyout offer from whomever it was, Microsoft and someone else. I assumed what he meant from that is that Facebook with ‘places’ etc. would eventually nullify 4Sq. But I love Foursquare, and even though Arrington has a valid point, its such a great company that its brand may have already established itself enough to withstand the competition of even Facebook. I hope it does, and not just that, but keeps growing even beyond that. Dennis just seems like such a visionary in Social Media, not out to manipulate users but actually to bring value to them first, which is not a sense you always get from some of the other players, that an industry couldn’t have a better leader.

        1. fredwilson

          the pundits said the same thing when twitter turned down $500mm fromFacebookwe’ll see how it plays outthey could be rightor maybe not

  43. Daniele Calabrese

    Mobile first and web second…. this is how we build Soundtrckr!!

  44. Daniele Calabrese

    Mobile first and web second…. this is how we have been building Soundtrckr for the past 2 years!! Check us out soon~!!

  45. LisaRau

    Location, location, location!

  46. tmarman

    I recently joined a company called WinePicks ( that employed this very strategy. Think Pandora for Wine – after you rate a few wines, we will make recommendations based on your taste profile. However, Pandora has the luxury of pulling from the entire universe of music, while in our case we have to make the recommendations more contextual. E.g., if I’m at a wine store or restaurant and I need help selecting a wine, the recommendation is irrelevant if it’s not available for purchase.I think the nature of the product should dictate the product strategy. Foursquare, as it exists today, really makes more sense with a primary use case on mobile. Foursquare web works more as a Yelp competitor, which isn’t maybe their core business (yet). Meanwhile, while Twitter is obviously great on the go, the same primary use case works well while you’re sitting at home in front of a computer. Our business is more like Twitter in that sense – a lot of wine is purchased online or drank at home, so it’s important to our core business that we have a strong web presence. So, we’re working on things like cellar management and social recommendations through taste neighbors, etc. (After all, wine consumption is inherently social).

  47. CoreComments

    regarding foursquare, foursquare is definitely a mobile thing but twitter is not with twitter’s growth it no longer is bounded by mobile i am surprised by the percentage of users using txt messages to interact with twitter, it’s pretty much higher than i would have expected, you can’t read too much tweets and links attached on mobile devices if it would have been just the text then it would be okay to consider twitter a mobile thing but since its expansion it no longer is bounded by mobile

  48. Perry

    I definitely agree. Facebook is my drug of choice on my Blackberry since my TwitterBerry app ceased to work a couple weeks ago. When I have wifi I’m my iTouch in Brizzly or the Twitter App. FourSquare is open if I am checking in, but in Austin it’s not very frequently useful for meeting up. Wonder what the next mobile app will be that I can’t stop checking…

  49. Ryan Carag

    It seems to me that there is an interesting dynamic of mobile-first, web-second type of apps also is the update mechanism and the implications it has on UX design.On the web, you have a lot more flexibility in your updates. You change it, test it, ship it. All users you want to see the update see it right away. This is a pure push update. You can go further with this by A/B live and let the best one live dynamically, as HuffPo does with their headlines.On mobile, you rely not only getting through the update into the store/market, but also the fact that updates are pure pull. You don’t know how many of your users will do the update or in what time frame. The review mechanism and discoverability of the application is also quite influenced by the first reviews. So in many ways, you have less room for error.