Instrument Your Mobile Apps

In the world of "mobile first, web second" we are seeing a significant uptake in mobile engagement across our entire portfolio. I think this is only the beginning. If you follow the trends out a few years, it could well be that mobile usage of many internet apps will surpass web usage. This is already the case with apps like Foursquare and Instagram. But think about apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yelp. I can see all of these services having more usage on mobile than web in the not too distant future.

This shift to mobile usage will not be limited to social and local media. I think it will impact every service on the web in some sense. Ecommerce will be affected. Streaming media will be affected. News will be affected. Etc. Etc.

Most everyone uses some form of web analytics these days. Most likely you are using Google Analytics and possibly a lot more on your web app. But are you doing the same thing on your mobile apps? If not you are flying blind. Furthermore, you are missing out on a lot of usage that your employees, investors, and the "market" might want to know about.

We have a portfolio company in this sector, called Flurry, that can help. Flurry's free analytics service is used in tens of thousands of mobile apps across iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and JavaME.

Whether you use Flurry or some other mobile analytics solution, you need to instrument your mobile apps. If you don't you are missing out on a significant amount of usage and it will only grow over time.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Evan

    Wait, today isn’t Folio Friday….

    1. Matt A. Myers

      It’s Thursday night still where I currently am — so didn’t even think of this one!

      1. RichardF

        Thursday night Matt! Are you in another dimension?

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Hong Kong FTW!Oh wait! It’s Wednesday! I just had my first Starbucks since being here, so all will be well soon enough with my mind. :)Ladies’ Night is Wednesday night. Free alcohol for the ladies in the expat district.

          1. RichardF

            Thought you’d gone all Marty McFly on us there for a minute Matt

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I don’t have the resources (yet) to build that space-time capsule – already have the base theories figured out though. 😉

          3. Harry DeMott

            First and foremost you need the flux capacitor!

          4. Tereza

            ROTFL (of Metro North…gross!)

          5. Matt A. Myers

            I forgot mine back in Canada! 🙁

          6. Alex Murphy

            If resources are your only limitation then I think there are some people that would be happy to give you money to fix that problem.

          7. ShanaC

            oh definitely. you have no idea how much people want to go watch shakespeare at his premiers…

          8. Matt A. Myers

            Maybe that’s why his plays became popular to begin with… 😉

          9. Matt A. Myers

            You have to prove yourself that you have at least a slight amount and growing clue of what you’re talking about.Resources needed also include people resources – which will be needed in order to prove to people that there’s value in what I’m working towards (of course it may not lead to anything universe-altering, so you have to either fund yourself or prove enough it’s other benefits to society).That takes time, and there’s only one of me.It will be at least 20 years to start the process and start a proper ecosystem for research and development.Quickest path to get there for me is through business – teaches me and will earn me money to put back into all my lifelong plans.I have other plans before attempting to prove a body/mind theory of mine that I have, which is to help fix / change healthcare system to be preventative / proactive, etc..Also, there’s no rush to win the “time-space capsule” technology-race. Technology probably isn’t there yet – if it is already here it would be kept private anyway. And the academic resources (information and people included) are still evolving and will make it easier in the future to put together the people needed to figure things out, including physical and metaphysical elements needed.

          10. Tereza

            Wouldn’t that make it Tuesday……2004?

          11. Mark Essel

            What brings you to Hong Kong? I was just chatting with a coworker who visited China a few weeks ago (and the special autonomous region of Hong Kong) over lunch. I mentioned the old Milton Friedman special about the raw capitalism there.

          12. Matt A. Myers

            Sorry – just had a chance to get online again!!My mother had a conference talk here and in two other cities in China, so I tagged along. Just was in Shenzhen yesterday for a 40 minute foot massage + 2 hour long full-body massage. All for roughly $15 (included some drinks and fruit, and tip)… almost enough reason on its own to move here! Wonderful.It was also an opportunity to finally meet an online friend of 9 years who I just met last week for the first time. He’s a police officer here so he’s been a great guide! Can’t beat a free place to stay and good company who knows the city.It’s truly amazing the productivity going on here. If the efficiency of the transportation system of moving 7 million people around daily is a sign of how everything else is done, then it’s no wonder their economy is booming.P.S. The iPhone 4 here is highly highly highly wanted. Apple’s being smart and creating scarcity though. 3-4 week wait time. Maybe it’s actually their production time – but they’ve never been in a rush to get the product out to everywhere. Apple laptops are very much wanted too. Just a matter of time while people work buying the more expensive products into their schema here. I really hope a smart competitor decides to take the same approach as Apple and control the ecosystem a bit compared to the others; I feel Apple specifically needs a similar competitor.

    2. Tereza


  2. Matt A. Myers

    If you look at where mobile devices are evolving to — like the iPad and other sizeable mobile screens — then it only makes sense that the push toward mobile media-viewers will increase viewership from mobile.You still need a laptop to be creative — but mobile devices for organizing and living life are becoming quite perfect.

    1. Tereza

      My problem with creativity is — and I am quite creative — is that I never know when it’s going to hit and therefore which tool is best. So most days I carry my iPhone, laptop AND iPad with me.Sorry gotta run to the chiro… shoulder hurts like a mofo…

      1. ShanaC

        Oy babe. (on the shoulder)I would say do what I did in college if you are that worried about creativity- practice practice practice.There was a point in my life where I was drawing every day for at least 45 minutes on top of classes about drawing- and only through the excessive amounts of drawing did I understand how to channel creativity. I actually sort of miss that…must pick up a new drawing board and a new portfolio.

        1. Tereza

          It’s the packing mule that’s annoying, not the channeling of creativity.I am very practiced and prolific I’m cranking out stuff. But I know I am highly motivated by a fresh idea I’m the moment. It’s like a butterfly to catch. If I don’t capture it then, I can re-create it later but it’s slower, less inspired activity, more like a to-do.

          1. ShanaC

            is there a way to pack just a keyboard for the ipad and kill the laptop for what you are doing?

      2. Matt A. Myers

        Hope your shoulder’s feeling better. :)I agree. The iPhone has been good for its Notes, Calendar and Alarm. They all existed before but they were all easy to use in one place. I still haven’t tried a phone yet that I like more. Design wise the ones that are trying to compete could still do better.What do you most use your iPad for right now?

  3. LIAD

    just me or is the comment box now under all the comments for everyone? I get the rationale – not sure it’s the best idea.Anyhow…Flurry – great name – sweet they have the .comPost is perfect 15 sec pitch.Explain magnitude of trend – Define problem (twist the knife for bonus points) – Provide Solution – it’s like Fred’s got a little experience in this startup game.

    1. fredwilson

      hmmnot sure i like the new placement of the comment boxi will find out if i can move it back

      1. kenberger

        I was about to attack that too. But can’t decide now.I suppose it encourages one to at least glance at what was already said, before you speak out. And if you do that, you find yourself at the bottom of the comments, where the box now conveniently is…Maybe having it at the end encourages less shoutouts and more interactivity, higher quality comments. Maybe.

    2. Tereza

      Not for me on iPad….it’s in regular spot under post.But some of the comment boxes are sticky? I want to respond to Richard with something brilliant and alas, cannot. I guess a device thing.

      1. LIAD

        the mobile versions, ipad included, are as they used to be. the web version seems to have the comment box at the bottom.

      2. RichardF

        shame, I like brilliant comments!

        1. Tereza

          Sorry — the brilliance was fleeting and I can’t seem to get it back.;-)

    3. fredwilson

      i moved it back up topnot sure how it got moved to the bottom

      1. LIAD

        perfect. thanks

  4. RichardF

    Mobile is already pervasive in our life but what really excites me is how location based services/augmented reality is going to create another virtual dimension around us, almost in a Second Life sort of way.

    1. Tereza

      The brilliant thing I wanted to say earlier was that I see the immediate opportunity not so much as creating a virtual world, but digitizing and structuring the existing one that happens when we’re out and about. Take conversations that are already happening and get them on the device so you can start doing kickass stuff with it.

  5. kagilandam

    Mobile is the future … user base of mobile is unbelievably bigger than puter.I can live without my laptop and puter for few days … but can’t live without a mobile for few minutes it is always up and ON and ready to receive even while i am sleeping and is close to my heart-in my shirt pocket.I strongly believe we can’t distinguish a mobile from a computer in a decades time. I hope (i am just 20-years away from average age of my country) i will see that device before i die – a mobile with folding screen and projected keyboard sitting in my shirt pocket.

    1. Tereza

      Like an appendage or critical organ…not a tool. It is a part of me in a way that my laptop is not.

    2. ShanaC

      I always thought it would be awesome to plug phones into base stations, because the phones we’re all talking about do have very similar processing and storage statistics to computers made a decade ago. Effectively they are computers except in form factor- and I don’t think the form factor is going away (keyboards and big screens are just too useful). In my mind, it would be totally fascinating if we developed a plug and play architecture for the bases stations (plug in phone and now you have your computer

  6. OurielOhayon

    Fred, one of the key metrics most developers forget to track is conversion and referal. Flurry helps in getting usage metrics but does not help at the first part. What sites, banners, apps, services, blogs…are generating me, as a developer more installs. This is a critical data to obtain, although eventually it all go through App Stores for the deliveryIt is stunning 100% of the sites do care of that metric but rarely mobile developers. We ( have created a generic analytics technology that does that. We have a few hundred apps using it right now. Getting to know where your user are coming from is as important as to know how they use your app

    1. gyardley

      Flurry also does channel tracking where it’s possible to do so. Agreed that this is a very important metric.

  7. Harry DeMott

    Strangely, I think one of the most interesting opportunity around mobile is creating a mobile environment and bringing it back to the web. More and more – I think we will see services develop really simple and intuitive UI’s for the mobile services – and they will permeate back to websites that have gotten overly fussy. The other thing about mobile is that it is much harder to earn a return through advertising – so your service needs to be that much better – offer up that much more value to consumers that they will ultimately pay for it – be it in the form of an initial download fee – or in some sort of subscription or per use fee. This might clear up a lot of sites that look like a NASCAR race car – too many banners – too much stuff competing with the basic service functionality.

    1. mike gilfillan

      Or maybe as screens get bigger and sharper on Mobile, the banner ads and clutter will follow. Too many designs are compromised in the race to get pennies for banners. I even see “Ads by Google” on some of the major retailer sites — go figure.How many of you have actually clicked on a banner ad recently (or mobile ad for that matter) — or are they really all just “brand” advertising ??

      1. Yulian

        can the mobile screen really get bigger though?

        1. Fernando Gutierrez

          Hope not! at least not with the current technology. Sometimes I miss the really small Nokias that you forgot you had in a pocket and that you could use for a week without having to charge them. I don’t miss them as much as to go back to that, but those two features were great.

          1. Yulian

            That was a trend for a while, trying to make the phone as small as possible. Also, I think most of us forgot they were in our pockets because we only got phone calls. Now we get emails, texts, notification every two seconds and then we have our work emails hooked up to our phones and we get something every second. On one hand its great but it was nice to be able to drop off the grid for a day with out creating panic. Now you don’t answer a text with in 10 minutes, you have 5 messages waiting for you asking why you didn’t answer.This may be just me, but I do not consider iPads to be fully mobile. Sure I can use it where ever I am thanks to 3g, however to use it I still have to be sitting or at least stationary. If I use it while walking I start running into things, however I do no run into that issues with my phone. So it is going to be interesting to see who can breach that gap, a gadget that can fit in your hand and easy to make phone calls from, but also has a big screen for when you are sitting down and want to read something. iphone that expands into an ipad at a touch of a button…anyone?

          2. ShanaC

            Actually, I wish they would come back with cloud storage. Really small touchscreen phones where all you can do is text message and make a call. Adding a contact goes into cloudland and you just use a bigger device to do all that complicated stuff.I would save so much room in my purse.

          3. Fernando Gutierrez

            That’s somehow similar to what Modu tried –with little success yet, Ibelieve–. You could buy the core phone and then different jackets for thedifferent uses you could give it (a small one to fit on your jeans on theweekend, a bigger one with a keyboard for the work days and so). I readsomewhere that they were going to try it again, this time with Androidinside, not sure if they’ve launched it already.

          4. ShanaC

            I think that may be the wrong approach- too many pieces to get lost, could be not cool looking. I keep thinking we need to have phones that all take the same number (for a fee) and use the cloud to interlock the information between different models.Mostly this is due to how much we perceive phones as a life accessory as much as anything else.

          5. ErikSchwartz

            I actually still have a little nokia I use. Since I use google voice it’s the same phone number as my main cell phone (which is a moto droid).The battery lasts for about a week. It weighs basically nothing. I’m not tempted to check my email when I go to dinner with my wife.The other thing is, as a phone, voice quality and speaker phone, it’s better than any smart phone I’ve seen.

          6. Fernando Gutierrez

            I love that set up! I can’t replicate it because we don’t have Google Voicein Europe, but it’s great. I also still have one of those nokias, but onlyto be used by guests from abroad when they visit so they don’t have to spenda lot on roaming charges if they only want some voice.

        2. mike gilfillan

          Bigger? I was referring to the iPad and the upcoming iBoard and iMat :)…

          1. Yulian

            haha, well played.

          2. Alex Murphy

            How about iHologram

        3. Matt A. Myers

          Something foldable with no crease?

      2. ShanaC

        the Ipad is already basically small computer screen size (there is a 11′ apple now, and the ipad is around 10′)For cross platform work what we need is icons to resize, not more on the screen. Within their current limitations (including the practical one of having to be held by one hand for a call) I don’t think phones can get much bigger

        1. Tereza

          Actual a bit smaller. There is a border so the actual lit screen is only about 6″x 8″.

      3. Harry DeMott

        Yeah I never understand that. Once you get to a public company state – youtake any $ you can – particularly if you are a “cost center” to justify youractivities – even if it really denigrates your brand. It is very very shortsighted.

    2. Fernando Gutierrez

      Yeah, that simplification would be great in many services.Also I would love if those mobile enviroments are accesible through the mobile browser. Some apps for mobile phones are great and do things that can’t be done from the browser (yet), but many aren’t and the complexity they add is terrible. As mobile browsing improves in quality and speed I hope some of those apps go back to the browser. That would make life easier for users (when you have 100 apps on your iPhone managing them and finding the one you want is as painful as managing bookmarks) and for developers (who will go crazy/broke if the number of platforms/devices to develop for keeps increasing).

      1. Harry DeMott

        I guess you are either going to manage apps or manage bookmarks – chooseyour poison.Having both would be great. Apps for things that you really use a lot andneed to access quickly – browsers for those you don’t.Of course – apps are the on-ramp to the mobile web these days – that’s justwhat Apple has determined and everyone is following. Also, unless mobilebrowsers start supporting tabbed browsing – or multiple browser sessions allpulling data at the same time – it will be tough. I think about my usagepattern of listening to Pandoras while doing other stuff.

        1. mike gilfillan

          I agree about tabbed browsing. I think mobile is great for reading, social and specific business apps (like medical) and keeping kids and elderly entertained, but I will always wait to get back to my laptop for more intense usage (biz apps, researching, stocks, shopping, travel booking, email, etc).Unless (or until) Mobile browsing features catch up to Firefox with plugins, I’m not convinced that it will impact my laptop usage. Probably the two interfaces will merge into similar UI and will become hardware independent — that’s my guess.

          1. Harry DeMott

            Yeah, this is why I was disappointed with the latest MacBook Air. I figurethey could have had a 11″ touch screen which was forward facing when closed- open it and swivel and you end up with a laptop screen.You could then have the best of the iPad and Macbook all in 1.Firefox with tabbed browsing if you want – iPad apps if you don’t.

          2. mike gilfillan

            Air with built in iPad — that would be totally cool.

          3. Harry DeMott

            Dude – don’t go crazy on me. I could see it now – a lovely Apple OScorrupted with some sort of Dr. Watson error and a blue screen of death.

          4. mike gilfillan

            Yeah, I should’ve left that part about running Win7 native on Mac in my original post. I tried VMWare, but too buggy and memory hog. I love all the Mac designs and quietness, but can’t seem to transition out of Windows. Maybe one day Steve will open up his wonderful hardware to the (Windows) masses — but I won’t hold my breath!

    3. Tereza

      I’ve been concurrently developing across three platforms and you are totally correct.We started with web and thought we were being incredibly judicious about simlicity but the mobile brings a whole other level of clarity. We’ve learned a ton about our product that way.It is, obviously, a little more complicated to manage…but that’s OK. And your MVPs for each platform may not be the same and as you learn things you have to decide whether and when to drive them into the other platforms. If you’re not careful you could burn a lot of developer time.But I’ve found mobile development is seriously a delight to do. Testing use cases in front of a laptop screen to me always feels a little artificial. But on the go, a whole other story. There is limitless inspiration and opportunity around you to test different things.Then again, maybe I’m just drinking my own Kool-Aid.Real fun, though.

      1. Harry DeMott

        Drink deeply and lace up your sneakers!

      2. Elia Freedman

        You are not drinking your own Kool Aid. I have been in mobile development for 13 years and have done web based stuff over the past 5 or so. I found the mental learning curve, going from mobile to web, to be steep. My expectations for how people interact were all tempered by my mobile experiences and thos aren’t the same as web. But as I wrote and trashed the first app the subsequent revisions and my thinking have been tempered in an interesting way on the web. I think about the user’s relationship to the information and what they are trying to get out of the app differently than before. I also have enjoyed thinking about design on the web from the perspective of mobile constraint – how much space and how much a user can focus on at one time.

    4. Evan

      I’ve been thinking about this article a bit recently, as politics could be a big source of mobile advertising revenue in the near for UIs, something like jQtouch?

  8. Bora Celik

    Fred, we were using Flurry for our app Whatser but removed it from the code about a month ago due to Apple’s new restrictions about third party analytics tools. Has there been new developments on that front where it is now ok to use Flurry in iPhone apps again?

    1. fredwilson

      I believe apple has backed off on that as a result of feedback from themarket. I will check on that

      1. gyardley

        There never was any explicit ‘all clear’ announcement but applications using Flurry (and other analytics tools) continue to be approved.I understad a *lot* of publishers were very vocal about their need for analytics tools.

  9. tylernol

    flash on a website for a mobile analytics company? BOO!

    1. fredwilson

      flash disallowed on a mobile device? BOO

  10. ShanaC

    so who here thinks that mobile development will end up merging more closely with web development, and the analytics behind them will also merge as web apps actually get extremely powerful? (can’t be just me)

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Yes it will…the question is when. You have to get thru all of the issues concerning pathways of exchange and so on. If the avg customer has all they care about primarily around them on the street and in every other room where the ‘tower’ isn’t, they will pull it up from mobile.

  11. kenberger

    At East Agile, we do a lot of deep custom analytics work for mobile (ngmoco for example), just as we do a lot of dashboarding and instrumentation beyond what Google provides.We’ll check out Flurry and see what wheels it might help us not to re-invent. Looking fwd to it.

    1. ShanaC

      I didn’t realize you knew the ngmoco people. They’re interesting as a company

      1. kenberger

        Sure are. And they got acquired nicely, in no small part due to superior analytics about their business.

  12. Martin De Saulles

    I wouldn’t argue that mobile is the future but what about the Google/Verizon proposal for network neutrality for fixed internet providers but not so for mobile networks offering internet access? If this is taken up isn’t there a real danger of stifling innovation and creativity in the mobile space?

  13. Shyam Subramanyan

    Another thing that’s missing in most mobile apps is some kind of quick interactive survey/ feedback mechanism. I am not talking about an email or a long form, but quick yes/no and short hand feature requests. Very few people go to the mobile store to rate, review, and request for features there.

  14. Neil Jain

    We are using flurry analytics for our android application. Amazing service covers a lot of ground.

  15. Dave Pinsen

    It seems as if users are less willing to pay for mobile apps than web apps. Granted, I have no idea how to market a mobile app.

    1. Fernando Gutierrez

      I haven’t marketed any mobile app, but as a user I would have thoughtthat the contrary was true… Web apps tend to work on a subscriptionbasis, while mobile apps are mostly a one time payment. Maybe mostpeople don’t think as me, but I find it easier to make a one timepayment than to subscrite to anything. The mental justification I givemyself is something like “it’s just like a coffe, an ice cream or alunch”, whereas when subscribing I tend to annualize the cost and itcan get helfty ($588/years sounds much worse than $49/month for thecheapest Basecamp plan).

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Here are some numbers for you. The iPhone version of Portfolio Armor had 11 downloads at .99 cents each, before I raised the price to $28.99 on Sunday. No sales since then. There are two web app versions of Portfolio Armor — one for individual investors with a subscription price of $24 per month, and the other for financial professionals at $28 per month. There’s also a limited-use, free trial version of Portfolio Armor there. They all went on the shelf in Seeking Alpha’s new investing app store last week, and you can see how many users there are at each price point at SA’s investing app store site.Granted, you’re not competing with 150k+ apps in SA’s app store, as you are in Apple’s app store.

        1. Tereza

          That’s an odd price.I would think about bundling that Pro app with some other access/service on the website too. So it’s not so succinctly Mobile vs. Web.I think your broader message should be: it’s a premium solution across devices.When the price is stand-alone and then it’s been changed around it loses integrity so the consumer is skeptical.

          1. Tereza

            …and Dave you know I say all that with the utmost love and respect. Just wanted you to have my 2c.Also are you promoting it effectively on your site?What % of your existing customers have iPhones? What’s your addressable market? All the finance folks I know are Blackberry people…but I could be wrong. Could you survey your existing customers?Also i wonder if thru your app your existing customers could invite other people they know into Portfolio Armor?

          2. Dave Pinsen

            No worries, I’m grateful for your feedback.Am I promoting the mobile app effectively on my site? Maybe not. But I probably don’t have enough traffic on my blog to make much of a difference anyway.Not sure what percentage of my current customers have iPhones, but I wouldn’t want to cannibalize them with the mobile app anyway.Good point re Blackberry versus iPhone WRT finance types. The reason I had the app developed for the iPhone first is because I got a competitive price for that. Developing the mobile app was really a roll of the dice on a contest — if PA won, it would have gotten advertised on a Jumbotron in Times Square. Didn’t really have a Plan B for marketing the mobile app.The best scenario would probably be to license the mobile app to a brokerage company that would offer it free with an ad for its site embedded.

          3. Dave Pinsen

            Could be.Not sure how you could bundle web apps with an iPhone app — iPhone apps get sold through Apple’s iTunes store; web apps get sold on the web.

          4. Fernando Gutierrez

            Hadn’t seen the last comments when I wrote my previous one. Check Remember The Milk. Their app is free, but some features are locked for their premium subscribers. I’m not sure how they do it, but maybe you could write them and find out.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            Will take a look, thanks for the suggestion.

          6. Tereza

            You could make it free by by-invitation-only and predicated on the purchase of your higher-level service from the website.Or, vice-versa. If they join you via the premium app it generates a certain type of membership code which gives them exclusive access to certain functionality on the website.Sumpin like dat

          7. Dave Pinsen

            I wonder if paid/premium mobile apps are simply a dead end. But it could just be that I have no idea how to market one. Is Honestly Now’s mobile app going to be a paid one? If so, and if you’re able to sell it successfully, maybe I could pick up some tips from you. Separately, if you’re not following Cheryl Saban on Twitter yet, I would if I were you. I don’t follow her, but James Robinson III (VC, former Amex CEO) retweeted one of her tweets today, and I know who she is. She is the wife of the billionaire impresario of mindless kid TV Haim Saban. She’s also interested in philanthropy & women’s issues. Someone like her would make a great seed investor in your XX Combinator idea. Which I still think should be on your front-burner, instead of your start-up (better to be selling picks & shovels to prospectors than to be panning for gold yourself), but you already know my opinion on that.

          8. Tereza

            I’m happy to share with you, offline, the way we’re configuring our user/basic pro/paid pro product.Do you know Cheryl personally?

          9. Dave Pinsen

            Sure, shoot me an e-mail about your configuration plans, or contact me via this form.No, I don’t know Cheryl personally. But she has fewer than 1,000 followers on Twitter, so it might be easier to get her attention via that medium than it normally would be for someone of her prominence/status. You know what would probably be up her alley? Bpeace, which you should get involved with anyway. It’s a charity founded by businesswomen that cultivates women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda. Based in NYC. Connect first on the female philanthropy angle, and a business pitch down the road will be a warm one.

        2. Fernando Gutierrez

          Wow, that’s transparency! some thoughts intended to help, I hope you don’t mind:I’m no expert about hedging investments, but I would believe that’s an activity that most people will take very seriously if they do it. I know iPhone apps are great, but I’m not sure I wanna be deciding that kind of things while waiting in Starbucks. And if I’m not gonna be doing it in mobility then I would prefer the desktop version because I probably believe it to be more powerful (I don’t know if that’s actually true, but my perception is that mobile is less powerful, so it’s my truth).Your product is not generic. It’s extremely specific. You need to find the users with those extremely specific needs. And that’s quite difficult in such a generic place as the app store where you are competing with farting apps.I’d give the app away to your subscriptors. Make it a feature for the premiums, just as services as Remember The Milk do.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            I agree — it’s not something I’d do waiting in Starbucks either. Mobile isn’t less powerful, but it’s stripped-down, by necessity, as there isn’t space to offer all the features you can offer in a web app (e.g., in this case, the ability to save and track positions).

  16. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Would be interested to learn more about the ‘stickiness’ of Mobile Apps vs ‘traditional’ Web Pages/Apps.Also, when we are all increasingly Mobile App centric, whither SEO….?

  17. Brandon Schulz

    Fred, what is the rationale for mobile surpassing web in usage? Wouldn’t it be more likely to say that both will increase, as internet usage will continue to increase. I like the notion of more mobile usage. Certainly there is an argument for utilitiy and portability as the technology grows, but I’m curious to hear what you think the deciding factor will be.”But think about apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Yelp. I can see all of these services having more usage on mobile than web in the not too distant future.””Ecommerce will be affected. Streaming media will be affected. News will be affected. Etc. Etc.”What will cause the migration of mobile “surpassing web”, other than the fact that your two portfolio companies you referenced are mostly mobile apps, i.e. foursquare and instagram?

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      Don’t think so much in the present where the tower in your room has all the storage compared to the phone, for the phone expands to tablet/television and their having access to the cloud where items can be stored, pulled down and so on.

  18. paramendra

    Mobile web plus, the plus being the big screen web.

  19. HowieG

    I agree and disagree with you Fred. I got my first Smart Phone Droid2 in August. I have started using these Apps. But the small screen and buttons means stripped down functionality. The question is this due to small screen limitations or technology issues. The first can not be fixed (except with Tablets) the second obviously can be fixed as evolution takes place.I think we are going to lead dual lives. Twitter is ridiculously more function on my laptop. I can manage several accounts at once. But I use Twitter mobile when out and about uploading photos or making comments about what I am seeing. I can’t do the photo uploads in transit on my laptop. I can’t manage several Twitter feeds (personal and work) on my phone (I can manage one and not fully functional)

  20. William Mougayar

    There is definitely a new measurement paradigm relating to mobile analytics.Flurry’s CEO is a friend, therefore I feel conflicted saying anymore.

  21. agorimorgan

    I had to leave that part of the journey Win7 native Mac in my original post. I tried VMWare, but still full of bugs and memory hog. I love all the designs for Mac and quiet, but does not seem to get away from Windows. Maybe one day Steve opened his splendidMotorcycle Parts

  22. Dave W Baldwin

    I missed this one yesterday. Great post and intense ‘back and forth’…a lot having to do with Harry DeMott.It is not so much the issue of the tower vs. the mobile. These two sides will merge in a fast time frame. It will take the tech that can ‘sort’ items from the customer’s direct viewpoint (contacts, calendars and apps) along with breaking it down to ‘sort’ to the particular vault, either in the device or cloud.That leads to David Pinsen. Hang in there. You need ‘stickiness’ either thru the bigger functions of your service being in the tower with alerts sent to the mobile…or the app being a part of another. Since your market is for those that take investment seriously, I’d look at the former…and that may require a transition strategy.

  23. Si Chen

    I’m a newbie (moving from web to mobile?) So may I ask a basic question? What is the appeal of writing a native iPhone/Android app versus building a mobile site with HTML for mobile Safari? It seems to me the native app would be more costly to build and less likely to be used, because the user would have to download and install it first.

    1. fredwilson

      right now users seem to prefer apps

      1. David Harper

        @ Si Chen and @fredwilson concerning appeal of a mobile Wep App vs Native App.On PercentMobile’s blog we recently added this to the conversation…Are Mobile Apps Derailing Your Social Media Strategy?“Jessica is on her phone and sees an interesting tweet from a friend with a link to MTV. But when she clicks on it, she’s taken to a crappy, unoptimized web site, not the shiny app MTV she just installed.”Social media giants Twitter and Facebook are deeply embedded in today’s mobile ecosystem through SMS, Mobile Sites, Apps/Widgets and OS level integration such as on the INQ1. They are imperative for marketing efforts of big brands. Messages in the stream often consist of a text message accompanied by a short URL linking to media on the web. URLs are always opened in the device’s main browser or an embedded browser in some twitter apps. URLs cannot be used to open applications, even if an application with the content is installed on the device. As such, the mobile browser is central to consume information pushed through social networks on mobile devices.Neglecting the Mobile Web for a native App can thwart your Social Media Strategy.Mobile Web and Social Media form a synergistic relationship. A brand that understands this will direct efforts to appear as best as possible on all major mobile web browsers. The contradiction we have been noticing is that there are brands with a large social network following, but no mobile compatible URLs, due to their efforts going solely towards mobile application development. Take MTV for example, with close to 900,000 followers on Twitter and close to 10,000 tweets. They also have a popular application on the Apple App Store. The trouble is that none of their links are mobilized. Any URL in their tweets brings you to a Web site solely designed for the desktop Web with a high reliance on Adobe Flash which is not compatible or does not work well on many mobile devices.MTV is just one example that illustrates the need for brands to support their social efforts with an excellent, connected mobile Web experience.

  24. Prakash

    Mobile First, Web second is my favorite pitch line to my clients. Then I quote the research that states that access to the internet from a mobile device will outnumber that from a desktop.It is true that monetization on the mobile is easier than compared to the web. Facebook took years to understand how to monetize whereas a simple game on the app store is priced at $.99 and is monetized from day one. Users are more used to paying on the mobile as compared to the web.

  25. Fernando Gutierrez

    Another reason to switch to Android! I use Launchy on Windows to launch anyapp and forgot about sorting them in any way since (you can do that in Vistaand Windows 7 from the start menu, but I find that Launchy gets faster whatI want to open).