Video Of The Week: Mobile To The Future

Kevin Marshall sent me a link to this talk that Luke Wroblewski did at Google last year.

I watched it on my family room TV via Chromecast yesterday and was taken with a bunch of the big points he makes in it. It does get a little long in the tooth in the last thirty minutes but the first thirty to forty minutes are great.


Comments (Archived):

  1. falicon

    awesome and agree that it was a bit longer than needed, but I thought the idea of a media shift (and some of his supporting data points) at the start was such a great way to think about stuff that I was hooked for the whole thing 🙂

    1. fredwilson


  2. William Mougayar

    Poking fun at the “LinkedIn Mobile” experience was a great example of the dilemma many companies face: if they went totally/natively mobile, it would cannibalize their desktop business.If you’re not mobile first, you’ve probably got an innovators dilemma situation for going mobile, from desktop.

    1. awaldstein

      You touched a few of my buttons here my friend.Cannibalization of your channels is a GOOD thing. A positive indicator when it happens. You know you are doing something right when indeed channels start to collide a bit.Are you saying that everything should be mobile first? Not true in my opinion in the real world.

      1. William Mougayar

        Cannibalization is good, if you have the guts to do it of course. I’m with you there, and have always said “It’s better to shoot yourself in the foot, instead of having someone else shoot you in the head.”Back to the other point, the caveat emptor is “IF mobile makes sense to you”.

        1. awaldstein

          If you don’t have the smarts/guts to listen to your market, it will simply move on over time.

    2. falicon

      I think this is fundamentally wrong though…it’s not about desktop/web vs. mobile…it’s about seemless integration of both.You don’t stop advertising on radio just because TV came out (unless your budget is so small that you must pick one – but that’s a different beast around entry to market)…you work out a plan to take advantage of the strengths of each medium.I think really that’s the whole point of what Luke was getting at. Mobile is a whole new channel…you can map old concepts to it, but it also comes with a bunch of new concepts you can/should take advantage of.Everyone should be thinking about what tasks/features/experiences make sense to remain in the desktop/web world and what tasks/features/experiences now make sense or are possible in the mobile world…and they should *compliment* each other.BTW (and shameless plug) – this is fundamental to how we are building stuff with Coach Wizard…it’s one product that has different experiences/features depending what device/context you are engaging it with…

      1. William Mougayar

        I’m with you, but not all companies think that way. Many see it as desktop vs mobile.

      2. awaldstein

        True–but you can’t build everything at the same time.Which are you building first?

        1. LE

          As a gross generality it can sometimes pay to do marketing on a parallel basis instead of in serial. Marketing results that are low hanging fruit tend to show up pretty quickly so you are more able to allocate dollars to something that appears to be working from something that isn’t (until more resources are available). This is guerilla stuff not sure it would be the same for large corporations. If you are starting up guess what you will probably be doing?Attached is what large companies do. I got this by Fedex overnight. To me it’s a total waste and fail. Something made up after taking an MBA level course in marketing. I can’t imagine the money and time they wasted in meetings and creative coming up with this. (By the way most of the market is controlled by less than 5 players..)For all this I would have thought that they would have personalized it with at least my name.

          1. awaldstein

            You should guest post on domains here and lead a discussion.They are important but so much less so an fading all the time.Many of us built businesses on natural search in the 90s, no one does now. Almost everyone has seen natural search reduced in traffic by 30-60%.Your domain can help but it is not a major contributor to success in my opinion.Times change. Mobile has intensified that change.My thoughts–you I”m sure have many on this.

          2. LE

            I’m not sure how someone really defines “less important” though.I had my best year ever in 2013 and 2nd best was 2012. People part with money to get a name that they feel they need. Even if you take out my ability to get the buyers to part with their money. I even sold to some resellers which I never do because of their offers. They have the pulse of the market as well. If they didn’t feel positive they wouldn’t have purchased from me at those prices.Not only that but there are people who have dumped a ton of money into the new gTLD’s…It was very expensive to go through the process of getting one of these and at the risk of being proven wrong I don’t see the opportunity that others see here. I am not bullish on this based on what I know about customers.Your domain can help but it is not a major contributor to success in my opinion. This totally depends on your product, the domain, the price of the domain etc. [1]You really can’t separate those and say “not a major contributor”. I got early press mention next to really large companies as a result of a domain that I owned. Because I was perceived as larger than I was at the time. And of course the effort I put in to get on the press radar.To me naming is really important. Period. Did the name “Madonna” help with her career vs. if she was simply “Louise Ciccone”? Of course it did. Can you come up with examples of superstars that didn’t have names like this? Sure Michael Jackson. But you need every advantage you can afford it’s that simple.I mean in business people fight over getting eye level shelf space for their product. For sure it doesn’t matter for all products only in some situations and only depending on what the cost of that shelf space is. (Or take a booth at a tradeshow or a million other examples).[1] For example I gave you a short list of typos you should have for which would cost you only the reg fee. There is no question at the reg fee price you should register them. You are talking about $12 per name (if you use one of my competitors.) It’s a no brainer to me.

          3. awaldstein

            I’m not saying you aren’t a maven nor that the market isn’t there as the product becomes scarcer.I’m saying that SEO is plummeting in value, still important but less so consistently and domains are not a huge determinant of business or brand success.

          4. LE

            I’m saying that SEO is plummeting in valueI never liked SEO at all. Even when it was the thing to do.Never wanted to build a business on something that was essentially playing games where you build up and one day it could end and is so arbitrary. Because you build an organization on shaky ground (where you have overhead and expenses) and then when things end you are saddled with costs that you can’t get rid of. Of course all business involves risks but this one always bothered me from the start at the core.I like things that you have either more control over or some barrier to others getting in the game. Or something that you know that others don’t. SEO fails on several fronts to me.My thing is more “what unique advantage do you have over the other guy or why won’t the other guy follow your strategy”?For example you/Luli could get a big contract with luli at some big chain and then you will have to make a decision as to whether to invest money to support that contract. Otoh if you are doing deliveries to a bunch of small places you are more secure investing forward.There are always exceptions to any of this of course depending on the specific or the circumstances.

          5. sigmaalgebra

            I give up. You win. When I go for adomain name it will be “I’m not goingto pay a lot for a domain name”!

          6. awaldstein

            As a rule yes but its situational honestly.A number of years ago, a client, with my recommendation bought a shell of a company mostly for its domain.In this instance it made a lot of sense, drove results and was really pricey.As a rule no, knowing when the rule is wrong is where experience plays into it.

          7. sigmaalgebra

            > As a rule yes but its situational honestly.I can believe that.But your post got me to think again: I still hadbetween my ears the old straining that just theright domain name was really crucial and it wasworth paying big bucks to domain name squatters,etc. Sure, for ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, NYT, etc.that old straining was and likely remains corrector, anyway, a sufficient excuse to spend big bucks.But for something new, e.g., my project, we canthink again:A theme is how the heck do we find things on theInternet?To skip to the bottom line lesson, there are a lotof ‘name translations’, so many via so many meansthat in the end the actual domain name nearly nevergets typed in by a user, thus, is usually not muchnoticed by a user and not very important. Indeed,often we are willing to use the gibberish shortenednames of Bitly.One of reasons I want to say with my desktop systemis that I want to keep and not reprogram some of thegood tools I have developed for finding what I wanton the Internet while nearly never typing a domainname or even paying much attention to one.E.g., the login problems described in the video areno more than meager problems for me unless the Website programming is so messed up there is littlehope anyway.

          8. awaldstein

            Yup–as off and online fades. As every offline, needs a web scheduling system. As every online needs a terrestrial presence to connect and build brand, how things sound are more critical than how they are spelled.Brave new (wonderful) world.

          9. Chris Donnelly

            location location location. $1,000,000.00

        2. falicon

          In our case, the MVP is about helping coaches build and share practice plans (i.e. the prep work for coaching)…we think you do *most* of that via desktop right now (but you want to tweak and manipulate it in-real time when you are actually at practice and that’s mobile).Our initial audience is also towards the back or middle of the tech. adoption curve…so while they all have mobile, they aren’t always thinking mobile first themselves (yet – but it’s coming soon). We need to be there as they move into it, with tools that make sense and are *simple* (we have a LONG way to get there from here).Finally our founding team is more experienced in rapidly building out the web part of the system…so it’s the easiest way for us to get a product and some traction built out of the gate (mobile is going to take us longer and cost us more — given our starting point [no real cash-o-la] we need to bootstrap towards it).So – we are building web first…but we are thinking and planning for the deep mobile experience as well (everything we are building on the web now is being built/thought of as “how will this interact with our mobile experience”)….def. a learning process though…

          1. awaldstein

            Thanks for sharing this.Actually I bet you can go a long way just with the tablet market, forgetting the phone honestly.

          2. falicon

            I agree – we are actually thinking of them as three experiences…web, tablet, and phone…ideally each is going to offer something a little different than the others (because the user is in a different frame of mind when using each — emotional and mental state will drive it more than just what the ‘tech’ allows for in our case)

          3. awaldstein

            If you don’t get to phone for a while I don’t think it will matter that much.

          4. falicon

            There are a few really important things fairly unique to the phone experiance though…for example it’s a great stop watch…and hopefully rare but sometimes you need emergency contact info for/about a kid (or just to call about pick up after practice is over)…These are all less useful/likely in the other hardware modes…I could go on (and on and on) =)

          5. Andrew Kennedy

            I agree with you. tablet market feels like the right place for this.

          6. awaldstein

            Tablets are the workhorses for remote apps for certain.b2b lives on tablets with ease.

      3. LE

        That’s who did the graphics?One thing I would add right there on the home page is that it’s free.That is I’m assuming it’s free.And if it’s not free there should be a “pricing” page that gives the pricing (up at the top) where it can be easily found.If it’s free the “pricing” graphic should just rotate between “pricing” “It’s FREE!”.I see you’ve owned that domain since at least 2007 and possibly since 2002 (if you were the original registrant).That’s a really good domain. I would put that in a top 500 list if I had a top 500 list.

        1. falicon

          Thanks – yes have owned it from 2002 (along with draftwizard and leaguewizard as part of the general theme I was thinking about at the time)…been sitting on the basic idea since then as well (needed to get more parent/life exp. before I could start to execute on it).Great point about free – it is free. I need to update that for sure.

          1. LE

            Suggest you design and sell a nifty multi color “coach wizard” cap (with stylized print (like the “brooklyn dodgers”) but first send it for free to some coaches and get them to send you back a picture with them wearing the cap at the field. Social proof on the website.Total cost of perhaps <$1000 maybe even less.

          2. falicon

            I like and may use a version of that idea! The founding team is 4 and as a team we have a number of connections to former professional athletes and coaches (so we are going to be working that endorsement/spokesman angle quite a bit in these early days) =)For the graphic…I’ve been sitting on that for a *really* long time too (they same guy did my Draftwizard graphic back in the day)…I had spent a lot of time trying to get a basic version started back then but quickly hit a lot of ‘entry’, ‘education’, and ‘tech’ problems that made it clear it the timing was off and so I pushed it to the background and just sat on it all.Even after I put the coach product on hold way back then – I did end up using the coach graphic in some old print ads for the Draftwizard product (gotta get value for things you pay for one way or another — and just like each of my tech projects lead to the next; I’ll always re-use/re-purpose all my assets as much as possible).Anyway it wasn’t until last year as I finally decided that as much as I like it wasn’t a business I really wanted to build…that I stepped back and thought about what business do I *really* want to build…and the answer was this Coach Wizard idea that had been on the back burner for 10+ years (and in dusting it off I came to realize how great the timing for it, and for me, actually is right now).

          3. awaldstein

            Be careful…Free is not always a good price. It’s product and situational tied.Free is only powerful depending on where your revenue model is.

          4. falicon

            Agree and have learned that the hard way (and one too many times!).We have plans for lots of possible revenue streams (as we hit various scale)…but the initial one is actually super simple, can be implemented and start working from day one, and is a value-add to all the parties who will be involved in the system…which is *very* exciting!It might not be the long term solution to revenue (in fact it most certainly is just a tiny fraction of the revenue plan long term)…but it’s a great way to start and help *everything* get off the ground.How we will and won’t make money is actually one of the core values we’re building the company around ->

      4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        +1 for “…and they should *compliment* each other.”…channels they are….and … nothing more.

  3. Jorge M. Torres

    Good stuff. Luke thinks deeply about login and authentication (and other mobile design issues, I’m sure). The LinkedIn experience on mobile drives me to distraction. Can’t wait until the mobile experience shifts to biometric authentication or some other next gen technology.

    1. Matt Zagaja

      Having someone send a link to LinkedIn on a mobile device is the worst. You can’t get to the real site, it’s just an overlay asking you to download the app. I never use it on mobile.


    Loved the video. It so crazy to see just how fast the world revolutionized with mobile. Every where you go nowadays you are bound to see at least 5 people on their phone. It really is insane just how people have became so caught up in their mobile devices.

  5. Matt Zagaja

    Queue’d up for watching when I work out later. On a completely unrelated note, I’ve been reading Hatching Twitter and it was interesting to read about how years ago they had the debate about mobile v. web and how the adoption of SMS spurred adoption since most people were using RAZR phones. It seems like the twitter team was a bit ahead of their time and then hacked their way backwards.

    1. fredwilson

      Exactly. Also an Ev Jack thing. Jack is very mobile centric while Ev is very web centric

  6. Dave W Baldwin

    Thanks for link, hope to find time later to watch. Through different media channels over that past couple months, Google has shown thier intended reach to be truly wide. Latest is this regarding Google teaming with NASA to develop Quantum Computing. That matched with more clarity on what is probably intended with the hiring of Kurzweil almost dwarfs some of your earlier shared worries about how far reaching Google intends to be.

  7. Brad Dickason

    Really glad you posted this, it’s one of my favorite videos from last year. Of all the users I follow on Twitter, I’d say @lukew provides consistently great links and commentary, all of it dealing with mobile and multi-device problems:

    1. fredwilson

      He is awesome

  8. Luke Wroblewski

    Thanks for the link. PDF of the slides and some shorter (less snarky 🙂 video versions can be found here if anyone wants ’em:…n-joy.

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      great job

    2. Matt Zagaja

      Thanks Luke I enjoyed it. I think you managed to put a lot of data and thought into the problems that I’ve seen many “normal” people experience using mobile devices, and even some of the frustrations I’ve been having. I thought the credit card trick was especially cool. I start a new job on Monday and am going to try and see if I can get the people there to apply some of these lessons.

    3. Richard

      Do you examples of alternatives to the dreaded drop down box?

  9. markslater

    for us the single biggest opportunity is this.The history of the web and PPC – the inherent form factor of the web actually – meant that businesses were less discriminating when it came to allowing users to click through multiple destinations to complete a task. Huge businesses were built in the PPC model – and still operate that way today on the web. If you sat in the lead-gen flow – you happily took crumbs off the monetization plate with little or no regard for user ownership and experience.Enter mobile……Its simply not practical for users to hop between destinations in the same way that they do on the web – there are massive challenges with this flow from user interface, credentialing, form factor compatibility and not to mention payments point-of-view (one site is mobile optimized, next hop is not etc)We believe that this presents a massive opportunity for a restful API that allows the user to stay within one interface on their phone. The inventory service providers should not require that users “visit” their destination to complete the transaction – the user should be able to complete the intended action with their origination interface by leveraging a restful API layer that attributes the destination site without loss of user experience through multi-hopping.Inventory providers in travel, local services booking, ordering, transport (yes transport like uber and hailo) should open up these API’s to prepare for the mobile only future. Some already are in the local services, and ordering space.Kayak online is a transaction experience – go ahead and try and book a united flight from the mobile app.Our CTO is penning a long opinion piece on this and i’d be happy to share with anyone here if there is interest.

    1. awaldstein

      I’m interested.

  10. Isla Edouard

    I viewed it on my living space TV via Chromecast last night and was taken with a lot of the big factors he creates in it. It does get a little lengthy in the teeth in the last a half-hour but the first 30 to 40 moments are excellent.Spybubble Gratis