Another year is upon us as we now enter a new decade. In October 1999 I founded mobileStorm and by August of 2000 we officially incorporated. Those days were interesting, we took any job we could to keep the company going. We even took a job installing a wireless network in someone’s house. There was only 802.11 B back then and it was very tough trying to get a signal to the whole house. We must have been there for the entire day. I know what were we thinking? I guess my reasoning is that it was mobile so at least it was somewhat focused. Sounds like we should have been working at the Geek Squad.
Back then we were 100% service driven; somewhere along the way I realized that we need to create a product that we can sell over and over again. This is the only thing I knew would keep us around for a long time. We didn’t really start picking up steam till we released Stun! 2.0 (now called mobileStorm, check out the waybackmachine). You could come to the site, sign up for our service, upload a database and create a campaign. We focused first on email since that was really taking off and we could barely get anyone to pay for text messaging. We took off in the nightlife industry and became the dominate player within a year. We went from making $25,000 per month (starting at $0 each month) to making $100,000 repeatedly very quickly. We knew we had something important on our hands so we started to hire friends and family, the only people we could trust to give us 100% and take as little as possible.
I have been waiting for a long time for the “Year of Mobile” to be upon us. Every new year for the past 5 years people have said, “next year is the year of mobile for sure”. However the year would come and go and decided not to take mobile with it. I always thought the year of mobile meant an explosion in mobile services, applications and products. Sure one year ringtones went crazy and the next year video games were all the rage, but mobile still didn’t have that massive consumer adoption that everyone wanted to see to officially declare it the “year of mobile”. However my friends I think it is pretty safe to say 2010 is the official year. Why? Well for the most part we needed to have a fast mobile network to fully recognize mobile’s potential. 3G is here and in a big way. Heck Sprint has a 4G network. Because of the fast speeds a little company named Apple developed the iphone and just two weeks ago it was officially announced as the most popular device. As a result of how amazing this device is you are seeing lots of innovation. The innovation has sparked consumers to buy the device and other companies seeing how much money is being made are jumping into the smart phone game (i.e. Google).
2009 was certainly the first big year businesses spent money on SMS services. We feel this trend will continue and a lot of companies will embrace SMS as another important channel and not just part of their experimental budget. We also believe MMS is going to start to gain some traction. Two weeks ago AT&T just launched the largest MMS campaign. I think carriers will start to educate consumers more on how to use this and the cost will come down. Do we need to support this? Yes, but don’t ask when. More important than MMS, LBS or Location Based Services, will really start to take shape. Currently LBS is great for social networks and “checking in” so your friends know where you are. Moving forward it seems that the carriers are finally getting over their privacy concerns (or feel they can manage them better) and are allowing LBS for commercial use. It’s all finally happening, and what a wonderful thing to watch go down after so many years of waiting and wondering.
So as you start to think about what you want to accomplish in 2010, smile because its our year, the year of mobile.