Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mobile Strategy is a Lot Like Playing Poker

Over the last three years of being in the mobile business, I’ve seen a lot of mobile companies come and go. Someone every day says have you heard of “XYZ Company?” It seems as though someone new is popping up with an idea and investment money every day. And by number of increased phone calls I get on a weekly basis from venture capitalists wanting to invest in mobile, we all know it’s hot, stats are crazy and everybody wants a piece of the pie. I guess I started to realize while flying to the DMA show this week, mobile is very much like the game of poker. This struck me because I’m an avid poker player and I love the game for the challenge, reading people, being creative and winning, and the mobile field is similar in many regards.

So, I started to put myself in the shoes of our client, prospects, and folks we talk to on a daily basis. Several things have become very clear about folks that are thinking about getting into mobile:
  1. They are in “research” mode and they don’t know what they don’t know.
  2. Someone has sold them or they have “tried” on mobile siloes solutions they are selling.
  3. When approaching mobile solutions, the “mobile ecosystem” as a whole is not being thought of.
  4. The database you are trying to build is really an afterthought and not a key focus.
  5. And if you’ve tried mobile before, you are looking for a better second marriage. You know what you want this time, you have goals and you want a good partner, not the “bill of goods”. We love the second time folks; they know a good mobile partner when they see one. These clients usually lead to a life of happily ever after.

So how does mobile strategy remind me of poker? It’s easy.
  • Picking your table is key, if you end up or stay too long at a bad table, you lose all your money. Same is true with mobile, if you pick a bad partner, not only will you be unsuccessful, it leaves a bad taste.
  • It’s ok to switch tables if you know you sat down to a bad table. If you aren’t seeing performance, or the technology is not what it cracked up to be and you aren’t getting mobile strategy support, move. Time is of the essence in mobile you can’t wait 12 months to get a good mobile partner.
  • The guy who wins the most hands is not the guy that wins the most money. Mobile is test and learn, not everything you do is going to be a huge success. Test, learn and repeat the good stuff, adjust the stuff that isn’t working. You need to build a foundation for success, anyone can win one jackpot but try hitting multiple.
  • Don’t play games you don’t understand even if you see others winning by luck. There will always be something new and shiny in mobile. Innovation is good, but enhancing the basics vs. inventing them in mobile builds a foundation for long term success.
  • Learn by playing the game, reading and theory are great but nothing replaces actual experience. Get going: the time is now, pick a great mobile partner and throw in some chips. After all, you don’t have to go “all-in”.

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