The Great MobCon of 2008

Winter 2008

In 2008 we put together a pitch deck exploring the potential of the iPhone for an Australian Telco.

The essential message behind the presentation was Japan had already witnessed the Mobile Convergence (MobCon) revolution. Meanwhile the US was only just waking up to the potential of Mobile Media and Computing. So one only had to observe the Japanese trends (e.g. Social Media, Messaging, Photo Sharing, Mobile Gaming, mCommerce, emojicons etc) to formulate a profitable iPhone/smartphone strategy.

Here is a selection of out takes from that presentation.

7 years on it is interesting to see how well the ideas and the investment forecasts held up.


The economics of Chat/Messaging/Social/games were mature in Japan by 2007. Japanese teenagers were already spending more on mCommerce and virtual goods for chats/games (e.g. Emoji’s, Ring Tones, Games) than the US on eCommerce ARPU. So the data coming out of there provided the blueprint for what was to follow in the West following the release of the iPhone. So there was no need to think strategically about this new market it was just a case of follow the leader. Something FB and Apple apparently did very well. Others less so.

I suspected the only difference between Japan and the West would be in Japan teenagers paid for the experience. While in the West it would be advertising that would sponsored the experience.

Nothing I have seen since has suggested this analysis was wrong.

Fast forward almost almost 10 years and we discover a mature market awash with mobile messaging product. Again no surprise. SMS was always the killer mobile app. Still is when it comes to revenues I suspect. Last time I looked it was bigger than the web economy. But that was a couple of years back.

What has surprised me is that nobody has figured out that chart/messaging is no different to games. In so much as Games developers produce multiple titles (Think Zynga or King or EA or Activision). So why haven’t we seen a generation of chat/messaging development houses creating multiple titles? Self evident the product development and marketing skills required to build and roll out a kik are not that dissimilar to the skills required to roll out a Figure 1. or a YouNow.

What’s more you have an established network of users that you can roll over into the new product. Plus you already have the ad agency and brand contacts to monetize while you scale.

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