My partners and I hosted a CEO Dinner this evening in SF on Mobile Commerce & Community. We had a terrific crowd of about 30 CEOs in attendance from some of the top companies in the mobile arena. Sam Shank of HotelTonight and Sarah Friar of Square were our guest speakers and there was lively conversation among the group.
Some highlights include:
- Big companies tend to get created during platform shifts – mobile is a big platform shift so the opportunity is there to create new disruptors
- Being mobile presents different challenges to the business – need to be much more real time in how you support your customers, design is key as well – focus on simple and make it easy (you have a smaller canvas to work with so treat designers like engineers – pay and recruit the best), analytics – get lots of info from mobile to use as signals
- Dealing with big companies as investors and/or threats – it’s very human when you take money from a strategic; whatever value you get will come from working hard for it; focus on your business and it’s key drivers; best antidote for competition
- Going international – embed marketing in your local teams when you move into new countries. Every country is different. Local teams will know what’s best and be most agile. Be mindful which countries you enter first – A/B test what u need to change in each country. Get the local country manager right. Know which processes will stay centralized and which need to be local.
- Going vertical vs horizontal. Uber – great example of a vertical focused on transportation. A good place to partner is when you’re adding vertical expertise (try before you buy as well). Horizontal can be bigger than vertical over time however.
- Growth in a mobile company – figure out and relentlessly manage what drives the co-efficient of growth
- Product quality matters much more on mobile than on web. Product ratings and App Store rankings are so key. This is good news for start ups. Big companies can’t just spend money to compete
- Women are more likely to be early adopters of new technology [note – approximately 50% of the attendees at the dinner are women]
- As an executive, when you join a board you force yourself into a constrained situation – can help achieve serendipity and spur creativity in your day job
- Bonus Inside Baseball comment: “Get a 6 year old or Apple to say something if you really want your employees to listen!”
Thanks to all who participated. This was a very high quality session.