by Jessica Powers and David McGee
Wondering what you missed at the biggest mobileX ever? Besides the excellent speakers, a few lucky attendees won Android phones from the AT&T Developer program team as well as another winning an iPad. JP Chance, winner of the pitch contest, went home with $500 in PayPal credits. Most importantly, attendees went home with fresh ideas, relationships started, and a sense of what’s next in mobile.
Brian Wong, twenty years and one day old, capped his week off by delivering the mobileX keynote. His week had begun with the launch of his new VC-backed company, Kiip. Wong talked about what he calls “the emotional startup” -- a company geared at offering something beyond technological sophistication. Kiip is making an effort at bringing the magic of the moment to the gaming ad space, previously devoid of emotional connection. Citing examples of Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment, and Tony Hsieh, author of Delivering Happiness, Brian Wong emphasized that companies must now feel, or die.
One of the crowd-favorite speakers was Josh Bob of textauraunt.com. He spoke about a subject closely related to his business- SMS messaging. The large crowd listening to Mr. Bob learned about how SMS evolved from being a free, unnoticed service to a full-blown necessity for cell phones. Josh Bob wrapped up his presentation showing that the future for SMS could range from voting via your cell phone to multi-player video games. Of course, you can already reserve your place in line via SMS through textaurant.com.
Nihal Mehta, of LocalResponse, encouraged the crowd to think about mobile in terms of customer engagement, as it is an intimate path for brand building, customer acquisition and retention. In a presentation full of the latest numbers, Mehta reinforced that the statistics point to the fact that one day we will all be mobile marketers.
On the technical side, Uki Lucas, of Chicago Android, led beginning android developers in building a firm foundation for app building on the increasingly popular mobile platform. Meanwhile, Sam Soffes, of Scribd, Karim Varela, of AT&T, and Praveen Alavilli, of PayPalX, gave advanced technical presenations on topics ranging from iOS testing, cross-platform development, and in-app payments for Android.
The pitch contest was sponsored by PayPalX. Four different mobile startups each had five minutes, followed by questions from a panel of judges. The judges were Rick Coplin of TechColumbus, Dov Rosenberg of Allos Ventures, and Wright Steenrod of Chrysalis Ventures. The winning pitch was delivered by JP Chance who received $500 PayPal cash.
Those were just some of the highlights from mobileX Lexington 2011. The speaker presentations and panel discussions from the aforementioned, and several others, were recorded. Slides and video can be viewed at: http://mobilexconference.com/lexington2011/talks/. Now we’re just wondering, where will mobileX land next?
By Madison Hamman
I thought it might be a good thing to gather my thoughts from the MobileX conference I spoke at a few weeks ago in Lexington, KY. MobileX is a gathering of mobile startups, investors, idea guys, coders, etc., to talk about lessons learned, how-tos, and what’s next in the mobile space. The event was started in Lexington by Awesome Inc., an incubator/co-work space.
The MobileX conference was fairly successful for all involved. For the hosts, they enjoyed a large crowd, a decent local media flow, and even a few Lexington “big wigs” stopped in. As for the attendees, well they enjoyed some great breakout sessions from Brian Wong, CEO of Kiip.me, Nihal Mehta, CEO of localresponse.com, and Sam Soffees, engineer at Scribd.com. Any person with an ounce of drive in them I’m sure was inspired and fired up to get out of the conference to build something.
Now for the value to me personally – I’ve realized that any time I’m invited to lead a breakout session or speak to other entrepreneurs it forces me to step back and recalibrate my thoughts and attitudes. This helps me make sure I still believe in what we are doing and how we are doing it.
My take away from this engagement was the re-confirmation that being refreshingly transparent about what is and isn’t in your business is key. In the startup world you see some of the best bizdev people you’re ever going to see. Sometimes too good. All too often you see a great speaker with magical points on how to lead people to success. The problem is often time these guys are really exaggerating what really exists in their business. I won’t call them lies exactly so much as exaggerations that lead to disappointment. So is this wrong? I’m not so sure. It is a fine line bizdev people walk.
My solution? I try to be as transparent as possible. For example, during this talk I made it clear that we are not out of the woods yet. Just because you take some form of funding, get media attention, or hire people, doesn’t mean your company is a success. This is another point I like to share with would-be startup guys: what is the end game? In fact, I often ask this of people we hire at Mavizon. If the end game is to raise 10 million in capital then retire as soon as you can – you probably need a wake up call. In “Rework” they call it a commitment strategy. I think it is more of a reality plan. I love to dream as much as the next guy, but if you think retiring on a yacht is the goal you’re nutty. What would these people do on a yacht for the last 70 years of their life?
I like business. It is like a drug. If one business fails, or succeeds, I’m sure everyone at Mavizon will be looking for whats next – and that’s a very cool thing.
As I shared these thoughts at the mobile conference, I wasn’t sure how they would be received from a group of people with dollar signs in their eyes talking to VCs. I was pleasantly surprised when a number of people approached me and wanted to talk. I hope they gained some value from the ideas shared, but the fact is there is no rule book. If anybody had the right answers, we’d have a lot more successful startups. That is about where I ended with the talk, and I’ll do the same with this post – Treat your business like an art. Art doesn’t have rules and neither does startup culture. Even so, everyone seems to know good art when they see it.
By Brian Raney
Thanks to everyone who participated in mobileX Lexington 2011. The event sold 152 tickets at a capacity of 150! Video and presentation content will be available shortly. Below are some pictures from the event.
By Katharine Sagan
Krista Neher is an author, educator, international speaker and consultant, and apparently very efficient at time management. She is the CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which trains companies to use social media for digital marketing. She wrote a bestselling book, Social Media Field Guide, and is the Managing Director of the Institute for Social Media at Cincinnati State. And in her spare time, she managed to teach her father to use text messaging.
Neher started off her career working at both Procter & Gamble and an internet start-up company, Photrade. After transitioning to solely being the VP of Marketing at Photrade, she had to get creative about how to market with almost no budget. By using Twitter and corporate blogging, they were able to compete with the larger companies with bigger marketing budgets.
After the start up was acquired in 2008, Neher started teaching others how to use social media successfully, which was the start of her company Boot Camp Digital. She developed a social media program with Procter & Gamble that is now being modeled across the country and has consulted for companies like ad:tech.
Neher will be attending the MobileX conference to speak on Mobile Marketing 101.
By Jessica Powers
If you’re one of the many who ardently follow apps and recent app news, you are probably familiar with Robert Babcock. Babcock is a co-host of Appcast, which is a weekly podcast that updates listeners on new app releases and the current functionality of specific apps.
Along with Kevin Chiou, the duo have created over 100 episodes in their podcasts in Appcast. Each weekly podcast is available for free. The most recent podcast was about alternate web browsers rather than the standard Safari. Babcock will be attending MobileX to discuss the iOS store and its applications.
By Jessica Powers
What other 21 year-old transplanted San Franciscan is a developer for Scribd, a musician, a burger enthusiast, and an iOS/Rails software engineer? Sam Soffes, originally from Louisville, is all of the above and working towards more.
Soffes did not attend college and says that it was the “best decision ever.” Curiously, Steve Jobs said the same thing about college and has obviously found success in a multitude of diverse of areas. Soffes seems to be heading in the same direction with the success of a few start-up businesses and an iPhone app (“Bible”) that currently has over 8 million downloads.
As far as inspiration, he’s a regular guy: Twitter and other well-crafted apps are what give him inspiration for creativity and development. He claims that great ideas usually find him in the shower or while he is biking to work.
Soffes has produced music that is definitely worth checking out. He is part of the band Finding Chesterfield which released an EP “A Three Day Walk” in October 2010. He also has a few independent works available for free listening pleasure on his blog. As far as music influences and favorites go, his last.fm radio station ranges from Owl City and The Dangerous Summer to Ben Folds and Blink 182.
In a year or two, he plans on starting another company. One can only guess what magnificent results his next endeavor will foster, but with his previous work being of such quality, success is imminent. Soffes will be attending the MobileX conference on April 15, 2011 to present on iOS development and Native Apps.
By Jessica Powers
After several successful MobileX events, Awesome Inc is pleased to host the sixth MobileX conference in Lexington. MobileX is a one-day conference where attendees will engage with a multitude of prominent presenters, examine mobile solutions and learn technical concepts in mobile and related industries. Current and potential entrepreneurs, investors, developers, industry professionals and other mobile followers are invited to attend.
MobileX will begin after breakfast with an opening keynote presentation followed by multi-track sessions. A few examples of the specific breakout sessions are: Android beginners, mobile marketing, social media and advanced technical tracks.
One of the most compelling parts of MobileX is the start up pitch contest. This is an exceptional chance for contestants to concisely advocate any start-up idea or business they may have created related to the mobile sector.
Competitors are allotted five minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges. Afterwards, a three-minute session of Q&A is held with the judges and if time allows, with the audience. Those competing are allowed to use slides or present a demo, but it is not deemed necessary. The judging panel will offer feedback and then the audience will vote via their mobile devices. A combination of judges and audience vote will determine the winner.
The winner will receive a 500 USD prize in PayPal cash. The competition is beneficial to all whom compete because of the constructive feedback and networking opportunities available through the experts convened at MobileX.
The mobile market is skyrocketing at momentous speed. Demand for smart devices such as the Android, iPhone and Blackberry reflect a thriving market. Developers have collectively been able to cash in on this new software delivery platform to the tune of several billion dollars in sales. At the last Apple keynote event on March 2, Steve Jobs announced a payout of two billion dollars to developers for apps sold through the iTunes app store. RIM Blackberry and Google Android devices are used by millions, as well, providing competition and an innovative pace mobile users are enjoying.
MobileX seeks to present information that will enhance overall understanding of the mobile industry. The conference will thoroughly aid in this endeavor by exploring the changes within the mobile industry itself. MobileX will also address the industries that the changes may affect directly.
WHO AND HOW:
MobileX will feature speakers from San Francisco, Boston, NYC, Chicago and Seattle. Among the talented queue of speakers you will hear are Lai Lau of AT&T, Brian Wong of kiip.me, Nihal Mehta of buzzd, Sam Soffes of Scribd, and Praveen Alavilli from PayPalX, plus leaders in mobile marketing, social media, and entrepreneurship. Topics that will be discussed include: how to make money in the mobile arena with special emphasis on apps, advertising, SMS and video. Attending MobileX will give your company invaluable insight on trends in the mobile market as well as upcoming opportunities. Information will be presented on how to integrate mobile technology into a business or launch an application. Developmental tools will also be addressed for platforms such as the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.
WHEN AND WHERE:
348 East Main St.
Lexington, KY 40507
Friday, April 15, 2011
9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.