Dodging the Dot-Com Bullet

Yesterday at the Mobile Media Investor Conference in San Francisco there was a lot of talk about how mobile is being affected by the current economic condition in the world. Two things stood out for me.

First, several panelists during the day said that participation by brands and business in mobile marketing is still growing. Just growing slower than had been predicted before things went south in the economy. As an example, instead of a 10X growth in a particular metric we might only see a 2X growth.

That was very encouraging. Mobile is still growing; just growing slower than we had anticipated.

Another theme shared by many speakers and panelists was that mobile businesses need to stay tightly focused on generating revenue and right now. Advice by James Min of Montgomery & Co., an investment banking firm, included not going too broad with your offerings so that you can own your niche.

During the Case Study: VC & Portfolio Company panel Fern Mandelbaum, Partner at Monitor Ventures and Michael Chang CEO and Founder of Greystripe spoke about watching where every dollar goes and eliminating unnecessary spending in order to keep moving ahead with the core business.

The concept of building a business with all eyes on the bottom line while also providing a valuable experience for your customers was mentioned more than a few times through out the day.

What occurs to me about this is that mobile may have just dodged the dot com bullet. When the Internet started to grow up it was a time of happy, sunny economic times so everyone just spent what they wanted, focused on eyeballs but not revenues and gave no care to being frugal. That mindset lead many down the wrong path and we had the dot com bust.

With mobile right now we are being forced to slow down and do things right. Sure some businesses will still suffer, but those that make it through will not be headed for the bubble. Maybe that is encouraging as well.