I was having a bad dream, except it was real. The year is 2012. I am standing in front of a room full of people, presenting a mobile strategy for their enterprise. Yes ~ I was wearing my pants. That wasn’t the problem. It was, rather, a man about my age (mid-50’s), the grey-haired exec, the top dog, el hombre, “the man.” He was shaking his head. “No, no,” he said with a grimace as if he had just chomped down on a crabapple. “That won’t do. Our demographic does not use (Whaddya call ’em?) smart-phones. Them’s for young people.”
Suddenly I was teleported back in time. The year is 1993, and I am an “Internet Evangelist” for IBM. I am standing in front of a room of people (wearing my pants) presenting them with a strategy for leveraging the web. “No, no,” says the grey-haired exec. “Them, whaddya call em? Web sites ~ don’t fit our demographic. Them’s for young people.”
And so it goes. What goes around, comes around.
As with the Internet 30 years ago, there will be too many execs who underestimate the significance of the accelerating migration to mobile, or its impact on their business. And part of their skepticism is frankly justified, considering the #1 app involves flinging furious fowl forward for frivolous fun. But mobile is moving beyond the “Angry Birds” era, through the trough of disillusionment, up the slope of enlightenment, and to the plateau of productivity. Smartphone sales blew past PC sales last year, stalling PC growth, and in March 2012 we crossed a threshold ~ there are now more (whaddya call em?) smart mobile phones in use than dumb ones. We have reached critical mass, and the pace of acceptance will accelerate in 2013.
Of course, if you live in the mobile space you already know this. People are overwhelming in choosing mobile devices to access web services. And even if you aren’t in mobile, it should make sense that they would, if you take the time to think about it. People are naturally mobile and naturally tactile, and they will always migrate towards their nature. That is why we love a thoughtfully designed mobile app, no matter how old we are.
So take a lesson from history: To be unaware of, and unprepared for, the mobile revolution is simply to be unprepared. It’s like showing up for a meeting, well, without your pants. Don’t let it happen to you, or it might become your bad dream.