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If the Shoe Fits: A Dose of Reality

by Arthur Bart-Williams

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mArthur Bart-Williams recently shared the story of his startup on Entrepreneur Thursday. He’s back today to share insights he got while attending a major Valley conference on innovation—insights to both the industry and his own path, so listen up and if the shoe fits…

You Can’t Get  Where You’re Going if You Don’t Know Where You Are

by Arthur Bart-Williams

First a little background, I’m a serial technology entrepreneur working on my fourth company.  My first one, ViaNovus, was around for over 12 years and had two incarnations before being acquired, and I’ve been working on the most recent one, Canogle, for almost two years.

I’m passionate about startups, consider myself to be a student of the process, and am very familiar with the entrepreneurial roller coaster ride.  And although I’ve done all of this while living in the Bay Area, I’ve never delved into the Silicon Valley culture and consider myself an outsider.

Thanks to some prodding I’ve started carving out time to spend at events around the Valley and attended the AlwaysOn 10th Annual Innovation Summit in Mountain View this week.

It was definitely worth the time, with great exposure to impressive people and relevant conversations, but I was surprised at how overwhelmed I felt.

At first I thought it must have been from the volume of information that was presented and discussed, but after some reflection I’m clear that it was from the realization that as hard as I’ve been working I’ve still got a steep hill to climb that seems taller than Mount Everest in order to achieve the success that I want.

It’s going to take a whole lot more than I thought to make the annual AlwaysOn Global 250 list.  While depressing at first, it helps to know where you are on whatever journey you’re on.

I’ve always done a decent job at getting out of the building for customer development; now I’m getting an appreciation of doing it for company development.

That said, here are a few takeaways from the conference:

  • Surprise, the future of media for consumers is mobile (an over $50 Billion market), but it is also transforming the user experience of applications in large enterprises as they compete and cater to a younger workforce.
  • Brands, businesses and organizations need to be educated on how to use mobile and social platforms effectively.   The shift from the web to mobile is as significant as from radio to TV, and the code is yet to be cracked.
  • A next phase in mobile development is a consolidation of the hundreds of thousands of apps that compete for users’ attention along with an emphasis on hyper-localization, contextual relevance of marketing and facilitating instant actions.

I’ll be happy to respond to any thoughts or questions you have, so don’t hesitate to share them in the comments.

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