Yesterday KPCB partner Mary Meeker once again gave one of her famous talks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. I always look forward to her slides, she has access to amazing data and manages to find great angles to explain her vision of the future. Just reading her slides inspires me to think about where the world – and especially my own businesses – are heading. I embed her presentation above, in case you can’t open it you can also find the presentation here.
Yesterday’s talk focused for a large part on mobile. Mary Meeker is extremely bullish about mobile and I fully agree with her. In my opinion every company has to work on mobile sites and apps in order to stay relevant, not only for the future but now already. Should you make iPad apps or Android? Well, you may hear a lot about Apple iPhone & iPad apps, but Android phones are bigger than the iPhone already (152 million vs. 129 million sold). Of course iOS users are generally more wealthy (Android also offers cheaper handsets), so you should not ignore them, but the real growth will take place with Android. Having an HTML5 solution would be even better of course, something Spil Games has been evangelizing for over a year already.
You can even make good money on mobile devices now, because mobile advertising is taking off and showing huge growth. According to Mary Meeker’s data 250 companies out of the Forbes 1000 launched mobile ad campaigns already! Combine that with the fact that doing micro-payments on a phone is not that difficult and that many people are more willing to pay for mobile content than for PC content (how many apps did you buy on your laptop recently vs. apps on your mobile phone?), and you will see the huge opportunity mobile presents.
Several Internet companies now already see more than half of their traffic coming from mobile devices. Music service Pandora for example, but also Twitter gets more than 50% of its traffic from mobile. Facebook ‘only’ gets 33% of its page views from mobile, but if you realize that this was just 1% 3 years ago you can see the shift that is happening in the market. Did you know that now already more phones and tablets are shipped every year than laptops and desktops?
When you don’t live in the US it is clear that there is a lot of activity happening in the Internet space outside China. But many US companies don’t seem to realize that. It happened so often to me already that I wanted to book a ticket or a hotel room, but that I could not do that without a US address or credit card… Lost opportunities, because I am sure I am not the only one. Luckily Mary Meeker also points this out by sharing with the audience that 81% of users of the top global Internet companies are outside the US. She also pointed out that China added more Internet users in the past 3 years than there are in the whole US of A.
Another interesting part of her presentation is about interfaces. These have transformed from text only in the early 1980s to graphical user interfaces in the 1990s and 2000s. And now touch screens are taking over. My kids already don’t understand why my laptop has no touch screen like their iPads, but very soon they will also not understand why my laptop does not answer when they talk to it. Because according to the presentation online audio might be the next big thing. Apple timed the launch of Siri on the iPhone 4S well it seems, and also Spotify’s integration in Facebook was also at the right moment!
Mary Meeker also talks about some global trends that she sees. One slide has stayed on top of my mind since I read the presentation a couple of hours ago: More people now have access to a wireless signal (85%) than to electricity (80%)! That’s how fast the world is changing. The global information flow is truly global now, and it’s extremely fast (check out her chart on Tweets from Japan 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after the earthquake).
Another great slide is about privacy, a concept that I feel is outdated. I don’t believe in hiding who you are, just like you can’t do that when you live in a small village – and because of the Internet and social networks the world is becoming a big village. More and more you can’t even hide anymore, even if you want to(ever been tagged in a picture on Facebook?).
I want to end this post with what Mary Meeker wrote about this (emphasis added by me), I fully agree with her:
It’s hard to hide. The ‘truth’ is often just a photo/click–send away.
‘Clean, well-lighted place to do business?’ ‘People are basically good?’
In a world with tremendous uncertainty – owing to the rapid ramp in always-on, connected citizens of the world, perhaps, the world is on the cusp of being safer than ever?
There are lots of sacrifices. This is new terrain.
Only time will tell how all this plays out.