Momentum 2013 guests had the privilege of attending our Keep Business Digital Panel discussion.  The panel included internet heavyweights Mary Meeker, a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (aka, the queen of the Internet), Angie Hicks, the Founder and CMO of Angie’s List, and Brian Frank, the Vice President of Global Sales Operations at LinkedIn.  A few themes were discussed by the Keep Business Digital Panel.  They included the growth of mobile, the proliferation of sensing devices and sharing of data, and trust between corporations and their customers.


The Growth of Mobile


“Companies need to go where their customers are … mobile” Mary Meeker


In 2013, the number of mobile connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth.  The mobile market is growing very rapidly.  Growth in the mobile market is also happening in previously unrecognized markets.  Who would have thought twenty years ago that the markets with the most growth would be China, India, Iran, and Russia?

Businesses need to be where their customers are.  They need to be mobile.  Companies are starting to drive themselves to a more mobile focus.  “Companies are developing for mobile first.” (Mary Meeker).  We also see companies forcing more internal attention on Mobile development.  Recently, Mark Zuckerberg shut down web access of Facebook for his employees.  This forced them to focus more attention on Facebook’s mobile platform.

Increased focus on mobile devices is resulting in the consumerization of enterprise software.  Consumers have access to more powerful software at a lower cost than ever before, and what consumers are doing with this newfound power is astounding.  Angie shared a story from the owner of one of the plumbing service providers on Angie’s list.  On his iPad, he can see where all of his trucks are, how long they have been at a job site, and how much revenue they have generated that day.

Human behavior is shifting toward mobility as well.  We are seeing people accumulate fewer things and become more mobile.  The ability to move to the job, instead of the job coming to the individual is becoming a more present reality.


Sensors everywhere


“I don’t care about big data in and of itself. I care about business insights.” Brian Frank


Sensors will be everywhere.  Everything will be measured and captured.  Consumers are realizing that if they share their data, they will see benefits from it.  Companies can benefit from this shared data as well.  Brian emphasized “Always think about measurement.”

It was at this point Neil Hudspith, Chief Revenue Officer at DocuSign and moderator for the panel, asked, “How should we think about it all sounding big brother-ish?”  A good question, we thought.  Mary led the charge.  She told a story about reporting a crime because she had a cellphone and argued that the world will be a safer place because of the proliferation of sensors, not more oppressive.

There is, however, still something to be said for the responsible use of information and creating trust between the consumer and the company.


Customer/company trust


“Using customer data wisely and with integrity is key” Angie Hicks


Trust between businesses and their customers is essential.  Trust is becoming an asset that businesses seek to guard and protect.  Trusting customers often reward companies with good reviews.  Trust of the reviews is everything, so invest in protecting and making it quality.

The mobile market is growing like kudzu, and businesses need a more mobile focus to keep up with customers.  Sensing devices are spreading over the globe.  There are opportunities in big data for both businesses and consumers, but there are also threats.  To keep the world from turning into an Orwellian nightmare, information needs to be used responsibly and trust needs to be built.