mobilized: An Insider's Guide to the Business and Future of Connected Technology - S.C. Moatti (2016)

Foreword

by Nir Eyal

I remember the first time I saw a URL. It was 1995, I was a teenager, and I was flipping through my hometown newspaper when I spotted a movie ad. At the bottom were the words “Check us out online at www . . .”

I had no idea what “www” meant, but being the nerd I was (and still am), I rushed to my computer. Eagerly, I waited 5 minutes for the spinning disks to boot up and weathered another 10 minutes of crashes and reboots.

Finally, I was able to type the URL into my Internet service provider’s search bar, and Prodigy promptly took me nowhere. Instead of a web page, I got an error message.

Not that it would have mattered much.

Let me remind you that 1995 web pages were truly terrible. A look back at websites of yesteryear reveals hard-to-navigate, text-laden walls of words that no one would want to interact with today.

No wonder relatively few offline businesses shifted their resources into building an online presence. It would take years, if not a decade, after the first web browser was born for businesses to realize the importance of that lowly “www.”

Today, having a website is a requirement—it’s the modern-day equivalent of hanging a shingle, announcing you are open for business.

The lesson here is that—at first—sweeping industry changes can easily be dismissed. They’re often seen as something companies can get to later on, when time allows and budgets free up. But, of course, later on often comes too late and, while laggards are still deciding what to do, their competitors are cashing in.

As of this writing in late 2015, we’re just seven years into the mobile revolution as marked by the opening of the Apple App Store in 2008—and yet what an incredibly rapid revolution it has been.

Consider this: whereas most companies just a decade ago lacked even a basic mobile presence, today entire multibillion-dollar enterprises operate only in the mobile space. In fact, many of the biggest players and service providers globally—such as Uber—only exist in mobile.

Like so many did when websites first arrived, small and medium-sized businesses today have ignored or neglected their mobile strategy. However, giving customers a way to do business with you through their mobile devices is fast becoming a necessity, as important as having a presence on the World Wide Web. Just as eagerly as I wanted to get online as a teenager to check out that particular movie’s website, your customers want to interact with you through their mobile devices. CNN reported last year that over half of Internet usage comes from mobile devices in the US—a percentage that is significantly higher in other parts of the world where mobile is the only way to access the web.1

In this book, my friend Sophie-Charlotte (SC) Moatti gets you ready for what’s to come.

I first met SC three years ago. She was working at Facebook and invited me to speak to her team. I was impressed. “I’m going mobile only,” she told me. “Trying to get my work done without a computer. I’m almost there . . .” When everyone else was still carrying around a laptop, SC was pioneering the effective use of mobile technology in ways the rest of us had yet to see.

SC recognizes the vital role mobile applications will play in our future. From her years of practice in mobile, she honed her craft and learned how to build mobile services and apps that get users engaged and keep them coming back.

In this book, she lays out the ground rules for what works and what doesn’t in mobile. She shares insights she gleaned working at Facebook, Nokia, and other companies to give us her unique perspective on how to, in her words, “build products that count.”

Enjoy getting mobilized!