These 35+ Aged Entrepreneurs Don’t Get this!

When Idea made that ad about the mobile representing an individual and everything in their life, they were closer to the truth than they probably realized. WhatsApp did, and that’s what made it so valuable to Facebook.

There’s something many 35+ year old entrepreneurs seem to NOT get.

+35
35+ and 35%.

We aren’t talking about any malfunction or a missing cool factor.

We aren’t talking about the battle against beer bellies.

Well, we are talking about.

Mobile.

Mobile First.

Mobile Only.

Mobile.

From a general observation we have had over the last few months, we believe that 35+ aged entrepreneurs don’t really get mobile. There, we said it.

And the reason is very simple. They think in terms of the desktop web laptop web!

– They are still used to laptops.

– Still used to *laptop web* and the audience which lives online.

– Still can’t put all eggs in mobile-only basket.

Take a look around – some of the startups we have profiled over the last few months are actually much better off in a mobile/app-only avataar. For instance, Tinder (which again is app-only) is disrupting dating. A similar launch in India is only about desktop web. You run into “We will soon be launching an Android and iOS version of our service” every now and then.

India’s internet story is largely a mobile one. We saw a primarily internet-only audience a couple of years ago, and since then the user base has been growing, and mobile data usage has just exploded – easily over half the number of internet users are mobile only, and many more access it way more often on the phone than over a desktop or laptop.

The Phone is Everything. To Everyone. Everywhere

Be it task management, sales, CRM, ecommerce, music, information, entertainment, banking, and obviously communication – all of it is consumed on phones. Despite the challenges of payments on the mobile, e-commerce has grown rapidly on the mobile phone (thanks to C.O.D.?)

When Idea made that ad about the mobile representing an individual and everything in their life, they were closer to the truth than they probably realized. WhatsApp did, and that’s what made it so valuable to Facebook.

The mobile phone is also truly ubiquitous. Everyone, across geographies, languages and economic lines has one, and more and more are finding a reason to have a data connection live on their phone.

“Responsive” doesn’t cut it

It’s not merely about being available on the phone. It’s about thinking mobile-first. For starters – in terms of user behaviour on the device – the desktop or even the laptop was never this personal a tool for most individuals, and you never had the level of attention that a phone commands from practically all users.

Even in terms of functionality and integrating with the user’s life the mobile affords you a lot more functionality that gets you involved a lot more deeply – in what they can do, when they can, and who with. The mobile, in fact, is a trigger for decisions that the desktop never could become.

That one change in itself is extremely important to recognize when you create a service or tool for the mobile first audience.

Think whether you need to build for the desktop at all!

Yes – for many a service and many an audience, you can get away with a totally mobile focused approach to product or service design and UX. Think whether you’re better off as an app that the user will need to “invest” into to download – the decision is a barrier given the couple of steps it takes, and the premium users place on both storage as well as real estate on their screens – or as a lightweight mobile aware site.

There are numerous instances of pure play mobile focused services having worked where equivalent desktop versions never found any traction – Newshunt comes to mind as a great example vis-a-vis earlier desktop based local language news services.

It’s a tough transition to make. And to some of us who grew up with the early days of the internet, especially in India, it does not come naturally at all to think mobile first. But it’s where the users already are, and the future of digital services is certainly headed.

Train yourself to think right on this. It’s not an option any more.

[With Inputs from Ashish Sinha. Image credit : shutterstock]


» If you are somebody who falls under this definition, definitely make it to bigMobilityConf.

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