Mobile Monday – Amsterdam – Recap

Mobile Monday – Amsterdam – Recap

On June 2nd, Mobile Monday, Amsterdam hosted its 6th event and celebrated its 1 year anniversary. I must say it was done with such perfection that the event and the organization should serve as a role model for MoMos around the world. First of all, the sheer size of the audience was great – almost 450 people showed up, looked like anyone of importance in the mobile industry in Amsterdam was there. The event was sponsored by the likes of Vodafone.

Yuri Van Geest, Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Marc Fonteijn, and others were generous hosts and made my trip worthwhile from start to finish.

Amsterdam 021 With Doc

When I go to Europe, I am there for more than 1 wk but this was a quick turn around due to some other commitments back home. Got into AMS early sunday (jun 1), met with Doc Searls (of Cluetrain Manifesto fame) and Yuri was gracious enough to show us around the city which was just waking up. Festivities in anticipation of European Soccer Championship had already started. Got to hang out with Doc quite a bit and get some insights into his VRM (vendor relationship management) project, also the subject of his talk.

Amsterdam 036 At Speaker’s Dinner with MoMo AMS gang and speakers

After a couple of hours of sleep that afternoon, headed to Maarten and Lori’s house for speaker’s dinner. Yuri and gang had lined up 10 good speakers on mobile advertising. Most of them were from Holland, one speaker from Spain, Russell Buckley of Admob from Germany, Antti Ohrling of Blyk from UK, and Doc and I from the US.

Btw, all the presentations and videos from the event are posted at so check it out.

Amsterdam 051 The majestic venue – Rode Hoed, Keizersgracht

The venue of the event was an old church with a three layered seating arrangement, pretty impressive setup. The first half of the program was in Dutch which us poor English (only) speaking folks could hardly understand but it was entertaining never the less. The second half was devoted to Intl speakers with Antti going first. As you might be aware, Blyk has turned some heads with its advertising-subsidized business model (MVNO). His message was simple – “give something of value to the customers, and they will respond with loyalty and yes, will be very open to advertising.” So far, they have gained 140K, a good 5-6 months ahead of schedule. After UK, the launch in Holland is coming soon. Btw, did you know, there are over 65 MVNOs in Holland and doing rather well.

Russell Buckley of Admob and Mobhappy delved into some of the case studies and stats from the Admob Ad-Network. Given the tremendous growth in the number of impressions on their network, the insights were quite relevant. I have been communicating with Antti and Russell virtually, so, it was great to meet with them in person.

Next, I was asked to present my thoughts on Mobile Advertising in Asia from our Mobile Advertising and how Asian market is evolving w.r.t. Europe and if there are some lessons we can draw from the various markets. Dutch are very keen on understanding their role in the global economy, places where they can differentiate and compete. I had off-line discussions with several individuals during my stay and the curiosity was palpable. They are always on the look-out to learn about new trends and technologies and in figuring out areas where Holland can add to the global growth. They were especially interested in discussing how the emergence of China and India is going to impact them. I also noticed that the Dutch seemed to be social-networkers to the hilt and reveled in being the twitter-nation. The number of social networking sites they are active on a constant basis – chirping, posting, streaming, joking, posing to various sites was just amazing. Social scientists and new social networking companies should head to Holland to do some primary research of trends to come in the space.

Video courtesy of MoMo AMS

Finally, Doc talked about VRM and his work in the space. Essentially, the idea around VRM is for users to have control over their profile and preferences and instead of companies deciding what’s good for us, we get to decide and ask for the applications, personalization that’s right for us. What a concept 🙂 I had touched on the concept in my first book back in 2000 and other academics have been researching the space using bots and agents. Great to see the progress in the discussions and hopefully some actual implementations.

After a couple of days of rendezvous in Amsterdam, headed back to Seattle. The trick to surviving the jet-lag was never getting used to the AMS time, so even though I had to fly again to Chicago within a few hours after arrival in the US, I managed to avoid serious hangovers.

Overall, I must commend the MoMo AMS team for a job well done and in challenging other MoMos around the world to emulate them in organization and quality of the program.