TiECON Conference Roundup

TiECON Conference Roundup

 TiEcon 2009 is a conference for entrepreneurs & business start ups

While I have been involved in various TiE events over the years, this was my first TiECOn down in the bay area. Even in this economy, this was a very well attended event with folks coming in from around the globe. The conference was quite diverse as well covering consumer web, internet infrastructure, cleantech, wireless, and software. I was there to moderate a panel on Wireless Monetization.

I was able to attend some really good keynotes, the most notable being Paul Maritz who talked about platforms, Tony Hsieh of Zappos on happiness, and Reid Hoffman, Linkedin. I found Martiz address on platforms and how the successful ones are generally created particularly interesting. He had some inside stories to share about Intel and Microsoft and how “accidental fortitude” seems to be the key of what became the changing platforms for our industry. Planning often doesn’t work that well when create mass-market phenomenon. The next areas of innovation and profits are: microfinance, biotech and information personalization.

What was unique and distinct about this conference was the “level of energy” amongst the entrepreneurs and participants. Despite the funding and economic climate, these guys were rushing to form the new company, start a new chapter, and create something unique in the market place. Some were serial entrepreneurs while others were just getting started.

The central theme of the conference was – if you were going to start a new business, this is the year, now is the time. While it has become a cliche, it is indeed true, best businesses are started in recessions and in the downturn – sometimes out of need other times out of opportunities. Bright brains rally and congregate to shake the cobwebs and look towards a new beginning. The energy was indeed infectious. My own consulting practice started during the last recession and 8 years later we are still around, so i say, all power and glory to the next generation of entrepreneurs who will create new technologies, paradigm shifts, and business models.

50 Startups were awarded the TiE50 awards – http://www.tiecon.org/home/tie


On to my panel – “Wireless Monetization – The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow.”

My thanks to Arvind Gupta, Asha Vellaikal, and Savinay Berry for being the hosts and putting together the panel. Also, thanks to Ramneek Bhasin and Ujjal Kohli for their assistance.

The panelists were:

Michael Bayle, former Sr. Director, Mobile Monetization, Yahoo

Purnima Kochikar, Director, Nokia

Gary Kovacs, SVP, Sybase

Matt Litz, VP, Glu Mobile, and

Tina Unterlaendar, MD, AKQA

My questions were simply around what makes money, what’s working, and what’s coming? The brilliant panel had terrific insights.

Bottom line:

  • Appstores are a way to experiment with pricing, gives users more control
  • Different appstores might require different strategy for promotion, pricing needs to remain consistent across appstores, rev-shares with operators need to remain consistent
  • Mobile Advertising is in its infancy, budgets mostly in experimental campaigns but the potential remains huge. The biggest problem is reach and fragmentation
  • In the flat world, one must think of how the solutions will be adopted around the world not just in the developed nations
  • India and China are the volumes business, get used to it
  • Consumers are always looking for free so there is continuous price pressure, one has to consider alternate pricing or monetization strategies
  • Companies like mig33 have been successful in alternate modes of monetization, advertising is a smaller piece of the puzzle
  • Days of using mobile to purchase physical goods is coming
  • Mobile Payments using NFC is still a far cry for the US market

Overall a great panel and a great conference.