With my first blog post of 2010 I would like to wish you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.
And with the new year and the new decade, I reflect on the previous decade and my involvement with mobile; writing this helps me remember the good and not so good times and prepare for the new decade of mobile.
2000-2009. Wow, ten years have past! Some good times and some bad times. I survived, making a living throughout the decade mostly working on mobile. Not too bad…
During the last decade I did a bit of everything: a software developer, architect, a products guy, CTO and evangelist, business owner, researcher, speaker and writer, startup founder, raise angel and VC money, board member, mentor, events organizer, standards bodies, blogger, open source, inventor, documentation and testing, marketing and managing people and products. Top to bottom, left to right. I did great on some and not as good on other. All that while being a husband and a father…
From WAP and cHTML, to web clipping, PalmOS and BlackBerry, Symbian OS, web and widgets, local/native apps, connected and occasionally connected apps, J2ME, Android and iPhone too. From device to network to server, J2EE and Servlets and containers, from XML to Java, PHP, C and C++, DBs and many OSes. Algorithms and patents. User interfaces and user experience. From social and user-generated content software before it was called that, to SMS, LBS, personal data and proximity before it was cool and/or massively used. Lots of other things as well. I remember ‘predicting’ that enterprise would drive mobile adoption, but boy, I was wrong — consumers did! I predicted that by 2006-2007 or so mobile would become what we all have been talking about, and off I was, but not as bad.
…and we are still not there but we are getting there!
During the last decade I started companies, and joined others; both small and large. From agentGO/AGEA, Aligo, Artemis Wireless Werks, to eZee and Motive/ALU. From helping raise millions of dollars in VC money, bringing software products to market, some very successful, to creating partnerships and relationships, almost getting acquired by BEA, to selling the company assets or dissolving the company, the last decade was a hell of a ride.
With Artemis Wireless Werks (my mobile services company) alone helped dozens of companies including Skyfire, AMF Ventures, OMTP.org, MediaSourcery, RGL Forensic Accountants & Consultants, Arrowhead Electronic Healthcare, Edioma, NAKA Media, Blim Law, Sun Microsystems, Nokia, Motorola Metrowerks, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, The Burton Group, Tecnológico de Monterrey Campus Santa Fe, Aligo, Datamaxx, IBM, Mobile Candy Disk, mLoc8, Salsa.Net, PodCast Ready and Kenosia. Thanks to all for the business!
Got the opportunity to speak on many conferences and wrote hundreds of technical articles on mobile and one book, and thousands of entries on my blog and other blogs. Contributed directly or indirectly to a few other books and wrote the foreword for one. Started 3 other books but didn’t finish them, and I owe book reviews to a number of friends, all great writers; sorry guys! I will review all the pending books! and should at least finish one of those books that I had started.
During the last decade I met wonderful and super smart Mobilists, some in person and others virtually, from all around the world, many becoming good friends even though some of them I’ve never met in person. Others who started in mobile at the same time as I did are still going strong on mobile — way to go! I also helped a number of students, some local but most from around the world, thanks again to the power of the Internet, some even throughout from their Bachelor to their PhD. I’m proud of them.
The space shuttle — my first job out of college in the 90s went through very hard times and a fatal accident losing all crewmen and the vehicle Columbia — glad am I to see the program continue, even though its end of life is to occur on 2010, to move forward into the next phase of the manned space program.
Also during the past decade (in 2005) founded MobileMonday Austin which today has close to 350 members and continues strong, and also was a founding member of the Austin Wireless Alliance and the Carnival of the Mobilists which also continue strong. Helping companies is a passion of mine and throughout the decade I helped dozen of companies with software to pure advice. Got involved with SXSW Interactive as an advisory board member focused on mobile which continues in 2010; hope to see you there.
During the same decade I spent a lot of time helping evolve J2ME by helping with the specs and APIs, writing about it, evangelizing, helping with the JCP and JavaOne and with the Mobile & Embedded Community. In 2009 I was nominated for the 2009 JCP Program Participant of the Year. It is sad for me that J2ME stalled towards the end of the decade (long story) but it is not dead and I think it will (should) live as the preferred development platform for Feature-phones.
Towards the end of the decade I co-founded eZee inc. a mobile marketing and interactive advertising company and joined the UT Austin Technology Incubator (ATI). I’m a proud alumni of the ATI with which I continue having a strong relationship. eZee’s technology was based on my vision of mobile with interactions between the physical and digital worlds and the user (and the analysis of such interactions), and the mobile user context while keeping the technology and adoption as practical to the times as possible — very interesting as in 2000 when I joined agentGO I focused on the importance of user-context and agent software and data as key ingredients to a successful mobile experience. So in many ways, eZee inc was the culmination of the previous 8 years of mobile vision and experience. And that vision is not dead!
And I ended-up the decade at Motive, which was later acquired by Alcatel-Lucent, where I work on software for Telcos in the areas of device management and call-center software and network stuff; things that typically happen “behind the scenes”.
The decade was hell of a ride, as I wrote before. I’m sure I’ve missed a number of things but the above is a good summary — I ended up writing much more that what I had anticipated.
2000-2009 was a decade of vision on things mobile, with lots of research, and partnerships, with some real deployments, with lots excitements and some disappointments. The mobile industry has taken a long time to evolve, mainly because of the operators, and as a consequence the technology took long to evolve and become adopted.
But it is happening now. I see it. I feel it. From the mobile lifestyle, to the ecosystem, from the operator to the developer, from the network to the devices. And as we enter the new decade, mobility will be even *more* pervasive. The technology, the devices and networks are catching up, and we will be able to bring to market all those product concepts that we have been talking about/researching over the last decade. For one, the users are ready with a next generation of users that if you think you and me are connected today, think again. Voice? Nah, only 1% of usage will be voice, and apps/data/messaging/social/media will be the other 99%, always-on/connected. Where 80% of the devices will be Smart-phones and Feature-phones will have 80% of Smart-phone capabilities/functionality. Hybrid apps (80% local/native and 20% web-based) will rule for the first half of the decade, and by the 2nd half, mobile web should rival local/native apps and/or complement them in ways that it is almost transparent when jumping from one to the other and back. The next decade will see Augmented Reality and digital/physical world convergence become a common tool, with the mobile handset right in the middle, and AR it will be standardized and absorbed into the browser as a view — similar to the “street vs. map view”. The mobile handset will also serve as the personal gateway to the Internet, providing the computing power to simple sensors and to the new 5th screen — AR visors/eye-glasses powered by the mobile handset.
And many thanks to all the companies such as Apple and Google and RIM and Nokia and Symbian and the other hundreds of super innovative small companies and people who made the difference during the last decade; while some made it and others failed, they all have a part and made important contributions.
So welcome to the year 2010 and the new decade… Let’s see what the new decade will bring us.
Let’s make it happen! Bring it on!