The Silicon Valley VC Disease

Yesterday at the Mobile Web Wars event (here’s video of that), held right before the TechCrunch party, David Hornik, partner at August Capital (he’s the host of the TechCrunch party) told the audience that he would not invest in pure iPhone apps because the iPhone had too small a market share and that anyone who wanted to get big in the mobile space should go after all phones, not just the iPhone, which, while it’s hot with early-adopter types and is seeing people waiting in lines to buy around the world, hasn’t yet made a dent in, say, Nokia’s market share of cell phones overall.

Let’s call this the Silicon Valley VC Disease. This disease has been going on for a long time. Seagate’s CEO Bill Watkins told me a few months ago that Seagate almost didn’t get started because they couldn’t get funding from VCs who didn’t see a potential market for hard drives. UPDATE: See the comments below where I learned that August Capital is one of those who funded Seagate.

It’s a corrosive disease, too, and is why we get tons of stupid Facebook apps and tons of easy-to-make and likely-to-go-viral iPhone apps. Quick: explain why we don’t yet have a really brilliant travel app or even a single political app for the iPhone, despite lots of interest in those topics (especially in this political year). Not to mention many brilliant apps like Evernote (my favorite app so far)?

What is the disease? That you must make bucketloads of money (or at least have a shot at doing that) in the first two years of business.

If you have a plan to make just a reasonable amount of money, or if it will take decades to make a big amount of money, don’t come to Silicon Valley.

Walmart would NEVER have gotten funded by Sand Hill Road. It took decades to make bucketloads of money. That kind of business plan would never fit in here.

Why? We have the Silicon Valley VC disease.

I imagine that if we went back in time to 1977. Imagine a small group of geeks wanted to get funding to build apps for the Apple II. It didn’t have much market share yet. But imagine those developers wanted to build just Apple II apps. Would they have gotten funded? Probably not. And types like David Hornick would have told them “you gotta build apps for mainframes and DEC’s, because that’s where the market is, not in that Apple II toy.”

So, is Hornik wrong? No, he’s exactly right. The much bigger market is with regular-old-single-chip-cell phones. You know the type. They are the kinds of phones that make phone calls and maybe do SMS texting. If they have a Web browser it’s a small tiny black and white one that can only look at WAP-style text-centric sites, not the full-blown Web that the iPhone has.

But while Hornik is right, he also has the Silicon Valley Disease. He forgets that the small, seemingly unimportant platform today that gets early adopters excited will become the large, dominant platform of tomorrow. It might take 10 years, though, which is too long for VCs to care about. How long did it take Visicalc to happen on the Apple II? Or Aldus Pagemaker to happen on the Mac? A few years at minimum. iPhone is only one year old.

But already we’re seeing the writing on the wall. If you can get past your Silicon Valley VC Disease.

First, our society’s most valuable audiences are getting iPhones. Last week when I was in Los Angeles, both of the famous architects I interviewed already had 3G iPhones.

Those two guys are HUGELY valuable for advertisers. They are representative. They aren’t the only ones.

But even better than the demographics that the iPhone is getting is the usage patterns.

See, I have two Nokia phones and a Microsoft Windows Mobile phone too. They all suck for using the Web. Fine for email and for texting, but really suck for using the Web.

Go see Google’s Vic Gundotra (he’s Vice President and runs a bunch of the teams that build things for mobile phones). He told me that usage on the iPhone is “off the scale” when compared to other phones.

Simply translated: people who have non-iPhone phones simply aren’t using them for anything other than email. This is easily verified. Sit next to a Blackberry user and watch what they do. I do that all the time. All you see them doing is email and light Web use. Now sit next to an iPhone user and watch what they do. Much more heavily used on photos, maps, Web, and video.

An iPhone user is easier to reach and is easier to get to try new things. Plus, the iPhone app store makes it very easy for an app to be tried out and loaded.

But back to the Silicon Valley VC disease. It’s the same disease that Microsoft execs have. Or, really, most big company execs, or worse yet, our government workers, have truth be told.

They won’t adopt anything until “it’s safe” and until there’s a HUGE business reason to do it. It’s why huge parts of our government are still run on paper. Why there isn’t a database anywhere of all of our elected officials in the United States. Why Microsoft didn’t compete with Google until too late. Why General Motors won’t build great all-electric cars until after Tesla or Toyota beats them to the punch. Etc. Etc.

Luckily the Silicon Valley VC Disease is having less and less effect lately.

You can startup a company with very little cash, because you can build it on cloud-based services like Amazon’s S3, which let you get started and show the world you’re getting adoption even before you go for VC money.

And, luckily, not every VC has the Silicon Valley VC Disease. Lots invest in stupid, small, weird, ideas for platforms that only have a percent or two of market share. Go see Jeff Clavier, for instance. He’s been doing that a lot lately. I met him in the office of Tapulous last week, which makes iPhone apps.

Why shouldn’t you listen to Hornik and others who have Silicon Valley VC disease?

  1. It’s easier to start a company on new platforms. Why? Because the big money probably hasn’t moved in yet, or at least they haven’t become established.
  2. People who buy new things are FAR EASIER to convince to buy other new things than people who have had the same stuff for years.
  3. It’s easier to build a brand on a new technology than it is to do that on an older, more established one (hey, everyone has a radio in their cars, but you don’t see VC’s funding new radio stations, do you? Why is that?)
  4. The best, most transactional and monetizeable audiences are those that pick up new things. Think about it, would you rather have a customer like Dan Meis, one of the world’s best architects or someone like my dad who still uses the same TV that he bought from me in the mid-1980s?  My dad is a nice guy and very smart, but he’s a horrible customer to have and is going to be very expensive to get to adopt something new.
  5. It’s a lot cheaper to get adoption when influencers (read bloggers and journalists and Twitterers and FriendFeeders) are talking about you. What are they talking about right now? iPhone apps. Look at Summize, the search engine Twitter just bought. What’s one of the trending topics on the home page? iPhone. Get over it. They ain’t talking about Nokia or Microsoft.

Anyway, I just find it interesting when VCs start telling people not to support a platform when there’s lines around the world waiting to buy that platform. If everyone listened to that sentiment we’d never see any innovation in the world.

So, who is working to prove Hornik wrong? Drop me a line.

Oh, and David’s a nice guy and throws great parties. Thanks David for letting me in last night and for giving me something interesting to blog about today. :-)

UPDATE: As usual lately a much more interesting conversation about this post is happening over on FriendFeed.

112 thoughts on “The Silicon Valley VC Disease

  1. Great post, Robert. My start up has decided to develop for the iPhone platform because that is where the future is. Everyone else will just follow.

  2. Great post, Robert. My start up has decided to develop for the iPhone platform because that is where the future is. Everyone else will just follow.

  3. First of all, someone doing microfunding has already posted to this thread. He might be willing to invest in something less aggressive than $100m+.

    Second, indulge the VCs fears in the pitch. Here we go: iPhone is important but just one platform for this sweet thing we’re doing. Everyone in the mobile business will be coming out with an iPhone-killer ASAP, which means the potential marketshare for our app will rise far quicker than just that of the iPhone, as long as we keep porting. By first going with iPhone, the technical leader, we will be ahead of the larger market in at least two respects: hardware and distribution ecosystem. Along with that, it’s basically a bowling-alley strategy: knock down the other markets as they open up.

  4. First of all, someone doing microfunding has already posted to this thread. He might be willing to invest in something less aggressive than $100m+.

    Second, indulge the VCs fears in the pitch. Here we go: iPhone is important but just one platform for this sweet thing we’re doing. Everyone in the mobile business will be coming out with an iPhone-killer ASAP, which means the potential marketshare for our app will rise far quicker than just that of the iPhone, as long as we keep porting. By first going with iPhone, the technical leader, we will be ahead of the larger market in at least two respects: hardware and distribution ecosystem. Along with that, it’s basically a bowling-alley strategy: knock down the other markets as they open up.

  5. The problem for iPhone-only developers is that Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, etc are copying it. They may not achieve better, but they will attain good-enough for the mass market. Apple will never dominate this market.

  6. The problem for iPhone-only developers is that Nokia, Samsung, Blackberry, etc are copying it. They may not achieve better, but they will attain good-enough for the mass market. Apple will never dominate this market.

  7. I think we’re somewhat on the same page. I won’t argue that the iPhone is a goldmine for devs right now. and every other platform maker has a lot to learn from Apple. it’s nice to see that competition is driving such progress.

  8. I think we’re somewhat on the same page. I won’t argue that the iPhone is a goldmine for devs right now. and every other platform maker has a lot to learn from Apple. it’s nice to see that competition is driving such progress.

  9. End users don’t care about options. They care about experiences. Developers don’t care about options. They care about having tons of users who are likely to try their stuff. The reason you want to develop for all platforms one time is because you are trying to spend the least amount possible while reaching the most people possible. That’s a good goal, but isn’t going to happen anytime soon, unfortunately. In such a world you’ll have to pick the platform that’ll get you the most users the fastest for least effort possible. In my view that’s the iPhone.

    The reason Opera doesn’t work for developers is because it requires your users to download something else in addition to your app or Web site. That retards adoption.

    This world is, indeed, a mess.

  10. End users don’t care about options. They care about experiences. Developers don’t care about options. They care about having tons of users who are likely to try their stuff. The reason you want to develop for all platforms one time is because you are trying to spend the least amount possible while reaching the most people possible. That’s a good goal, but isn’t going to happen anytime soon, unfortunately. In such a world you’ll have to pick the platform that’ll get you the most users the fastest for least effort possible. In my view that’s the iPhone.

    The reason Opera doesn’t work for developers is because it requires your users to download something else in addition to your app or Web site. That retards adoption.

    This world is, indeed, a mess.

  11. What most of the people around us don’t realize is that the Web 2.0 is changing the way things happen. Crossing the chasm is now a matter of months if not weeks. The iPhone and its world-changing AppStore are part of that paradigm shift.
    As you Robert (as others before you ;-) wrote : testing a new app is dead simple. Both ways : for you as the end-user of course – you can play with the app and trash it if you want to – as well as for you as the developer – you can measure the market adoption and get users feedback more rapidly.
    And you can do this almost without outbound money. The only thing you need is time, to develop your app and release the beta.
    Five years back, who would have put a nickel on such a model ?

  12. What most of the people around us don’t realize is that the Web 2.0 is changing the way things happen. Crossing the chasm is now a matter of months if not weeks. The iPhone and its world-changing AppStore are part of that paradigm shift.
    As you Robert (as others before you ;-) wrote : testing a new app is dead simple. Both ways : for you as the end-user of course – you can play with the app and trash it if you want to – as well as for you as the developer – you can measure the market adoption and get users feedback more rapidly.
    And you can do this almost without outbound money. The only thing you need is time, to develop your app and release the beta.
    Five years back, who would have put a nickel on such a model ?

  13. You’re right: in a startup environment, it’s unlikely you’ll get the funding to develop for all platforms. That’s why I didn’t disagree with your VC Disease points. If I’m a startup, I need to think about my target audience before I think about which platform I want to develop for. In the current state of the mobile market, I’m probably going to choose the iPhone. Statistics show that more iPhone users browse the web than other mobile software/handset makers. It doesn’t automatically mean to count out the other guys. They will develop better platforms, experiences, and improve over time. When that happens, what’s to say RIM, Microsoft, Symbian, or Android don’t out-do the iPhone platform? Then I need to either stick to the platform I chose, or refocus my efforts.

    That’s one of the things that irks me about the iPhone and every other platform. People are developing apps for the iPhone and other users get locked out of the application unless they buy that very phone. It’s locking a user in and it’s far from what I want.

    I see a problem with the mobile market right now in the fact that its fragmented. I don’t want to have to develop for Platform A, B, and C. I want to develop one time and make my application ubiquitous. Each platform has its own standards, and to each their own pros and cons. It’s a crappy situation where it would be hard for small-time entrepreneurs to tackle the issue at hand, because it’s mostly being driven by these massive corporations who are setting the standards (or lack thereof).

    Blackberry users currently have a relatively cruddy web-browsing experience. The folks at RIM are working away and trying to bring something that will compete. The Bold previews are giving us lukewarm reviews, and we shall see how that pans out in general upon the final release of the software. Either way, BB users will eventually have a more real browsing experience and users will adopt it. Microsoft will do the same with its pocket IE browser. Mozilla is releasing a browser for mobile sets. Opera will continue to improve and innovate. It’s not just going to be about Safari forever.

    Opera Mobile 9.5 is a beta software. I never claimed the browser did everything Safari does; but it does most of what I need for mobile browsing, and it’s a relatively solid experience. As seamless as iPhone/Safari? Perhaps not. It’s still an option for me. And that’s all I want, options.

  14. You’re right: in a startup environment, it’s unlikely you’ll get the funding to develop for all platforms. That’s why I didn’t disagree with your VC Disease points. If I’m a startup, I need to think about my target audience before I think about which platform I want to develop for. In the current state of the mobile market, I’m probably going to choose the iPhone. Statistics show that more iPhone users browse the web than other mobile software/handset makers. It doesn’t automatically mean to count out the other guys. They will develop better platforms, experiences, and improve over time. When that happens, what’s to say RIM, Microsoft, Symbian, or Android don’t out-do the iPhone platform? Then I need to either stick to the platform I chose, or refocus my efforts.

    That’s one of the things that irks me about the iPhone and every other platform. People are developing apps for the iPhone and other users get locked out of the application unless they buy that very phone. It’s locking a user in and it’s far from what I want.

    I see a problem with the mobile market right now in the fact that its fragmented. I don’t want to have to develop for Platform A, B, and C. I want to develop one time and make my application ubiquitous. Each platform has its own standards, and to each their own pros and cons. It’s a crappy situation where it would be hard for small-time entrepreneurs to tackle the issue at hand, because it’s mostly being driven by these massive corporations who are setting the standards (or lack thereof).

    Blackberry users currently have a relatively cruddy web-browsing experience. The folks at RIM are working away and trying to bring something that will compete. The Bold previews are giving us lukewarm reviews, and we shall see how that pans out in general upon the final release of the software. Either way, BB users will eventually have a more real browsing experience and users will adopt it. Microsoft will do the same with its pocket IE browser. Mozilla is releasing a browser for mobile sets. Opera will continue to improve and innovate. It’s not just going to be about Safari forever.

    Opera Mobile 9.5 is a beta software. I never claimed the browser did everything Safari does; but it does most of what I need for mobile browsing, and it’s a relatively solid experience. As seamless as iPhone/Safari? Perhaps not. It’s still an option for me. And that’s all I want, options.

  15. Tedr: I’d be a horrible VC. It’s a lot easier to make fun of the system than to play the game, that’s for sure. McClure: thanks, I did too many mojitos last night, corrected Hornik’s name.

  16. Tedr: I’d be a horrible VC. It’s a lot easier to make fun of the system than to play the game, that’s for sure. McClure: thanks, I did too many mojitos last night, corrected Hornik’s name.

  17. Robert, you have a lot of compelling points, but because the VC’s are higher up the risk chain they have to be higher up on the reward chain also, and target larger markets that can have potential higher ROI.

    Successful VC’s need to have had, or at a minimum understand, successful entreprenurial experience.

    Many successful VC’s will tell you that they pick the winning team, not the winning market. This is because markets evolve so rapidly, and the right team will find or create the right space. The right space without the right team, conversely, can evaporate in a nanosecond.

  18. Robert, you have a lot of compelling points, but because the VC’s are higher up the risk chain they have to be higher up on the reward chain also, and target larger markets that can have potential higher ROI.

    Successful VC’s need to have had, or at a minimum understand, successful entreprenurial experience.

    Many successful VC’s will tell you that they pick the winning team, not the winning market. This is because markets evolve so rapidly, and the right team will find or create the right space. The right space without the right team, conversely, can evaporate in a nanosecond.

  19. Robert, I think the problem isn’t that traditional tech VCs have a disease, it’s that they rather focus on where they can make more money. For very reasonable reasons most VCs can’t invest in companies which don’t have the potential to become $100+M companies (preferably $1+B). So though they love the excitement of exciting new products in new spaces and talking with the entreprenuers, that’s not where their bread and butter comes from, and investing in them dilutes their maximum potential.

    They have to pass on potential tens of millions in favor or hundreds of millions.

    What it also means it they’ve left a great part of the ecosystem wide open for the early round investors. And all the power to any the parties helping the young companies get from family and friends to Series B (or even better M&A or self-sustaining thriving business).

    Many VCs tried to do Angel-like investments in 2005 and 2006, but they just couldn’t justify the time spent on a company they could only invest $500k in, and there’s no other way for them to do it. After putting in all the research, due diligence, partner reviews and approvals they should really have invested that effort in a $10M deal.

    So it’s not a disease, it’s the nature of how they do business, a business that has historically worked very well, that they may be happy to get get another decade or more out of.

    In fact, many young companies are better off not getting too much money too soon. VCs need companies to grow at hyper fast rates, which can cause a company with great potential to fail because they denied themselves to grow at a more realistic pace.

    Also of note, there’s a great Canadian VC firm, that is doing some very clever things to cut out the front time required to invest in small market deals and thus make it more cost effective for them do sub-million investments. They aren’t talking it up, but I’ve seen and it’s the most creative approach to this investment gap I’ve seen yet.

    Finally, maybe you should start a seed fund and get in the game yourself ;)

  20. Robert, I think the problem isn’t that traditional tech VCs have a disease, it’s that they rather focus on where they can make more money. For very reasonable reasons most VCs can’t invest in companies which don’t have the potential to become $100+M companies (preferably $1+B). So though they love the excitement of exciting new products in new spaces and talking with the entreprenuers, that’s not where their bread and butter comes from, and investing in them dilutes their maximum potential.

    They have to pass on potential tens of millions in favor or hundreds of millions.

    What it also means it they’ve left a great part of the ecosystem wide open for the early round investors. And all the power to any the parties helping the young companies get from family and friends to Series B (or even better M&A or self-sustaining thriving business).

    Many VCs tried to do Angel-like investments in 2005 and 2006, but they just couldn’t justify the time spent on a company they could only invest $500k in, and there’s no other way for them to do it. After putting in all the research, due diligence, partner reviews and approvals they should really have invested that effort in a $10M deal.

    So it’s not a disease, it’s the nature of how they do business, a business that has historically worked very well, that they may be happy to get get another decade or more out of.

    In fact, many young companies are better off not getting too much money too soon. VCs need companies to grow at hyper fast rates, which can cause a company with great potential to fail because they denied themselves to grow at a more realistic pace.

    Also of note, there’s a great Canadian VC firm, that is doing some very clever things to cut out the front time required to invest in small market deals and thus make it more cost effective for them do sub-million investments. They aren’t talking it up, but I’ve seen and it’s the most creative approach to this investment gap I’ve seen yet.

    Finally, maybe you should start a seed fund and get in the game yourself ;)

  21. 1) “Hornik”, no ‘c’.

    2) in general, August Capital is a big fund, later-stage VC. August / Hornik can afford to be wrong for about 6-12 months longer than Jeff, then change his mind and do the Series A round for Tapulous / others. witness a similar situation last summer re: funding for FB apps, only a few of which were funded by VCs (who may now be regretting those deals).

    3) VCs have been known to give the head-fake, saying one thing while investing in another. typically i take Mr. Hornik at his word more than most, but i’m just sayin’…

  22. 1) “Hornik”, no ‘c’.

    2) in general, August Capital is a big fund, later-stage VC. August / Hornik can afford to be wrong for about 6-12 months longer than Jeff, then change his mind and do the Series A round for Tapulous / others. witness a similar situation last summer re: funding for FB apps, only a few of which were funded by VCs (who may now be regretting those deals).

    3) VCs have been known to give the head-fake, saying one thing while investing in another. typically i take Mr. Hornik at his word more than most, but i’m just sayin’…

  23. Also, anyone who says that Opera does everything that Safari on iPhone does is just lying and should not be listened to. It’s not whether you have a check-box feature set. It’s the experience!!!

    Damn, now I know why Nokia employees keep their jobs.

  24. Also, anyone who says that Opera does everything that Safari on iPhone does is just lying and should not be listened to. It’s not whether you have a check-box feature set. It’s the experience!!!

    Damn, now I know why Nokia employees keep their jobs.

  25. Sham: Blackberry users do not use the Web in anywhere close to the amount that iPhone users do. In fact, many of my friends who have iPhones keep Blackberries just to do email on.

    Secondly, if you are a startup you MUST focus your development efforts in order to have a chance to survive. You CAN NOT develop a great app for all platforms out there. The VCs’ don’t give you enough money and there simply aren’t enough great developers out there to build for everything all at once.

    You are far better off doing only one platform and serving that very well. Watch Tapulous, for instance. They focus on the iPhone and I bet they’ll do better than other startups that try to do all platforms.

  26. Sham: Blackberry users do not use the Web in anywhere close to the amount that iPhone users do. In fact, many of my friends who have iPhones keep Blackberries just to do email on.

    Secondly, if you are a startup you MUST focus your development efforts in order to have a chance to survive. You CAN NOT develop a great app for all platforms out there. The VCs’ don’t give you enough money and there simply aren’t enough great developers out there to build for everything all at once.

    You are far better off doing only one platform and serving that very well. Watch Tapulous, for instance. They focus on the iPhone and I bet they’ll do better than other startups that try to do all platforms.

  27. Robert,

    While I understand some of what you’re saying, I’m going to disagree with some of your sentiments.

    1) I appreciate that you noticed some of the worlds biggest architects and various others are purchasing iPhones. That doesn’t mean they are the most valuable audience. I’d actually like to see some hard numbers on what users are using which platforms. I’d be surprised if Blackberry wasn’t at the top of the list for the most highly valuable audience. I wont disagree that the iPhone is up there or is eating away quickly at BB’s market, but it’s still up there.

    2) By default, a user may not be able to browse the web as wonderfully as the iPhone’s Safari browser, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I don’t want this to become an iPhone vs. [enter phone here] debate, but I currently do everything with my Windows Mobile phone that the iPhone does, plus more. Agreed, the interface isn’t as straightforward or slick as the iPhone. I’ll concede that Safari is a great mobile experience. Regardless, I can install Opera Mobile 9.5 (amazing browser, check it out if you haven’t yet) on my Phone and do just about everything the iPhone does. Plus I can take photos, view GPS, play and buy music, write and receive full HTML emails, and even make phone calls. Is it as integrated as the iPhone? No. Regardless, I can do it all. What the iPhone brings is a better overall experience to all of these features – something many other companies should take notes on.

    2.5) What I’m getting at in point 2 is that even though the iPhone is an important mark in today’s market, as a developer, I don’t want to develop for just one platform. I want my application(s) to be used by as many people as possible. The iPhone is the tip of an iceberg that can bring huge gains down to not only me, but audiences as a whole. For this reason, I agree with Hornick’s comment. The iPhone platform is fantastic for many reasons. Unfortunately it also has it’s own plague of problems (e.g.: NDA snafus), but I’m sure Apple will work out those kinks.

    Regardless, not all users are adopting the iPhone. Many will remain strong in the BlackBerry ranks – and their market share will continue to grow. Windows Mobile, despite being old, is still driving far more units than the iPhone and has a great share of the market. Symbian is opening up and will continue to have a strong user base. Android, despite it’s plethora of problems, is another breath of air beating the tune of competition. Each of these platforms is equally important to the market as much as the iPhone is. Development and improvements to each platform has not stalled. The iPhone has been a wake up call to many, and I eagerly await the competition that has been and will continue to be sparked by all of this.

    I don’t disagree with your VC Disease points, per se. All I disagree with is the sentiment that I should only have to develop for one audience, when I could be developing for many. I don’t want to be locked in to one carrier / device type just to use a piece of software. I want the freedom to choose. I want users to feel comfortable on whichever device they use, knowing that they aren’t locked out from using a certain type of application.

  28. Robert,

    While I understand some of what you’re saying, I’m going to disagree with some of your sentiments.

    1) I appreciate that you noticed some of the worlds biggest architects and various others are purchasing iPhones. That doesn’t mean they are the most valuable audience. I’d actually like to see some hard numbers on what users are using which platforms. I’d be surprised if Blackberry wasn’t at the top of the list for the most highly valuable audience. I wont disagree that the iPhone is up there or is eating away quickly at BB’s market, but it’s still up there.

    2) By default, a user may not be able to browse the web as wonderfully as the iPhone’s Safari browser, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. I don’t want this to become an iPhone vs. [enter phone here] debate, but I currently do everything with my Windows Mobile phone that the iPhone does, plus more. Agreed, the interface isn’t as straightforward or slick as the iPhone. I’ll concede that Safari is a great mobile experience. Regardless, I can install Opera Mobile 9.5 (amazing browser, check it out if you haven’t yet) on my Phone and do just about everything the iPhone does. Plus I can take photos, view GPS, play and buy music, write and receive full HTML emails, and even make phone calls. Is it as integrated as the iPhone? No. Regardless, I can do it all. What the iPhone brings is a better overall experience to all of these features – something many other companies should take notes on.

    2.5) What I’m getting at in point 2 is that even though the iPhone is an important mark in today’s market, as a developer, I don’t want to develop for just one platform. I want my application(s) to be used by as many people as possible. The iPhone is the tip of an iceberg that can bring huge gains down to not only me, but audiences as a whole. For this reason, I agree with Hornick’s comment. The iPhone platform is fantastic for many reasons. Unfortunately it also has it’s own plague of problems (e.g.: NDA snafus), but I’m sure Apple will work out those kinks.

    Regardless, not all users are adopting the iPhone. Many will remain strong in the BlackBerry ranks – and their market share will continue to grow. Windows Mobile, despite being old, is still driving far more units than the iPhone and has a great share of the market. Symbian is opening up and will continue to have a strong user base. Android, despite it’s plethora of problems, is another breath of air beating the tune of competition. Each of these platforms is equally important to the market as much as the iPhone is. Development and improvements to each platform has not stalled. The iPhone has been a wake up call to many, and I eagerly await the competition that has been and will continue to be sparked by all of this.

    I don’t disagree with your VC Disease points, per se. All I disagree with is the sentiment that I should only have to develop for one audience, when I could be developing for many. I don’t want to be locked in to one carrier / device type just to use a piece of software. I want the freedom to choose. I want users to feel comfortable on whichever device they use, knowing that they aren’t locked out from using a certain type of application.

  29. I got angry at the money thing the day before at AlwaysOn and wrote about it here:
    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/francine-hardaway/world-startups-outside-silicon-valley/elephant-room-money.
    All the money is going to solar now, because it’s the closest to liquid of the possible VC investments. They don’t care (and aren’t paid to care) about what’s new, good, or different –or heaven forbid, actually useful — but only about what can give them the return they are expected to produce. The whole system is broken. Not just in mobile, trust me.

  30. I got angry at the money thing the day before at AlwaysOn and wrote about it here:
    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/francine-hardaway/world-startups-outside-silicon-valley/elephant-room-money.
    All the money is going to solar now, because it’s the closest to liquid of the possible VC investments. They don’t care (and aren’t paid to care) about what’s new, good, or different –or heaven forbid, actually useful — but only about what can give them the return they are expected to produce. The whole system is broken. Not just in mobile, trust me.

  31. This guy who deplores iPhone as viable platform for mobile software is misisng out on main point: only 0.001 % of regular mobile phone users are buying any software for or anything else for their phones but HIGH percentage of iPhone users are buying music and software. So small market share multiplied by high percentage of users actually buying = good business opportunity!

  32. This guy who deplores iPhone as viable platform for mobile software is misisng out on main point: only 0.001 % of regular mobile phone users are buying any software for or anything else for their phones but HIGH percentage of iPhone users are buying music and software. So small market share multiplied by high percentage of users actually buying = good business opportunity!

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