Last week, 300 entrepreneurs, investors, developers, and industry insiders interested in pursuing mobile innovations attended MobileX in Cincinnati. It is one of the best conferences I attend.
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The conference, has been held in four cities since 2010: Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Lexington, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee. The gathering is a nexus of those passionate about mobile's potential and has content and connections for everyone pursuing mobile opportunities and strategies.
An Outstanding Conference
MobileX’s differentiator is in bringing together a broad spectrum of professionals, from dabblers to serious coders, to those building individual apps and those building businesses, to entrepreneurs seeking opportunities, to investors looking for potential and to industry insiders doing all of the above within their respective organizations. Attendees have an opportunity to learn and engage with some of the mobile industry’s experienced leaders, innovators and key players. Hands down, MobileX is a “DO NOT MISS” opportunity.
I almost did miss MobileX due to icy road conditions between Columbus & Cincinnati, passing 11 serious accidents (including 3 upside-down vehicles) en route. The normally 2 hour drive was a grueling 4 hour adventure. I missed the morning Keynote featuring Daniel Odio, Founder of Socialize who spoke on Capitalizing on the Mobile Tsunami. Fortunately, video is available via Vimeo and his slides are on SlideShare. I recommend watching; it is a good opportunity to investigate key industry trends with someone with real expertise and who is innovating on the very edge of corporate mobile engagement. Hint: watch with headphones as the audio is difficult to hear in places. It will be worth the effort.
The conference is designed to engage professionals in ideation, learning, visioning and connecting across the breadth of mobile via 4 defined tracks. It goes beyond app development and focuses on the strategies and tactics to integrate mobile into all facets of a company. Below is a brief summary of each track’s content and comments on the sessions I attended or wanted to attend.
Track 1: Entrepreneurs
Focused on entrepreneurs and investing, it featured sessions with Josh Pressnell on building a business in mobile entitled Keeping Your Head Above Water As An Indy Developer; an entrepreneurs’ panel focused on learnings and success in mobile; Josh Silverman (pictured), Founder of StudyEgg on leveraging lean business practices. This was an interesting look under the covers of how Josh founded and developed StudyEgg. The Q&A was particularly insightful as Josh explained his reasoning behind specific strategies and near term plans; KickSend’s Brendan Lim had an overview of his Y-Combinator experience; and the day culminated with a panel discussion on investment and working with investors.
Track 2: Technical
The Technical Track covered the nuts and bolts of mobile app, application and platform development. Microsoft Evangelist Jeff Blankenburg, who was smart enough to drive to Cincy the night before the event, presented on Windows Phone Development; X.com’s Praveen Alavilli emphasized Getting Your Feet Wet with Mobile Commerce; Synthetic Corp’s Sam Soffes spoke on iOS Development; and Appcelerator’s Anthony Decena addressed Cross-Platform Mobile Development. This track was capped off with a panel discussion featuring the four presenters.
Track 3: Marketing and Social Media
This popular track focused on leveraging mobile technologies to effectively market your company. It featured Mobile Marketing 101 guided by Krista Neher, founder of Bootcampdigital. I have enjoyed Krista’s presentations in the past and recommend learning from her. I wanted to listen to her again at this conference and learn how the industry is evolving via marketing/mobile integration, but her session conflicted with another I also wanted to attend. When I talked with Krista, she indicated she will not be able to make MobileX Lexington in a few weeks. Additional topics included Novel Uses of SMS with Josh Bob, founder of Turnstar; Social Networking’s Role in Mobile, with more insights provided by morning Keynote Daniel Odio founder of Socialize (by the way, Daniel’s blog is an excellent resource); and Demystifying the Hype in Mobile with David Ip. This track also tied the day together by ending with a panel discussion featuring the speakers.
Track 4: Corporate and Enterprise
This interesting track covered “mobilizing” the corporation from the inside the enterprise and the implications from a prioritization, investment and corporate perspective. Breakouts included David Ip and Enterprise Uses of Mobile. I attended this presentation and it was an excellent overview of the internal processes and strategies that have shaped Bluecross Blueshield’s foray into mobile applications and where they might be headed. It was instructive for industry insiders seeking to draw their own organizations into mobile; Additional sessions included RockFish’s Eric Bishop on Enterprise Mobile Applications; SparkPeople founders Chris Downie & Dave Heilmann; Verizon’s Rob Moretti with Go Mobile or Go Home. I sat in on this one also, and it was an excellent overview of the evolution of mobile capabilities, where global communication services are headed and opportunities to be exploited. This track also culminated in a panel discussion.
Bonus Track: Hands-On Workshop
Targeted to developers wanting to dive into Android and iOS app development with Christopher Rider & Eric Rolf, Learning to Program Your First iOS App in the morning. In the afternoon the workshop continued, focused on developing, marketing, and launching an app.
MobileX ended on a high note with a pitch contest featuring great ideas presented in a 3 slide, 3 minutes, 3 questions format. Venturepax won the day with a site to capture and share adventures. It is a cool idea with strong potential for product tie-ins and multiple revenue streams. Sign up for updates; it will be interesting.
“Hands down, MobileX is a ‘Do Not Miss' opportunity”
The next MobileX is in Lexington, Kentucky on Friday, April 13th. It will be held at the smaller (and pretty cool) Awesome Inc., so tickets will go fast. Reserve your spot today; you’ll have a great time, network with inspiring people and experience a full day of learning. I’ll be there, I hope you will be too.
We’re hoping to have MobileX in Columbus again this summer and we are working on details right now. I'll keep you posted & let me know if you are interested in joining in on an excellent day of opportunity.
Note: Portrait images and the MobileX header are from the conference website or LinkedIn.