Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Mobile Web - Just the Beginning

Searching Google for Le Web Mobile or "Le Web Mobile" you'll find some interesting though contradictory results: people claiming the mobile web is dead, explaining why it sucks, pleading to keep it open, selling software to make an application mobile web-friendly and finally also me: blogging on the web, on mobile technologies, being mobile and mobile entrepreneurship.

What is it then, this controversial mobile web? Tony and Ajit over at Open Gardens define it as follows:

"Your experience of preferred services on a restricted device."

Check their site for an in-depth explanation of what they mean. Interestingly, the appreciation of this experience, since they wrote this piece in 2006, seems to have changed drastically: on April 23rd Russell Beattie of Mowser, a service that renders websites for use on mobiles, in a highly discussed interview, said that "the traffic never showed up, and what did show up was of questionable quality at best... It's not there now, and it won't be". (source).

What I believe: change just didn't come that quick. We are seeing the beginning of an incredible uptake and distribution of mobile web usage just now (research here and here).

  • Being able to access the Internet with more and more phones
  • where you can actually use the web "as is" or have a dedicated application and
  • the new set of browsers like Opera Mobile as well as
  • website providers using mobile stylesheets
are just starting to give users beyond the earliest of adopters a good experience when trying it.
IMHO, the majority of people (crossing the chasm) just started to tinker with the idea.

Add the advantages that we will be able to take of spatial information and analyses of what people need, can do and actually use on the go to the basic preconditions of compatible hardware, browsers and mobile stylesheets and I can't see the end of the mobile web, I actually see the beginning.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

New Ventures Mexico

I started working for New Ventures Mexico a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was time to quickly present what they're doing, the projects I'm involved in and to spread a little link-love for their website and blog (here are two of my posts).

New Ventures
New Ventures promotes sustainable growth in emerging markets by accelerating the transfer of capital to businesses that deliver social and environmental benefits at the base of the economic pyramid (source).

New Ventures

It's a 5 country (Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Indonesia) initiative by the Markets and Enterprise program of the World Resources Institute. We select SMEs ("the missing middle") in fast growing sectors (e.g. ecotourism, renewable energy, clean tech) in emerging markets and support them to scale their businesses by providing access to capital, consulting services, a network of entrepreneurs and a media platform.

New Ventures Mexico
is operating in several different areas. They provide Incubator (helping entrepreneurs in the idea stage) and Business Accelerator (proven businessess wanting to scale their operations) services and this is also the area where I'm working in. Additionally they advise companies on GRI and CSR and will shortly launch the first sustainable products and services directory (Las Páginas Verdes).

My Projects
I've been developing a set of socioeconomic and environmental indicators to be able to measure the positive impact of our portfolio companies more precisely.

Last week I started working on a pilot scheme to help save the Vaquita Marina, an endangered cetacean (whales and dolphins) species that lives in the North of the Gulf of California. Estimates are that there are only 200-600 specimen left and with the current rate of 40-80 dying a year, it could be the first cetacean to disappear due to human activities. The largest cause of mortality is that it is trapped in gill nets used to fishing sharks, spanish mackerel and other species. New Ventures Mexico will be responsible for advising on the economic transformation and supported by several other NGOs and the Mexican government in other areas.

Vaquita Marina

I'm really happy that I chose to come here. My work's interesting (and I can apply my knowledge and efforts in one of my areas of interest: the Bottom of the Pyramid theory), the team is awesome and it's an interesting new experience working for a NGO and in Mexico.

Links:
- Vaquita Marina
- San Felipe
- New Ventures Mexico

Images:
- Vaquita Marina habitat: VaquitaMarina.org
- New Ventures: NewVentures.org

Monday, 19 May 2008

The Mobile Chat: Join us

Cornelius, blogger and fellow founder, just started a public chat on all things mobile on Skype.

The topic: "Mobility, Mobile Trends & Technologies, Mobile Entrepreneurship & Beyond". He writes that "it is meant as a place for short qualitative announcement messages and a place for interesting discussions with the focus on mobile, the market of the future."

It will be interesting to see how this develops. If you're interested, come and join us! You can access the chat here or by clicking on the link in the sidebar.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Second But Elsewhere & CoWorking Mexico

I recently wrote about an idea for a SMS Taxi service in Mexico. After I discussed the post with a friend of mine he said that "actually, people at ESCP-EAP should come up with those kind of ideas all the time". And he's right. (Background: ESCP-EAP is a BSchool in Europe, they offer, inter aliae, a great three year-three country-three languages MSc program)

Given that you study business and get to know (at least three) vibrant cities in Europe, there should be plenty of opportunities to observe proven business models in one country and a lack of these products or services in another. Some random ideas I had: self-service video rentals in the UK, which I didn't see in Spain or a lunch salad bar, which I used to go to when I worked at Cognosis (recently they're popping up in Paris and Germany).

Another idea in this SBE (Second But Elsewhere, as mentioned here) category: A CoWorking space in Mexico City.

coworking (blog)

CoWorking is a "cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents". They basically offer different monthly subscription models (from one day to 5 days a week), an individual desk, wireless, access to kitchen facilities, the possibility to rent a meeting room and last but not least: the company of fellow workers.

There are about 100 cities covered in the U.S. and Canada alone (including initiatives to set one up). They offer at least one, often multiple spaces. And there are a couple of them further south in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay as well. Why is it that in Mexico this idea hasn't gained a foothold yet? I definitely see an opportunity here (given the size of Mexico City and additionally the many visitors from the U.S., Europe and other countries to the city).

Coworking Brooklyn

What do you think?

Images by:
Hillary_h (coworking logo) and NoNeck (coworking Brooklyn)