I attended GigaOm Mobilize to get out of the comfort of the familiarity of the well known audience at a data center conference. Sitting on Twitter I realized two friends were in the audience watching as well. One friend who I have known for a while and always enjoy chatting with is Jay Fry. Jay wrote a blog post on Mobile and Fashion.
GigaOm’s Mobilize 2011 conference last week seemed to be a tale of two worlds – the enterprise world and the consumer world – and how they can effectively incorporate mobility into their day-to-day business. And in some cases, how they are failing to do that.
I could feel that some of the speakers (like Steve Herrod of VMware and Tom Gillis of Cisco) were approaching some of the mobility issues on the table with their traditional big, complex, enterprise-focused world firmly in view. Of course, that approach also values robustness, reliability, and incremental improvements. It’s what enterprises and their IT departments reward, and rightly so.
But there was another group of speakers at Mobilize, too: those who come at things with the consumer world front and center. Mobility was certainly not optional for these guys. Another telling difference: the first thing on the mind of these folks was user experience. This included the speakers from Pandora, Twitter, and Instagram, among others.
Even fashion was a dead give-away
In what seemed like an incidental observation at first, I’d swear you could tell what side of this enterprise/consumer divide someone would fall on based on how Mobilize speakers and attendees were dressed. The enterprise-trained people in the room (and I have no choice but to begrudgingly put myself in this category) were sporting dress shirts, slacks, and shiny shoes. Those that were instead part of the mobile generation were much more casual, in a simplistically chic sort of way. Jeans, definitely. Plus a comfortable shirt that looked a bit hipper. And most definitely not tucked in.
This latter group talked about getting to the consumer, with very cool ideas and cooler company names, putting a premium on the user experience. Of course, many of these were also still in search of a real, sustainable business model.
I got a chance to catch up with Jay and I told him how many of the executive interviews I had were consumer solutions and when I brought enterprise scenarios, the universal response was luke warm. Mobile = Consumer for start-ups. There were exceptions, but few.
Changing clothes/fashion can be hard. I have always been in the camp of not dressing in suits, preferring jeans, casual shoes. So changing fashion to Mobile is not hard, but what I am changing is adding some new clothes to my role. Almost all of you know me as a blogger. 4 years ago, I hadn't written a single post. Most of my career I spent as an engineer thinking. Thinking of how to solve tough problems in manufacturing, distribution, OS, applications, and enterprise management. Writing this blog has been fun, and has enabled me to take on a new role. Blogger -> Analyst. In the post Jay Fry mentions I am a GigaOm contributor. To be more specific, I am starting a new role as a GigaOm Pro Analyst writing on the data center industry.
In conversations with blogger and newly minted GigaOm contributor Dave O’Hara (@greenm3) and others at the event, I got a feeling that some of the folks immersed in the mobile side of the equation don’t have a good feel for the true extent of what enterprise adoption of a lot of these still-nascent technologies can mean, revenue-wise especially. Nor do they have a good understanding of all the steps required to make it happen in IT big organizations.
I am looking forward to a change of clothes, and hanging out with the GigaOm Pro Analysts to discuss new ideas. Below is a picture of the GigaOm Pro team dinner.