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Mobile first sometimes maybe

In reponse to Fred Wilson’s post:

First, I think you can’t abandon mobile. It is the future like it or not. And second, I think it is critical to design for mobile first and then build a web companion.

Which was a response to a post I really enjoyed last week from Vibhu Norby:

We want to place our chips where we believe we have the best chance of succeeding based on our theories and data. For us, mobile is not that place, which is why our new product is going to be launching web-first in the next couple months, with mobile as a companion app. We are taking a big bet on the web and the Internet in general, as you’ll see by how it functions. We are also going revenue-first because we believe in privacy and we’re willing to trade a smaller, slower-growing audience for it. 

Here are some consumer companies who I wished had a mobile first product, cause they would totally rock.

… Wow, it was actually really hard for me to come up with companies who aren’t building mobile as their primary platform even if they should.  Instead, I can think of lots companies I respect who are mobile-awesome:

  • Path
  • Foursquare
  • Twitter
  • Lift
  • Flipboard
  • Square

What’s more interesting are companies that evolved to kick ass on the web, and their opportunities on mobile isn’t clear cut.  Transferring everything you can do on the web to the mobile screen is a recipe for bloat and a messy incoherent product. They all have great mobile apps and I’m curious to see how their mobile footprint plays out, because they have opportunities to tweak and selectively dice up their ecosystems in wonderful ways (or even go in a new direction) depending on the platform.

  • Tumblr
  • Soundcloud
  • Rdio
  • Pinterest
  • Jetsetter
  • Mint
For consumer companies, you have to figure out what your product is and who it’s suppose to appeal to and especially what it does, then I think it’s easier to say that “this should be developed on mobile first” or “that should be developed on the web first”.  
Each platform has its own strengths — for mobile, products that get you to do discreet actions (listen to a track, snap a photo, text a few words, check in, documenting your life) perform really well because you do them in context of the real world around you. Conversely, exploring content, analyzing data, listen to a playlist, or searching for xyz product is appealing on the web, because you’re plugged in at a station and you have the luxury of concentrated time.