The other day I tweeted that “AdMob selling to Google for $750 million today is like DoubleClick selling to AOL for $100 million in 1996.” I thought about that, first of all, because I admire Kevin Ryan, the CEO of DoubleClick, but most of all because I believe in the potential of the mobile internet.
I think the timing is right. Mobile right now is like the Internet in 1996: we haven’t even scratched the potential. The iPhone (and particularly the app store) was like the Netscape IPO: it was when it became obvious that mobile is huge.
I also think the valuations are right. There will be a lot more money to be made (and lost) in mobile than was made during bubble 1.0. Why? Simply because billions of people have mobile phones, and will soon have smartphones, and because the opportunities, relating to location, but also making payments and distribution easier, are bigger.
I also think the actors are right. AOL was the “blue chip” of the first wave of the internet. They played a huge part in making the internet huge, but their strategy eventually proved wrong. I actually think Google has made most of the right moves so far, but I’m convinced that the biggest companies in this new space won’t be Google, or Microsoft, or Yahoo! or whoever. They probably haven’t been created yet. (Although I think Foursquare has a ton of potential there.)
This is a short post, but I want to stake my ground here. I hope to come back to themes in the mobile space here soon.