I will be delivering the keynote address to CTIA, The Wireless Association, in May in Las Vegas. In my keynote I will discuss the impact of mobile technology on geopolitics, the global economy, education, science, and much more. Below is a pre-event interview CTIA conducted with me at MicroStrategy headquarters.
Customers Pay the Bills
The most intelligent telephone companies are about to become banks, and it’s not clear to me how the banks stop them. I recently met with some bank owners and their responses to how technology is changing their business and their customers’ expectations was shocking.
The Changing Nature of Big Data: Global Networks
We are entering a world where a small retailer, next year, will have more intelligence at their fingertips than Wal-Mart had two years ago. Facebook is going to be a universal consumer database, and it’s going to have more data than anybody in the history of the world, and it’s going to be interesting to everybody on Earth.
So we decided to build a universal market database with all this information in it. We take that Facebook data, we join it with Google data, with Wikipedia data, with Apple data, with government databases, clean it, deduplicate it, turn it around and then offer that as a service.
Mobile Devices as Fashion Accessories
You put a PC underneath a desk, you don’t care that it’s loud and it’s hot and it’s a power hog and it’s heavy, and it’s an ugly beige cabinet with screws showing. You just want it to be $400 or $500.
On the contrary, you put a phone in your pocket, and you sleep on it or next to it, so you care whether it’s hot. You care what it looks like. You care about the battery life. You care about the radio. You don’t have to be a genius to run Apple Computer. You just have to, every year, make the product a bit lighter, a bit more elegant, a bit faster, and make it a better battery.
So for those who think the price point of mobile devices will taper down and follow the trend of the PC, think again. The truth of the matter is, when the technology goes from being a utilitarian, vocational brick that I put under my desk to being a piece of clothing, a fashion statement, an extension of your personality, a piece of jewelry, at that point, they can hold that price point forever.
Technology: The Companies That Get It
Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple all get it. They understand the power of mobile technology. Google and Amazon are the two hardest working companies in the business while Facebook and Apple are the two child prodigy geniuses.
Mobile Mercantile Network
We’re moving into a world where the mobile merchantile network will encompass five to six billion people. When products dematerialize into software, the cost of transmitting these goods goes to zero. When your software is on a global network, if you win the first billion people then you will win the next five billion. And these first billion all have something in common, they all spend in convertible currency, generally dollars, and they all embrace American technology. They’re going to spend in dollars. They’re going to embrace American language, American culture, American technology, American values, American ways of doing business. If you can’t win that market, you’re probably not going to stay in the business.
The End of Identity Theft
There’s 100 million organizations in the world that have obsolete credentials. Everybody from the Social Security Department to the 15 million small retailers in India and the five million small retailers in the U.S. Everybody’s got an ID card. None of it works.
A Social Security Card has your name and a bunch of numbers on it. Anyone can use it. A healthcare card is easy to counterfeit. There’s $220 billion in credit card theft every year and there’s a trillion dollars worth of fraud and vice in the healthcare industry, insurance industry, and other businesses. But once you dematerialize your ID, whether it be a credit card, student ID, passport, healthcare card, or driver’s license, into software running on a smartphone, you can’t lose it, you can’t tamper with it, no one can steal it or counterfeit it. Mobile technology will obliterate identity theft.
Happy New Year! The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, recently interviewed me about The Mobile Wave. Here are a couple of the first segments. More segments will follow.
The Mobile Wave Will Dematerialize Half of the World’s Economy
The Mobile Wave will do what the Internet Wave could not do, obliterate industries. The Internet Wave affected 350 million white collar workers, 15 hours a week. With the Mobile Wave, we are going to see six billion people running software on a smartphone, 150 hours a week, that is 10x easier to use and 10x more powerful than any application on a desktop. Mobile software today is 100x better and 1000x more ubiquitous than web software was a decade ago. The impact of this will be the dematerialization of half of our civilization’s economy into software.
Dim Future for the PC
The market understands smartphone trends but it completely underestimates the tablet. We are headed to a world of six billion people with smartphones augmented by ten to twelve billion tablets. Everybody with a phone will have a smartphone and everybody with a smartphone will have a tablet. We will see four to six billion vocational tablets embedded everywhere, in cars, boats, planes, assembly lines, classrooms, hotels, etc. The PC is 3 to10x more expensive to operate than a tablet. So why not eliminate the Dell computer and give everyone tablets? The Mobile Wave will create some knowledge workers so there may be a place in the market for PCs but the best days are behind it and the future is looking dim.