And the 5th Academy is up and running!

Back to our lovely Idea London venue with a brand new first night session. We tried out a new format where Steve & Sean lead the drawing of some tech­nical archi­tec­ture dia­grams with input from the techies in the room and plenty of ques­tions from the rest! We came away with some under­standing of infra­struc­ture and nomen­clature. Ready to delve further as the course progresses.

Great to have Sean and Steve back as experts in their field and alumni of pre­vious courses.

Steve Devo & Sean Bedford give us the Tech Overview on our first night.

Steve Devo & Sean Bedford give us the Tech Over­view on our first night.

1st Night

Par­ti­cipants of our 5th Academy take in the tech­nical defin­i­tion of a “framework”

Great also to see alumni Chris Michael and Niall Roche as well as a lovely sur­prise visit from Viji, our Android Tutor. Looking forward to more alumni popping in as we progress.

#needtoknowmobile for Marketers by Alex Meisl

Alex-MeislWhat happened to the “Year of Mobile”?

I get a near uncon­trol­lable urge to punch someone when I hear this ques­tion. Cer­tainly, mobile has “made it” and yet curi­ously, even now, despite all the jus­ti­fying signs, brands still under­in­vest dramatically.

Before I go any further and elicit grumbles from those who have nothing better to do, “Mobile” to my mind is any device which is not tied down to a fixed loc­a­tion and as well as smart­phones also includes wear­ables, tablets, phab­lets and any other w*nky ter­min­o­logy coined by someone on the West Coast.

My chums at Ipsos MORI have come up with two com­pel­ling and light-hearted facts which demon­strate the sig­ni­fic­ance of mobile:

  • One in three adults would rather give up sex than their smartphone
  • Two in three adults would rather give up alcohol (I suspect that their sample group did not include many people in the agency space).

Despite this, the painful truth is that most brands are out of their comfort zone and don’t devote the atten­tion or neces­sary budgets to max­imise their oppor­tun­ities in this bur­geoning space. A final stat which the industry rolls out on a depress­ingly fre­quent basis is the Mary Meeker Media Con­sump­tion versus Advert­ising spend graph. The annual launch of her research is greeted with the same level of anti­cip­a­tion by hard­core mobile fans as the new foot­ball season, the glor­ious 12th for grouse lovers or the next launch date of any “i” product for Apple fans. Mary’s chart shows the dis­con­nect between time spent con­suming dif­ferent media-types and budgets devoted to them.The two biggest anom­alies are print media which con­sumes 19% of budgets invested against only 5% of time spent con­suming it, and mobile media where budgets barely reach 4% despite 20% of media con­sump­tion now being on a mobile device.

What to do?
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, how about fol­lowing tried and tested tra­di­tional busi­ness dis­cip­lines? By this, I mean go back to basics by working out what the cus­tomer wants and what you are trying to achieve. Then work out the chan­nels and tools which are most appro­priate for your audience.

Depending on your industry, you prob­ably need to con­sider this non-exhaustive list:

  • How does your audi­ence engage with you at present?
  • What per­centage of visits to your website are from a mobile device?
  • Is your mobile offering location-aware? (if I am out and about and want to know my nearest store for a spe­cific product, then mobile can be a great help. If I am standing in the store, then I want my device to recog­nise this and turn into a store guide.)
  • What are the key answers that a cus­tomer is looking for or prob­lems they are trying to solve when they come to your site?

Without a doubt this will help you realise that mobile should be sitting at the heart of your mar­comms strategy. You might even be one of the enlightened few (step forward and take a bow, Face­book, Google and House of Fraser amongst others) by adopting a “Mobile First” strategy.

Right, you’re getting there. However, do not, under any cir­cum­stances, fall for the evil seductress that is “sexy tech­no­logy” or the “shiny new toy” unless there is both a com­pel­ling reason to do so (maybe winning awards is your only KPI?) and you have got your basic strategies and offer­ings in place. In the good old days (no more than two years ago!) mobile users were for­giving if they had a bad exper­i­ence on their device. Not so anymore. Research shows con­sumers are more likely to go to a com­pet­itor brand if they are sub­jected to a rubbish time on their mobile.

Whilst an app, Bluetooth, QR code or Aug­mented Reality or iBeacons might be the right way for you to go – sort out the basics first and ensure that your core cus­tomers have a delightful exper­i­ence, and remember that research shows that every pound spent on mobile, delivers a dis­pro­por­tion­ately higher bang for your buck than other channels.

Alex is co-founder and Chairman of Sponge and WiForia (the in-store engage­ment company) – and is former Chairman of the Mobile Mar­keting Asso­ci­ation. Alex also tutors at The Mobile Academy. You can catch his and other expert tutor ses­sions on our next academy starting 30th September.


As our 5th academy approaches and we get ready for an all-alumni drinks on Friday, we look back to the Summer of 2012 — not because of the Olympics — oh no — but because it was our first academy!

Happily, we have con­tinued to attract a diverse crowd; from freel­ance developers, to agen­cies — large and small, from mar­keters to those in between jobs, many with ideas that they want to kick around, some already working full time on their new ven­tures. As an example of the diversity, in this video, from the first pro­gramme, we see the large agen­cies rep­res­ented: Sammi from M&C Saatchi and Clare from Atos; Brian, Andy and Chris who are all still working on their Start Ups and Dave who is working on eHealth Soft­ware Product Devel­op­ment at Imperial.

Alumni from The Mobile Academy on Vimeo.

Lots has happened with the par­ti­cipants of the first course, in the two years since attending. Many have brought new products to beta and some to full market launch; some have managed to get the jobs that they wanted focus­sing on mobile; others have won awards, got the top of app stores and raised funding.

Here is also a review of how the academy is con­trib­uting to London’s Mobile Eco­system.

Further Reading — Insights from Forum Oxford #needtoknowmobile

Thanks to Pan­telis Mourato­glou from our 4th Academy for sharing his thoughts: 

1. The first major thought raised by Haydn Shaugh­nessy was whether busi­nesses have really under­stood how sig­ni­fic­antly mobile is trans­forming their markets. That the big mobile com­mu­nic­a­tions pro­viders find it chal­len­ging to keep up with the evol­u­tion of tech­no­logy? Karim Lesina gave us a good example of how dif­fi­cult it was for AT&T to keep up with 3G and 4G. The lesson was how important it was to invest in innovation.

2. Emer­ging markets vs Mobile – Today 170m mobile devices operate in Brazil. Revenue made in mobile 2013: $25bn with $70bn to be made from mobile in Brazil in 2017 according to Patricia Timoner. It was inter­esting to find out also that Brazilians do not mind ads — in fact they enjoy them!

3. Can I fund my app without going to the bank? In line with Sean Kane’s present­a­tion, crowd­funding is increasing in volume ($-wise and player-wise). Com­munities like F6s help the start-up world to connect. (Note: he is a founder at F6s)

4. The top 5 coun­tries with the highest com­bined revenue for both app stores (Google + Apple) are South Korea, China, Japan, US, UK. The best App ana­lytics tools, according to Chris Book: Flurry, AppSee, X-Mobile Tracking.

5. Mick Rigby, Richard Downey and Tony Pearce all emphas­ized the sig­ni­fic­ance of making your app dis­cov­er­able and then keeping high levels of engage­ment with your cus­tomers post-download. Have a look at Peggy Anne Salz’s  book — Appo­nomics. Jeanette Carlsson gave us the tip of focus­sing first on what the cus­tomer wants and needs before and be focussed about where to reach them.

6. If you want to know how to reach inter­na­tional audi­ences for your start-up in 3 years, look up Lee Omar’s journey — and I would also recom­mend readying about Patrick Bergel’s story.

7. Security - listening to David Rogers made me realise how important security is in this fast moving environment.

8. The power of media is to a certain extent shifting away from media pro­viders to people thanks to mobile. Proof of citizen journ­alism according to Tineka Smith, is found during last year’s protests in Turkey, where people become the media. Cath­erine Mul­ligan on Internet of Things (IoT), created a picture where inter­con­nectivity con­structs a world full of smart cities. Life is sup­posed to be easier (smarter) with inter­con­nectivity. But how sure can we be about that?

Overall, it was a great exper­i­ence where I got most recent updates about mobile and met awesome people that have made it in mobile. I found out about the con­fer­ence through The Mobile Academy so ulti­mately, thanks goes back to you guys!


Insights from an audience with @RussellBuckley #needtoknowmobile

I asked par­ti­cipants to note down key insights and quotes from the Q&A session with Russell Buckley and here is the smor­gas­bord we got:

  • If you haven’t read The Lean Start-up, you should
  • You can’t do a start-up part time
  • A part of busi­ness is about learning from your mistakes
  • The time to give up your day job is tomorrow
  • Just because some­thing can be done doesn’t mean it should be done
  • Try to let data drive your decisions
  • Timing is very important for innovation
  • On recruit­ment: Trust your gut feel, your stomach is your 2nd brain
  • I’m not a digital native, I’m a digital immig­rant — the context was that founders really ought not to be working on products that are outside of their natural exper­i­ences — so Russell would not see himself starting a new tech busi­ness for teenagers
  • On co-founders: you must like and respect each oter and have clear areas of responsibility
  • Not everyone can be an entre­preneur, so make sure you’re really com­mitted to the idea before you start and try and find ways to con­stantly improve your per­form­ance through ment­oring, reading and talking to your peers
  • Don’t get carried away by and idea — make sure there is a marketRussell
  • Don’t have more than 2 or 3 founders
  • Speed can be the big advantage for start-ups
  • Have a vision and be able to com­mu­nicate it — being good at com­mu­nic­a­tion is a very important skill
  • The board of dir­ectors should be an odd number, but never more than two”  Russell quoting the dude from Fiat!
  • Touch Surgery are a really good example of some­thing I am excited about right now
  • You can take on the big guys and win if you focus on doing one thing and doing it really well - the context was not to get dis­tracted if a cus­tomer asks you to solve a dif­ferent problem that the one you are offering a solu­tion for

Many thanks to Russell for taking the time to come and be inter­viewed by us — it was a total pleasure - full of prac­tical, been-there-done-it advice and fired us all up!

Further reading on Agile from @CraigStrong

Thanks to Craig for a fab­ulous debut at the academy last week. Here is some further reading in response to the many ques­tions that you asked!

Agile At Spotify (Case Study)


Made By Many — Skype In The Class Room (Case Study)


Free monthly meet ups Dis­cussing real work applic­a­tion of Agile


Some recent talks
Jeff Gothelf — Building Suc­cessful In-House Innov­a­tion Teams
Sophie Freier­muth — Integ­rating UX into your Agile team
Roman Pichler — Making Agile Product Roadmaps work ­
Emily Webber from GDS 


Free Ebook cov­ering real life applic­a­tion of Scrum
This book aims to give you a head start by providing a detailed down-to-earth account of how one Swedish company imple­mented Scrum and XP with a team of approx­im­ately 40 people and how they
con­tinu­ously improved their process over a year’s time.


Car Built Using Scrum


Basic Intro Guide To Scrum


Scrum for star­tups


Agile at GDS (Tra­di­tional envir­on­ment where lot’s of paper­work existed that shifted)

Drop In Night

P1050886At Drop In Night you will each be able to select 3 x 20 minute ses­sions. This will be on a first come first serve basis from 6.25pm — so depending on what time you arrive, you may not get your first choices.

To make the most out of Drop In Night:

  • Take a look at the list of experts (check out the Who’s Who) and think through who you most want to get a session with
  • Prac­tice your elev­ator pitch — with only 20 minutes, you want to get to your ques­tions as quickly as you can
  • Con­sider teaming up — perhaps you have the same ques­tion as someone else and you can share ses­sions … more bang for your buck
  • If you do not want any advice, ask others if you can sit in on their sessions

Here are the list of sur­geries on offer (there may be some small changes to this list)

Niall Roche — Tech­nical App Devel­op­ment
Richard Groves — iOS Devel­op­ment
Tim Closs — Cross Plat­form Devel­op­ment
Meaghan Fitzgerald — Mar­keting
Paul Philips — Brand
Michel Sabatier — Getting invest­ment
Ann Zit­ter­kopf — Building a Busi­ness
Viji Pathy — Android Devel­op­ment
John Spindler — Fin­an­cing
Alastair Moore — Busi­ness Models & Lean
Jo Rabin — Tech & Busi­ness Advice
Priya Prakash — Design
Sam Harper — Legal
Craig Strong — Scrum & Lean
Elliot Dell — Career Management