You know the specter of the downturn has hit mobile when a super power like Google claims it can't attend participate in industry events because of budget constraints.
However, smart companies know that a sluggish economy spell opportunity for businesses that know how to move forward when the economy is standing still. Indeed, the doom-and-gloom mood hasn't stopped 50+ industry heavyweights from around the world from meeting in London in June for an executive brainstorm about the future profit opportunities in an open mobile world.
I am reminded of the recent MSG podcast with Tom Huseby, Managing Partner, SeaPoint Ventures, and his observation that there is plenty of money and opportunity in mobile, but it's up to entrepreneurs to structure their good ideas so VCs get it. Mobile has enjoyed an exceptionally high growth trajectory and even the credit crunch can't discourage VCs from investing. "On the whole, venture capitalists have not run out of money. The bars are high and it's difficult, but my gosh, my advice to entrepreneurs is keep working on your idea until it does appeal to the money, or don't use the money to do it." What has VCs excited? Open systems, open storefronts and open operators - and lots of apps.
Against this backdrop, the timing couldn't be better for an industry event sharply focused on what open is (and isn't). Yes, it's about new and increasingly open business ecosystems (where mobile operators can still play a central role provided they play according to the new rules). But open means much more. It's about the convergence of platforms and devices to blur the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds, and transform communication, content, advertising, search and retail.
More importantly, open is about the shift from command-control to coordinate-cultivate, a seismic shift in how we do business and make money.
How do we get there from here? What models are sustainable and which are hype? There are no easy answers. However, the Open Mobile Summit (June 10-11 in London), produced by Robin Batt, an independent consultant with 13 years experience in the space, certainly covers all the bases to offer attendees insights that will allow them to take charge of the wave of change rather than be crashed by it. (In fact, even Google is attending!)