SAN FRANCISCO — In an opening session at Open Mobile Summit, Trip Hawkins – a storied Silicon Valley entrepreneur best known for founding Electronic Arts – tantalized the audience with a surprising observation: “Convenience trumps performance,” he said.
Focusing on perfection just may be counterproductive in an era of speed, he suggested Tuesday at this confab of leaders from cellular carriers such as Sprint, retailers such as Walmart, payments innovators such as MCX, and traditional payments companies such as American Express.
“Customers give up performance to get convenience. We accept tremendous declines in quality,” said Hawkins, who pointed to the shift from landline phones to cellular phones and also the quality degradation in shifting movie viewing from a theater’s big screen to a handheld device.
He also pointed to his personal shift from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail, where the former has considerable power but the latter, despite its limited feature set, just is very convenient because it is accessible from any device, anywhere.
“In the U.S. it is about good enough,” said Hawkins who connected the dots thusly: “The public has been shifting from desktop computers to mobile phones as their primary computers.”
Hawkins’ prediction: these trends will only accelerate, meaning that we are only at the beginning of a mobile revolution.
A plus: in this environment it only gets easier, and cheaper, for institutions with stories to get their messages out. “You can be two guys and a dog with no money and you can still get people to notice what you are doing,” said Hawkins.