Mobile Web 2.0 – The Book

Bumping into Ajit Jaokar and Tony Fish at MediaTech and Ajit again at the launch of MobileMonday, Germany this Monday, prompted me to finally get round to reviewing their book on Mobile Web 2.0, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. No excuses for my tardiness, but I have been a little busy with one thing and another recently. 

Any book which quotes me can’t be all bad :-) and sure enough, Mobile Web 2.0 doesn’t disappoint. If you work in mobile (or want to work in mobile), you should read this as a fairly comprehensive view of the mobile industry, the value chain, trends and issues facing the main players. 

In my view, the purpose of a good business book is to provoke, as much to teach, and force you to come to your own opinions on the issues it raises. Mobile Web 2.0 certainly does this and while I don’t necessarily agree with some of Ajit and Tony’s conclusions and opinions, neither can it be argued that they’re conclusively wrong in absolute terms – we have to wait for history to take its course.
As an example, their confidence that Ajax will be of central importance on the mobile platform doesn’t seem reasonable to me given the current state of the industry, but hey, what do I know about technology? Ultimately, maybe, but it seems a distant vision right now. Equally, trying to apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to how we use mobile phones seems a little contrived. 

Where I do take issue with the chaps though¬†is where they veer into areas they don’t know much about, especially mobile marketing/advertising.¬†For instance, they blithely assert¬†that a movie made for $5 million “could well be funded by advertising”. Could it?¬† Well, if we’re talking $20 CPM (which seems a high to medium number), to recoup $5 million, you’d have to get it seen by 250,000,000 people, which seems somewhat ambitious.¬†Hope I’ve got my maths right on that one, but if I have and you’re busy producing a $5 million movie you want to get funded by advertising, I suggest you think again.

I know I always make the same observation with Ajit’s books and in fairness, this one is a considerable improvement on the last one. But it could really do with a damn good seeing to in the editing department. This book is relatively typo-free, but there’s more to the editing art than a manual spellcheck. How arguments are made and expressed could be considerably improved and essentially taking a bunch of blog posts and stitching them together with some more words, doesn’t make a great reading experience and detracts at times from the message the authors are trying to get across.

But these are niggles really. On the plus side, there’s loads of case studies and examples of what’s happening “in the wild” and simply loads of food for thought.¬†

Should you read it? Absolutely. Order your copy today and read it over the holidays. That’ll help you approach the New Year with some fresh thinking and better understanding of what this mobile thing is all about and where it might be going.

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