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7 questions for Tom Gordon of Alienpants

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I remember the first time I met Tom at London’s Quo Vadis on Dean Street a good few years ago.  I had first ‘met’ him a while before that — not physically, but online.  I’ve been a copious user of a heck of a lot of internet communities since before there was really a defined ‘internet’ space.  So when I connected with Tom, swapped backgrounds and anecdotes, I felt good — because it’s always a bit comforting when you come into contact with people who have similar ideas and thoughts.

Way back in the 2000s, our company, Neo One, was heavily involved in
the provision of moderation or content control services to the new
media industry.  So I’d come across Tom’s firm, Alienpants, once or
twice in the course of work.  From memory it was a year or so after I’d come across them when we finally spoke. 

There are some people in this world that simply cannot ‘get’ talking via any other medium than in the physical world.  You have a discussion with them by email, by instant message or IRC — and decide everything.  All is good.  But they still insist on ‘having a meeting’.  Very annoying when it’s just not needed.  Well, Tom is one of those people who gets it, who gets the application of technology and how to use it to mutual success.  I get the impression that he, like me, would much rather complete a deal or a transaction online — rather than trekking 50 or 100 miles to sit and smile at each other.   😉

So we’ve only met once — and, well, I’m a huge fan of Quo Vadis myself, so together with his company, I really enjoyed the lunch.   If you do have occasion to visit the restaurant, you’ll generally find it frequented with ‘media types’.  Publishing and media in general.  Movies, TV, magazines.  It’s especially interesting to go and earwig the conversations of these old media tycoons who have absolutely no idea what a blog is, let alone a shortcode.  😉  I got quite a kick out of sitting there discussing ideas and concepts with Tom and having these designer-clad medjaaaa people trying to listen in to what he was saying.  Heh.

Tom’s company, Alienpants, has been around the block: They’ve got a substantial amount of experience across the new media landscape — I’m continually surprised and delighted to hear of their exploits!  A particular favourite is their game-tips-by-SMS service, GTIP.

So, to the questions:

1. What is your association with the mobile industry?  What’s your occupation?  What’s your background?
I’ve been involved directly with mobile content since 2001 when my company took over moderation services for the Game Network in the UK, swiftly followed up by the first (to our knowledge) game news SMS alerts service, then the Game Guru SMS to TV live program, and our flagship GTIP [launch press release] game cheats SMS service (which has now made it’s way onto T-Mobile in the UK and Germany 🙂 ).

We’ve also dabbled with other types of content, including wallpapers, ringtones and game distribution, and are putting a fair amount of effort into delivering existing PC & Console games news and reviews content via mobile platforms. We also license some of our bespoke SMS and mobile content management software to Mindmatics Ltd, are working with one of the carriers on some new mobile games-related services, and provide all the daily content for mobgames.tv, Monstermob’s leading mobile games portal.

My title is C.E.O., and I do a little bit of everything, from coding to content management to editorial, along with the usual bitsand pieces that come with running your own company.

I also contribute these days to the Mobile Weblog (www.mobile-weblog.com) as a regular ‘blogger’, alongside a couple of other sites.

2. What was your first mobile phone? Make/network?
Oh, it was too long ago to remember and was in a different country. I think it was some type of Nokia back in 1996. It weighed a significant amount, the battery didn’t last too long and the call quality was pretty bad, but it served it’s purpose.

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3. What current mobile devices do you use?

I currently have a Nokia 6630 as my daily phone, along with an old SonyEricsson I use for WAP testing. There’s a Nokia 7650 lying around as well, but that’s more for use as a paperweight than enything else. I also have a Sony PSP which I use a remarkable amount, especially since we run a PSP-formatted games news website. The mobile is being replaced soon, although I haven’t decided which handset to get yet given the limited choice in the UK. There’s a couple I would like (like the Xcute S500 which I keep going on about), but the handsets that catch my eye generally don’t make it over here.

4. Most used feature on your devices (apart from calling/texting)?
I use my 3G handset as a modem when I’m out and about. Well, not strictly a modem as I use a GPRS connection rather than as a normal modem which runs far too slow 🙂 I also use it to check email whilst I’m away from the office.

5. Name a mobile related service or product that caught your eye in the last week?
There’s nothing in the past week that’s really caught my eye in terms of mobile services or products. I did notice Tiggdo the other week as I have an interest in RSS readers, but other than this nothing has really stood out.

6. Name a recent blog you’ve found interesting (mobile related)
I read yours every day 🙂 I recently resubscribed to Monty’s Mobile Gaming Outlook, and I do enjoy reading Afternoon’s Journal and Moconews, along with Mobhappy.

7. Who do you rate in the mobile industry that I could contact  to put the same questions to them?
You should try Neil Holroyd at T-Mobile or Antony Douglas at O2, if they have time, along with Russell Buckley & Carlo Longini at Mobhappy, both guys I have a lot of respect for, despite not having met either of them. If you can catch him, you should also interview Paul Munford of PlayerX.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions Tom!

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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