A quick overview of Devnest #7 last night

Last night I headed over to the Sun Microsystems Customer Briefing Centre on King William Street, just down the road from the Bank of England, to the Twitter Developer event, Devnest. This was the 7th incarnation. As I walked along King William Street I looked in the window and by chance saw a rather vacant looking Ben Smith standing with his laptop. He’d got there before me.

I checked-in to the event then headed straight over to Mr Smith to say hello. He was arsing around with his laptop. Looking up, he briefly said hi, before advising, “Never, ever get an integrated SIM module on a Dell, this thing never seems to work.”

The holding area began to fill up. A chap by the name of Gary Gale came by and handed me the obligatory sticker sheet.

“You might remember me,” says Gary, “We had a frank exchange of views over BlackBerry AppWorld on Twitter a while ago?”

“Shit!” I think, “Errr,” I say to Gary, “I… errr, was I a little bit direct?”

I began to remember the episode and actually, I think Gary did have a good point — I just disagreed. Turns out Gary was a speaker too. I hadn’t connected the Twitter name Vicchi with Gary Gale, top man at Yahoo Engineering for Geo Technologies. Gary’s presentation was all about WOEIDs, something I knew nothing about until he stood up and explained them. Fascinating — highly relevant to the Twitter developer audience and expertly delivered. You can catch Gary’s WOEID presentation here.

So Twitter developers — that’s what Devnest is all about — anyone who’s interested in creating services and mashups with Twitter would do well to go along. The Organisers had done a phenomenal job — the place was packed.

Michael Camilleri came bounding over to say hi. Michael is one of the chaps behind FooCall (See last week’s post: “International calling for… FooCall“). It was good to see him. As we were discussing the state of British Venture Capitalists (in the context of this post), Paul Webster of Critical Path arrived to give us a glimpse into what’s coming with ShoZu. I agreed not to spill the beans though. Steve Kennedy popped over to say hi and pointed out that he almost bought a ton of Critical Path email services when he was supervising business development for Demon back in the good old dotcom days. Steve presented his business, DBVU, to the audience later in the evening — the company provides centralised analytics and monitoring for MySQL database servers. Very smart indeed.

With oodles of pizza having arrived and been consumed along with a good amount of beers, we headed into the auditorium and got started. I was wondering precisely how my presentation would be received, given the copious amounts of iPhones on show.

Angus, one of the organisers, had asked me to give a kind of ‘state of the nation’ about mobile development, so I’d worked to create something like that, with due deference to the fact that most of the people in the room could write and deploy a desktop Twitter app in 180 seconds. Mobile might not be their forte, but I was working on the basis that they could easily adopt various mobile platforms with a low amount of friction, so I decided to keep it pretty high level.

The thrust of my argument was — yes, iPhone is great; Android..yeah… but please, please, please remember the fact that Nokia makes 1.4m handsets a day. A *DAY*. And don’t forget BlackBerry, either. And while you’re at it, a lot of the other platforms such as Vodafone 360 would be delighted to work with you.

Here’s the presentation:

The other presenter that evening, Paul Kinlan, was talking about Google Buzz. Paul is Developer Programmes Engineer at Google and, goodness me, he knew his stuff. I managed to keep up with most of the REST and CURL stuff — essentially he was outlining how Twitter developers could make use of the various Buzz APIs now becoming available. Very smart indeed.

I missed the majority of the pitch, but essentially they’re providing a search interface for Google Buzz. I doubt it’ll be long before they’re snapped up.

Todd Chaffee delivered his pitch, “Social Media ROI in 140 seconds” and had me thinking carefully about the ROI issues with social media. Fascinating stuff. If you’re interested in the field, Todd’s presentation is here. Definitely talk to him.

There’s been some great feedback from the event — I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to write a tweet regarding the presentation. It’s very kind of you. Instead of flooding my Twitter feed with ‘thank you, thank you’ messages, I have decided to cut’n’paste your messages and put a link into your Twitter profiles here on the site:

bensmithuk @3mobilebuzz Yep. Listening to @ew4n now. #devnest

vicchi I want @ew4n‘s tee-shirt #devnest

chaffeet 30% of mobile apps are still developed for RIM according to @ew4n at #devnest 7.

richardBarley @ew4n banging the drum for Symbian at #devnest. Great stuff and good to hear 🙂

iamdanw Being pitched at to develop apps for symbian again. Shame symbian is an awful app environment, for both users and developers #devnest

(Dan, I agree, but do check out — Qt is really going to change things for the platform)

stevekennedyuk Great talk by @ew4n about mobile state of play – it’s all about Symbian #devnest

ketan @ew4n I would’ve stayed with nokia but ui and sync with my computer for email/music much easier on iPhone #devnest

(Fair point Ketan, but remember, you’re using the equivalent of a Fisher Price handset — capable, but the one-thing-at-a-time user model drives me nuts)

vicchi Just heard @ew4n equate Vodafone 360 with wife swapping. Never thought #devnest would be this much fun.

natts Amusing yet realistic talk by @ew4n at#devnest – iPhone only has 14% of world smartphone market in 2009 –

michchapman At #devnest listening to @ew4n. Hmm when would be a good time to sneak out for more pizza?!

MarkABaker Fart apps is where its at. via @ew4n at #devnest

docstuart Enjoying first visit to #devnest, great first talk from @ew4n

ketan @ew4n great talk on mobile app development! Thanks. #devnest

MarkABaker missed recording @ew4n presentation at #devnest shame as execllent. Will ask him to do it again later on.

becva great first presentation from @ew4n #devnest

richardBarley Great talk from @ew4n on state of mobile development landscape. #devnest

nuxnix After @ew4n s talk at #devnest I am thinking the unthinkable – switching my iPhone. No not back to Symbian, but to give Android a try

@ew4n great presentation on #devnest yesterday

micrypt @ew4n Thanks for the splendid talk at #devnest yesterday.

Thank you everyone for your patience and attention — and thank you to the organisers for inviting me.

By the way: The organisers of Devnest have a 48-hour hackathon event coming soon, all focused on twitter. It’s called WarbleCamp and it’s on the 8th and 9th of May in London. Plus, it’s free. All the details you need are here:

Finally, kudos to the sponsors of Devnest: PayPalX, Inuda, Sun Startup Essentials and Multizone Limited.

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.

4 replies on “A quick overview of Devnest #7 last night”

Ewan, thanks for the kind mention. Everyone was buzzing last night about what a great Devnest event it was and your presentation was what kicked it all off. I worked as a consultant for Vodafone and 3 Mobile for 5 years and it was very refreshing to hear your presentation and the reality of the mobile phone market compared to people's perception.

You're too kind. Your presentation was very well thought out and held the full attention of a developer audience more used to criticising obfuscated code….

I wasn't there in person, but simply looking at the slides it was a really informative and proabably eye opening to many (including me) presentation. Some thoughts and questions, I have on the slides (please correct me if I am wrong).
1)Using advertising only in mobile does seem very very poor? Especially after quite a strong showing on the iphone and also assuming that 0870 would be a repeat usage app.
2) We know the 'youth' 18-25 market quite well (having graduated a couple of years ago and setup a business angel backed student only social network straight out of uni about the same time when facebook was for students only in the u.k – mid 2006). So I totally get what you are saying about symbian in terms of numbers (dont ignore it etc). However in this young adult age range, we have spoken directly to so many students, grads etc who have Nokia smartphones and most of them were not aware of what the ovi store was, or if they were were they were not that app hungry as their iphone peers. Most of them knew more about iPhone specific apps and spoke about them with sense of longing and desire! So my point is it may look great on the numbers of units sales/front but the app buying and also willing to pay mentality seems very different. We have not come across a developer with a paid application for say the U.K market saying it we smashed it and earnt us in the region of or had this many downloads at a price of x. I'm sure they are out there but may have not been profiled.
3) Aquisition Requests 3: Just to confirm, does this mean the developer has had 3 buyout offers. If so at $9 a day revenue why would that be an aquistion target?
4) I think just like the internet, anybody can create a site out of the millions that are out there, the marketing etc is that hard part. I have met some developers who maybe dont have the best app ideas and also think that being on the app store and submitting it to a few review sites will do the trick. Maybe because they are technical developer guys, unlike us we are all about the marketing and getting in people's faces from the ground level which may still not work. A recent discussion between Jason Calacanis and Michael Robertson on TWIST, they were saying it all about the distribtuion/marketing etc. So I think the app store is a lottery if you think the app store alone is going to save the day for you (which you pointed out in your presentation) but not so much if you have a unique idea and going to go ground level up with some 'sweat equity' gary vaynerchuck style.
We also think that the mobile web should not be forgotten and there is so much app focussed coverage (as highlighted by Mark Suster from the States –…), especially if your service can be combined with apps (which are the in thing at the moment) , as it has worked well for the innovative guys at Flirtomatic (which you have covered many times) and the likes of shazam which was shortcode only for many years and AQA well before the app rush.
4) Apologies for so many questions and doing your nut in, as we are from the internet world and youth marketing freaks and now getting into mobile, we are just trying to wrap our head around this ever changing world which you are helping us to make a sense of!
P.S. Are there any kind of mobile specific seminars etc. you hold for entrepreneurs like us? Everything we have seen so far is very web and internet marketing centric, and if it is mobile it is usually at the high media agency and big brand level.
Thank You

Hey, thanks for the mention 🙂

I thought the presentation was awesome, it was very eye opening. I never realised the volumes of phones that Nokia still sell.


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