Howdy everyone -- I'm back at home after some customer visits last week. Every time I write something that has an impact, I am out of town. Maybe I should go out of town all the time. ;-)
A few quick observations & some additional context for the post:
- First of all, let me say that I did not mean for the post to attack or criticize anyone in the LBS business. I have communicated with folks at all the major consumer LBS companies & they're all more or less good people. We may even partner with a few.
- I think the LBS people are trying to do too many things with their apps, and so from a business perspective they're good at closing the deals but the apps could be a lot better in the business metrics area.
- I do think that they're all overvalued for reasons that I pointed out in the post as well as some others that I didn't mention. But what I think really doesn't matter because value is based on what people will pay whether it is a venture capitalist, an investor, or a company that acquires one of these should it happen.
- The post was primarily written because I have seen all the PR around many of the major players & quite frankly have been impressed by how that has excited & energized the tech innovator community. I have been surprised to some extent that the major tech blogs haven't been a little more critical & demanding of the #s that are put out by consumer LBS companies.
- A number of people have written, however, about how a lot of technologies fail to make the leap to a mainstream audience because the tech crowd can't empathize with late adopters/middle America.
- I do think most of the LBS providers understand this more or less (ex. the Starbucks deal I cited in the article) and are working the problem.
- But they really aren't close IMO and I think they'll need a lot of help. We deal with a number of major brands and household names as well as local businesses. Very few of them look at LBS as a big opportunity. Most don't want it, and many don't even understand it. Their needs are different. Where there is interest, it is out of curiosity primarily & the need to not get left behind.
- And of course we haven't seen moves by all the major tech players, all of which will be doing major things in the location area.
- Ergo, there is a big gap between consumer LBS reality & the hype that needs to be closed.
I'd also add that there are some interesting applications of location technologies that are monetizing and are churning cash far better than consumer LBS. Wavemarket does some interesting things as do a number of other players who have focused on partnerships with major media to make things happen. I think this is the way it works -- LBS is an enabler that empowers big media to add location to their tech portfolios.
In the end, I think it all looks a lot different than it looks today -- and we'll all look back and get a good chuckle out of all of this. It will be an interesting few years as all of this evolves. I know we're looking forward to competing & bringing interesting and sustainable products to market.