Creating Your Own Wake

As a founder your survival is a function of how you create your own wake.

Wikipedia defines a wake as:

A wake is the region of recirculating flow immediately behind a moving or stationary solid body, caused by the flow of surrounding fluid around the body. There is formation of vortex in the wake which is the region of low pressure in it.

…The formation of these waves in liquids is analogous to the generation of shockwaves in compressible flow, such as those generated by rockets and aircraft traveling supersonic through air.

wake

Circulating flow.

Vortex.

Pressure.

Shockwaves.

If you read the entire definition you’ll likely get lost in a hell of a lot of science but those are the words that jump out to me when I read the definition of wake. It doesn’t just apply only to water either, if we could see movements of air we’d be seeing the impacts of wakes and shockwaves all around us.

To me, in human terms wake simply means your lasting impact on the world around you.

I have been thinking about this phenomenon recently since I made the leap back into entrepreneurship as a founder, (re)discovering all the painful and challenging issues you deal with as you are just starting out. So many things are working against you and the inertia of the world is quite similar to the inertia of water. A boat doesn’t create a wake unless its moving. Same for us. Forward progress in life requires some sort of energetic force to drive you forward, pushing against the inertia of the world and creating a wake that ripples outwardly away from you and positively impacting others around you.

There’s some social science for ya.

One of the most important lessons I learned in the last couple of years is you can make the entrepreneurial path a little easier by creating a wake around/behind yourself. This is not easy, because it requires effort and energy to do things we generally don’t want to do.  Going above and beyond our normal comfort zone to stand out is almost the antithesis to what we as humans feel we want to be doing each day/week/month.

But standing out – creating a wake impacting others – is what is required of you as a first time founder who is desperately wanting to make it to the next level. That or get lost in the thousands of others vying for the same attention, money and position.

What would a wake look like in real life? How would it involve humans, social interactions, business decisions, etc?

I find the key to gaining an edge when just starting out is finding specific actions to take to create a wake in an industry – shockwaves that keep spreading and impacting people you might not even have direct contact with.

Start writing on topics people in your industry might find interesting, posting them on social media and guest posting on other media outlets. Who cares what you write about (okay that’s kind of harsh but you get what I am saying) and what others might comment on, just having a voice and putting it out there places you at the top 10% in your industry. Be consistent in your writing efforts and don’t worry your audience will find you. Create video or other visual content which is entertaining and educational and that others can share with their networks. It doesn’t exactly matter what you record and put out, it just matters that you start and don’t stop so others start to recognize you. Organize local events and meetups around relevant industry topics so you can help others connect with each other. Be seen and be known. Work on and release products which are both interesting and have high potential to change your industry. Who knows, you might learn something new! Carry yourself, shake hands and talk in a way where people will be impressed.

These are the things people remember, they are what people share with others and what sticks in a room once you leave. That’s your wake.

 

Advertisements

Build Your Boat Now Before The Mobile Tsunami Washes You Away

The wave is coming. Like a tsunami that starts miles off shore, unnoticeable to the human eye in the middle of the ocean but gradually builds up speed and power as it gets closer to land, a mobile tidal wave is most definitely building. And it’s forming right in front of our very eyes.

You may have noticed people aren’t looking up very much anymore. No, when you see a person nowadays they are most likely looking down at their hand. Next time you are on public transportation, in a restaurant, at the mall or any other pubic (or private) place, take your eyes off your device and just watch people. It will blow you away how often people look at their mobile devices.

So as I was doing some recent market research I came across quite possibly the most staggering collection of mobile usage and commerce statistics in the world. It’s well worth your review if you want to know where the world is going. Since it takes quite a while to swim through I have pulled out some of the most impressive stats and wrapped them into a conversation about the mobile web. Spoiler alert: You’re gonna get wet!

6 Billion Mobile Devices

There are approximately 5.9 billion mobile subscribers, which is roughly 87 percent of the world population. Mobile subscriptions outnumber fixed lines 5-to-1. Also, there are now 1.2 billion mobile Web users worldwide, based on the latest stats for active mobile-broadband subscriptions. Did you notice the ratio difference between mobile subscribers and mobile web users? It is easy to see why the experts predict that mobile Web usage will overtake PC-based Web usage very soon and why it would be a good idea to have a real mobile strategy.

Many of those mobile Web users are mobile-only, meaning they do not, or very rarely use a desktop, laptop or tablet to access the Web. Even in the US 25 percent of mobile Web users are mobile-only. In mature markets, the mobile Web will be a leading technology for business to consumer (B2C) mobile applications and should be part of every organization’s business strategy. If you are a merchant or a local business you need to pay attention and build that dang boat, a figurative term for your mobile site and interactive mobile experience utilizing an app, mobile browser or text.

8 Trillion Text Messages

Speaking of text messaging. Over 8 trillion text messages were sent in 2011, overtaking voice minutes and making it the worlds most popular mobile communication medium. We have yet to see the biggest impact SMS and messaging will have on our society. A2P, application to person SMS, is expected to overtake person to person SMS in 2016. A2P messaging includes messages between applications and customers in financial services, advertising, marketing, business administration, ticketing, television voting, and other automated systems. This nascent market should not be overlooked – by 2016 A2P messaging is estimated being worth more than $70 billion.

Global expenditure on mobile advertising was approximately $3.6 billion in 2009, and is estimated to grow to $38 billion in 2015 and the worldwide mobile messaging market will reach $334.7 billion by 2015. For any businesses this is significant or a number of reasons, namely to identify the most cost effective platforms to utilize in their mobile commerce.  People respond differently to different types of mobile marketing, proven by studies in the UK and France, where they found opt-in SMS gets the best results, and in Germany mobile Web ads got the best results.  It seems time sensitive special offers or discounts (especially mobile coupons) were most likely to lead to a purchase.

$1 Trillion of Mobile Payments

Most significant will be the transformation in how we use our mobile devices in everyday commerce. Mobile ad spend worldwide is predicted to sky rocket to $20.6 billion in 2015, driven by search ads and local ads. A logical evolution for mobile search is towards mobile transactions. Once the connection has been established through the mobile device, brands can build up much more detailed profiles of users compared to online and plan follow-up campaigns accordingly. In 2009, there were 81.3 million people worldwide using their mobile device to make payments and it is estimated by the end of 2014, this is forecasted to rise to nearly 490 million. Mobile transactions will drastically change our society. The market for paying by mobile device could be well over $1 trillion by 2015.  Simply put, that is HUGE!

Now we know a flood is coming so let’s go back to thinking about your boat. If you were building an actual boat, would it be smart to build only to float in salt water? Probably not. Then why are we building systems and business only for specific devices and operating systems? If you follow that logic you will definitely drown when the tidal wave hits since 95 percent of the worldwide mobile device market is not an Apple.  It would be best to build your boat – a mobile-optimized web experience – looking beyond a single device to maximize reach.  Do it and you will surely rise with the tide.

@jnickhughes