Mobile apps & the missing links

There are advantages of developing mobile apps (and app stores): user experience, distribution and monetization opportunities. 

However mobile apps don’t work like the mobile web in some pretty important ways.

For starters, developers must develop for each specific platform – iPhone, Android and Blackberry. That’s very different than developing for the open web and at a high level feels like a big step backwards. 

A few weeks ago I was talking to one of the founders from one of our portfolio companies. He pointed out another downside of mobile apps. You can’t easily create links to specific pieces of content or “pages” from one mobile app to another. Can one mobile app link to a specific profile page in the foursquare app or the yelp app for example? Or can a link in the NYT app send the user to a specific tweet in a twitter client.

The web is built on many things and links are a key part of the network.

How do we get them fully native our mobile apps? Or am I missing something. 

Does your VC need operating experience?

I am often asked if operating experience in a big company or startup is a requirement to become a great venture capitalist. 

The logic is how can you help startups if you have never had the job yourself.

Even though I’ve worked in startups and a few big companies for 15 years before becoming a VC, i don’t buy that argument. The proof is in the pudding. There are too many great VCs that dont have operating experience.

So then is operating experience a negative? Nope, that’s not true either. Too many great VCs with operating experience.

The short answer is that you either need senior operating experience or a sigificant amount of experience in a vc firm. You need a lot of other things as well but i believe that is the requirement. 

Quick thoughts on iPhone OS 4 beta

Yesterday i installed iPhone OS 4 beta.

Quick thoughts

  1. It’s stable. Haven’t had any issues and all of my main apps work fine

  2. Folders work great. I have reduced 6 pages of apps down to 2

  3. In the settings there is a toggle for character count in the sms app. But doesn’t seem to work yet. Looking forward to that feature as I still like sending txt to twitter

  4. Multitasking. Right now it doesn’t seem to work in the beta. I launched app, double click home button and launch another app and the music stops. Right now it’s more like fast aol switching bs multitasking. I’m guessing apps have to be updated to take advantage of this. Apple should follow Android on this one. I love how you switch apps on Android

  5. Gmail on iPhone has always been good not great. Apple added threading to their built in mail app which is fantastic.

  6. Wallpaper works like iPad. Fun!

  7. After you load up the beta you can sync with iTunes like before but you can’t back up. Not a big deal for me since most of my stuff also exists in the cloud. The only potential exposure for me is if I take photos with iPhone I need to make sure to regularly upload to flickr

That’s it for now.

5/30/10: Update: the camera app is super fast with the beta!

(please excuse typos. Wrote this on my iPhone)