What is the future of mobile computing? Microsoft’s Kevin Henrikson and NYU Professor Anindya Ghose tell Michael Krigsman of CXOTALK about why mobile products are increasingly important, how they’re changing and what issues lie ahead. Henrikson offers insight on what it’s like to develop mobile applications for one of the largest software companies, while Ghose recently wrote the book “Tap” about the mobile economy of smartphones and the limitless future of AI, augmented and virtual reality, wearable tech, smart homes, and the Internet of Things.
For more info, see https://www.cxotalk.com/episode/future-mobile-computing
Henrikson is the partner director of engineering at Microsoft, where he is responsible for mobile products on Android and iOS. He is also an advisor and co-founder of Alpha Brand Media, and co-founded Acompli, which Microsoft acquired in 2014 for $200 million.
Ghose is the Heinz Riehl Chair Professor of Business at New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business and the Director of the Masters of Business Analytics Program at NYU Stern. He has consulted for Apple, Facebook, NBC Universal, Samsung, and collaborated with Adobe, Alibaba, Google IBM, Microsoft and more leading Fortune 500 companies. He has published more than 80 papers in premier scientific journals and serves on the Research Council of the Wharton Customer Analytics Institute.
Thank you to Helpshift for underwriting this episode.
From the transcript:
(02:11) Awesome! Thanks for having me on the show! Cool. I’m Kevin Henrikson, previously co-founder of a company called Accompli, which is a mobile email app that we sold to Microsoft, that was quickly renamed to Outlook and so today, I manage the engineering teams for Outlook mobile and Mac.
(08:02) Does that explain this rise in mobile or is there more to it than that?
(08:33) The fundamental distinction between mobile and desktop is that mobile is portable by definition, unlike a desktop. So, that means you’re carrying the phone with you wherever you go and increasingly as we get more and more immersed and embedded in the device, the device is literally on you. We have seen a sense of people taking it into shower rooms. Even when they are taking a shower, they can’t get away from their phone. So I think the portability is directly the cause of increasing time that we are spending on these devices, but at the same time, what is also happening is consumers are also very heterogeneous in their preferences for what they expect from companies who are reaching out to them on their phones.
(09:24) So, you know, a lot of what I talk about in my book is this interesting behavioral contradiction between what consumers think they care about versus what they actually, in fact, really care about. An example of this is the question of how valuable their data really is. The vast majority of people will say we really care about the privacy for data, and they really care about “protecting our data,” and so on; but what I’m seeing in the last ten years and not just in the US, but in Europe and in Asia, is that increasingly we are willing to give up our data either for more convenience or some economic benefit. And, while that shift is driven by the i-Generation, the folks who were born after 1995, and also by the Millennials, there is also moving on to the other demographics as well.
(10:32) The point about “international” is pretty interesting because I think one of the things and a lot of the growth that obviously we see, and I’m sure you saw in your research is you go to countries like India and China where the PC penetration is much lower, and so there are entire generations or multiple generations that never kind of got the PC era right. And more established countries like the US or in Europe, they went through a pretty significant PC generation. The average information worker had one. Your plumber that would come to your house probably had a PC somewhere, probably not with him but at home. And you go to places like in India and China where the PC never became that popular. You know, the mobile phone… Everyone has a mobile phone.
(11:41) Yeah. And you know, one of the most fascinating things about that leapfrogging that you mentioned in countries like India and China is that the average consumer is basically not accustomed to the idea that when they are on the internet, there’s going to be communication between them and the phone; as in, the phone is able to reach out to you with a message, okay? But having leapfrogged the desktop revolution, the first experience with the internet for a lot of these people was on a mobile device. And so, for them, it’s like, “If I’m on a mobile device, it’s okay for a company to reach out to me with an offer and message. That’s how the world works.”