Analyst Reports are Still 1.0

Mary Meeker (yep she’s still rowing that same boat) came out with the mother of all reports on the mobile market:

We decided to create The Mobile Internet Report largely in PowerPoint and publish it on the web, expecting that bits and pieces of it will be cut / pasted / redistributed and debated / dismissed / lauded. Our goal is to get our thoughts and data into the conversation about what may be the biggest technology trend ever, one that may help make us all more informed in ways that are unique to the web circa 2009, and beyond.

[From Morgan Stanley – Institutional Services]

My first thought was these reports really haven’t changed over the years… there’s the same defining the landscape and recalling of history section, coining of terms, the all important “themes” summary, and money shot powerpoint graphics that anyone pitching a mobile app or data startup will immediately have a geekgasm over.

Next let us talk about the reliance on history as a predictor for the future in technology markets. Bottom line, history is written by the victors and ultimately means bubkus for the venture market. Specifically on mobile, who would have predicted that the iPhone would redefine the mobile application market when it first came out? Recall as well that Apple did their best to lock down the handset so that 3rd parties could not build native apps… so clearly even Apple couldn’t predict what was in store.

History doesn’t mean shit and the great companies always emerge from completely orthogonal plays on what all the smart people predict will happen.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton of really good data in this tome on the mobile internet… but does it really tell us things we don’t already know, like bandwidth growth for mobile will outpace desktop, apps and data drive consumption, pricing pressures emerge, VoIP will be big, location based services are the new frontier, and socialization of mobile devices and apps is a next wave? These reports are little more than an attempt to define how the market is defined and conversed about… burnish up the faded glory that being a big i-bank analyst used to hold.

I commend MorganStanley on producing a truly impressive 700 slide powerpoint presentation but ask whether or not the effort is worth the expense. I’d rather see a collection of short stories that tie these themes together than the analyst version of War and Peace.

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CMO at SecureAuth Corporation. Previously VP Marketing at NowSecure, Knurld, Ping Identity, VP Business Develoment at Get Satisfaction, CEO at Teqlo and General Partner at SAP Ventures.