Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why Is My Phone so LONELY?

Last night I spoke on a panel with a few friends in the valley. The topic was about the social games business model and whether it was right for every startup.
To start with, my first question was about "KPI". It caught my esteemed panelists by surprise, but it's a term that defines the metrics we live and die by. Two didn't really know the term.
Social Games live by the metrics. Metrics at the top social game companies are measured in minutes and hours, not days, weeks, or months. But in minutes and hours, you can only really process data if it hits a meaningful number of users.
This brings me to the point about LONELINESS. I am a single user on my phone. I don't have a way to get my friends to play on my phone, or on their phones. So the phone and mobile apps are inherently lonely.
I remember a video from a games conference a few years ago. In it, I remember the slide of a room full of college-aged guys sitting in a room taking turns playing Friday Night Fit on a Playstation.
The search for social is on for many people. It's the essence of Web 3.0. But the reality is, we as people might not be ready for a world where we communicate with each other through screeens even when we are sitting at the same table. So, my phone is lonely by choice because it is personal, like my closet, my shoes, my shirt, my coat. And I probably would let more people visit my closet, try my shoes, try my shirt, borrow my coat than I would borrow my phone.

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