All posts by Eric Matzner

Moving On

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It is with a bittersweet smile I announce that NatMobi is leaving 902 Broadway, our home since October. In this building and in the community it fosters, I have met some of my best friends in New York City. Just sitting on a couch in General Assembly can lead to a chance meeting with someone who can change your life or the direction of your company.


Hanging out in library might lead to a chance meeting with Ashton Kutcher.Stopping by on a Saturday might lead you to running into the founders of a company that I use every day, like Alexis Ohanian from Reddit. Alexis-ohanian-reiddit

I have never been a part of a place that is so welcoming and so full of smart and interesting people who were always willing to help when needed, or who are just able to understand and empathize with the issues of being a tech founder.

I will never forget all the memories I had in this building, all the late nights spent on the couch or head down on my desk. The things I created while I was here live on as products, websites, and code. While the hours are gone, the memories will live on forever.

Although the nostalgia is running thick, I am still excited for the future and what it will bring, moving to our new space at 568 Broadway. With each door closing, a new door opens, and this one is full of opportunity for growth, expansion, and more.

I am not saying to goodbye to my friends, for I shall still see them, and will still return, but I am saying goodbye to a place and a moment in time when we all worked in the same, awesome building.

First Office In General Assembly

Expanded Office 7th Floor


Pay Attention To Text Messaging

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Anyone who thinks text messaging is boring or has already peaked, hasn’t seen the true power of mobile marketing. People constantly use their phones, even when they are walking around and should be paying attention, kind of like the woman in the above video.

Text messages are not going anywhere, they will continue to be the universal messaging platform into the foreseeable future. Works on every device, instantly sends, 95% open rate, and many other qualities have lead our company into SMS.

Mobile Mobile Mobile

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If you don’t think the proliferation of technology is having profound effects on how people think, live, and understand the world, then you are not paying attention. Technology, especially mobile technology, is disrupting and in my opinion, improving the world. Think about a time before cell phones were widespread, or if you weren’t alive back then, imagine it, but realize the fact that you had to make such different choices and plan a lot further in advance.

Having a phone has allowed for so much more spontaneity, no longer do you have to tell people in advance where you will be going, tell them where to call you or how they can find you. If anything, we’ve gone in the completely opposite direction, where you can now go somewhere, check-in, see who’s around you and then meet up with them. Whether or not someone chooses to embrace these technologies, they still are having an effect on their lives, and the lives of those around them. The simple ability to be contacted and to contact someone is exciting.

The video above demonstrates the profound effects technology is having on the development of brains and an alteration of how we perceive the world. I know, for example, that I store a lot of information in my brain through links, i.e., I know what to search for or how to find something and so I don’t have to remember everything about that. I learned in Moonwalking With Einstein that this is how people used to store what they knew, by keeping quote books with excerpts and passages gathered from many sources.

Only in the last few years has it become possible to have that data on you or available at any time. It was relegated to that time when you were “online” when you used to have to dial up to the internet, and it’s usage was billed in by the minute. We are far from the days of dial-up and a new era of anytime anywhere, is really true in terms of data availability. The phone is not the most used app on the phone. The web, SMS, and apps are probably the leading uses of phones.

It is no coincidence that NatMobi is building for the mobile web and marketing with the mobile web’s instant delivery system, text messages. We are helping the world go mobile.

Text Messaging Stats From Pew Research

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The youngest adults (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are even more proficient in their texting habits. Both cell ownership and text messaging are nearly universal among 18-24 year olds—95% own a cell phone and 97% of these cell owners use text messaging—and the number of daily text messages this group creates or encounters on a daily basis is far and away the largest of any group:

  • 18-24 year olds send or receive an average of 109.5 text messages per day—that works out to more than 3,200 messages per month. The median 18-24 year old texter sends or receives 50 texts per day (or around 1,500 messages per month).
  • One quarter of 18-24 year old text messaging users (23%) report sending or receiving more than 100 texts per day.
  • Just over one in ten (12%) say that they send or receive more than 200 messages on an average day—that equals 6,000 or more messages per month.

Fully 95% of 18-29 year olds use the text messaging feature on their phones, and these users send or receive an average of 87.7 text messages on a normal day (with the median user in this age group sending or receiving 40 text messages per day).

Just under half (45%) of texters who send or receive 21-50 text messages per day say that they prefer it when people contact them using text messaging, while a majority of those who send or receive more than 50 texts per day (55%) say that text messaging is their preferred mode of contact (just 27% of these users prefer to be reached by voice call).

Mobile Website Usage Will Come Quicker Than 2013

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There is an oft quoted statistic that mobile web usage will overtake desktop based browsing in the later half of 2013. This stat comes from Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley, who has been an analyst since the time of Netscape Communications and was dubbed “Queen of the Net” by Barron’s magazine in 1998. This comes from her “State of the Internet” report that was delivered at the Events@Google series in April 2010. She is supposed to be this internet guru, but I can’t help but notice the absence of “Tablets” in her entire presentation. She really seems to overlook this entire category, which is kind of silly because the iPad was released later that same April of 2010. The iPad sold 3 million devices in 80 days and so I find it pretty hard to believe that her calculations did not take this into account.

It’s strange to see no mention of this new category of devices, especially considering the fact that next slide depicts how increases in technology are speeding up, as in, mobile devices are being adopted at a much faster rate than desktop internet.

The fact is that tablets, iPads specifically, have been adopted at a much faster rate than cell phones and DVD players (which were previously the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic product ever).

iPad sold three million units in the first 80 days after its April release and its current sales rate is about 4.5 million units per quarter, according to Bernstein Research. This sales rate is blowing past the one million units the iPhone sold in its first quarter and the 350,000 units sold in the first year by the DVD player, the most quickly adopted non-phone electronic product.

To be fare to Mary, when she made her prediction, the Kindle Fire was probably just an idea in Jeff Bezos head, but the tablet 7″ tablet is predicted to sell almost 4 million units by the end of the year. It is expected that tablet sales will reach 64.7 million units in the 4th quarter of 2011 alone. We are only 7 quarters since the iPad (arguably the first tablet) was released and based on the above graph it looks like tablets are definitely crushing the adoption record set by the iPhone and iPod Touch.

To add more evidence that mobile adoption is happening more quickly than predicted, the graph below comes from a more recent Guardian article  on tablets shows not only that tablets will reach the 80 million units mark this year, but that tablets are going to already be at 60% of PC levels by 2015.


I’ve been researching this topic more in depth as I’ve been writing it and after writing all of the above, I just came across a new Morgan Stanley report from February 2011, less than a year after Mary Meeker’s famous presentation. Look at the chart I came across on page 4:

 This graphic  presents three scenarios for tablet growth, Bull, Base, and Bear, and all three outstrip smartphone growth. The subsequent report basically proves everything I was saying above about the mobile web expanding much faster than predicted. This also proves that people want to access the web while they are on the go and that the only thing stopping it has been a lack of of devices. So as the devices come down in price and increase in features, they will become more and more widespread and the growth of mobile will likely accelerate faster than even this Bull Case suggests.

This means that the mobile web is going to eclipse desktop usage much more quickly than Mary Meeker or anyone predicted. This is good for NatMobi, as we create mobile optimized websites that detect a user’s device and automatically display the touch optimized version.

If I learned anything from this article,  it’s that mobile is going to grow even larger than it is now and that no one should make predictions, but I will make a prediction anyway: that mobile web usage overtakes desktop usage before Q4 of 2012 is over



Innovative QR Code Grocery

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QR codes are designed to bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world. They are the hyperlinks from print to the web and in this case, a perfect example of how bringing reality and the virtual together can actually bring added benefit to people’s lives. When Tesco lined the Korean Subways with realistic aisles that mimic a real grocery and allowed people to shop while they waited for the subway, they transformed that wasted time, into a time for shopping. They transformed an economic deadzone into a shopping experience. This is especially useful to people in Korea because they work really long hours and stores are crowded.

Now they can have their deliveries sent directly to their home later that day just by scanning the corresponding QR code and adding it to their cart. It’s a pretty ingenious idea and implemented extremely well. Not all QR code campaigns are adapted this well, but customers still get some joy every time a QR code scan works. I see it all the time and I hope that as Quick Response, Near Field Communications, Augmented Reality and other technologies are implemented, that the divide between the real world and the digital world will blur.

How much information are we missing by not knowing it exists. Being connected with the information we “would like” is an important feature of the web. However, when in the real world, it is easy to walk by a historic site and not even know what has transpired there. If we lived in a more augmented reality, I would be notified or have that information pushed to me. This is the reason you see QR codes appearing on graves and with people attempting to do this. It is an idea, that if properly implemented could become a ubiquitous facet of our everyday lives.

Most Young Adults Now Have A Smart Phone

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It’s not surprising to me that this many people, young or old have smartphones. If anything, these numbers are probably low, and more people have them then don’t. It’s become almost impossible these days to buy a “dumb” phone. I guess there has to exist a dumb phone (feature phone) if there is such thing as a smart phone. On ATT an iPhone 3GS 8GB is only 99 cents:

It is virtually impossible not to end up with a smart phone somehow. This is the way that technology advances, almost as if it forces itself upon you, which in reality it does. Technology has it’s own desires as posited by Kevin Kelly his book, What Technology Wants. Phone want to get smarter, they want to consume more data and information, in just the same ways they want longer battery life and better screens. Technology cannot be suppressed, it will eventually always break through if it is it’s time. The time is now for smartphones and I’m not even sure there is anything holding it back. An iPhone is easier to use than many feature phones, and with the amount of utility provided by one, it is hard to see how they won’t completely conquer the country within the next year or two.

Smartphone ownership in the United States is on the rise. But a survey by Nielsen suggest that it is happening among some age groups faster than others. Nielsen’s third-quarter survey of mobile phone users found that 43 percent of them have upgraded to a smartphone. For mobile users below the age of 44, the smartphone is speeding toward mass adoption. “This is a wake-up call for potential advertisers waiting for a tipping point for mobile media or for smartphones to reach the majority,” said Don Kellogg, director of telecom research and insights at Nielsen. “We’re already there with certain segments – 62 percent of those ages 25 to 34 already have smartphones. That’s critical mass.” After young adults, however, the segment with the fastest-growing smartphone adoption rate is older phone owners, between the ages of 55 and 64. Although the penetration among those users is only 30 percent, that figure jumped 5 percentage points this quarter.

Most Young Adults in U.S. Now Own Smartphones, Survey Says –