At the recent VON show in Europe, Carl Ford dragged me up on stage to fill out a panel talking about the fight between 3G and and Fixed Wireless mobile carriers. One of the invited, as opposed to the dragged, speakers was Wolfgang B, the head of Internet operations for T-Mobile. As my day job has a good client relationship with T-Mobile, I sort of ducked identifying my self as much as anyone on a stage can. Carl dragged me up because Wolfgang was sort of trashing the whole mobile video space, including a "romp" through the logistics of adult content. He roundly dismissed any new mobile video service, with the flair of a German genius. At the end of his talk, he said "I wish there was a content provider in the audience", and up went my hand.
Of course, the REASON I put up my hand was that not that I claimed to be a P&R guy for Arista records, but I was one person who found himself in situations where I have taken video on the road, and wanted to share them with my friends. In my case, I wanted to capture this really neat Judo throw in my camera, and send it to my Karate teacher. What I was REALLY thinking about wasn't me, but my camera obsessed son, who takes videos of his friends with his phone constantly, and would gladly post them to myspace if he could. So, I made this point, and he conceded that you could specialize the market to such a degree that you COULD deliver that service, but the kids would become disinterested in three months, and how could you run a business on that?
What he didn't say publicly, but admitted afterwards in a side conversation, was that the problem was in the structure of carriers - they were too large, and the opportunities too fleeting, to really take advantage of the very niched application. I hope I didn't offend him when I suggested that the problem was with today's carriers, not tomorrow's.
Here's where my head went - as carriers search for new services, should you just generally rule out any service that's too general? Is it true that a general service will not have enough value to have staying power and resist commoditization? Should you go as far to say that anything that most people would need and pay money for is a non-starter? Talk about contrary thinking... maybe I'm low on my meds.