08 June 2010

MEF Executive Questionnaire #13: Patrick Kennedy, Sidebar

MEF continues to seek new ways to profile its members and promote the thought-leadership of the senior executives within these companies. We are pleased to launch the MEF Executive Questionnaire to reveal the real people behind the industry in an informal and entertaining manner.

This will be a regular feature of the MEF blog, so make sure you subscribe via email or RSS. If you are a senior executive from one of our member companies and would like to be featured then please contact MEF Marketing Director, Stephen Jenkins.

The thirteenth in the series is from Patrick Kennedy of Sidebar.

1. Please describe briefly your main company activities and your role within that organisation
Our business solves the universal problem for consumers when it comes to finding the content that’s right for them while at the same time, maximizing profitability for the storefront operator. It amazes me to see how consumers are treated as if they all have the same interests and aspirations. Mobile content is one of the most personal of all purchases and should be merchandized accordingly.

2. Without necessarily revealing any confidential information, please outline the principal business models your company uses
We drive value in terms of enhancing the user experience, maximizing profitability, AND providing robust analytics for continuous improvement in the marketing and operational arenas. Our business model reflects the carrier, platform operator & aggregators’ specific needs. Because we have an efficient platform, we can charge low fixed fees, and in many cases we build a performance driven pricing structure that reduces fixed costs to our customers and allows us to share in the upside of the value we create.

3. What has been your company’s greatest achievement to-date?
Creating a powerful engine for truly personalized content merchandising and analytics – and providing a truly innovative product. I’m very proud of the elegant solution created by our CTO Eric Wilson currently being deployed with two large customers in South America and India. Our customer roadmap is replete with content merchandisers who recognize the importance of offering personalized recommendations as an offensive and defensive move in their markets.

The game is being taken to a new level where the consumer and operator both win.

4. What is your company currently working on that is going to move the industry forward?
Making content recommendation on any networked devices a seamless user experience. Our Smart Menus solution provides the ability to recognize each unique user, regardless of the device type, and offer recommendations that are optimized for the specific device OS and form factor they want to consume the content on. By leveraging powerful analytics we can create both real-time recommendations and ongoing feedback loops for our customers, helping them become ever-more effective at satisfying their users demands.

5. What is exciting you most in 2010 (either personally or professionally)?
Using my business and digital background to solve one of the most important user issues when it comes to making content discoverable – finding what the consumers want. Why are most menu presentations homogenous especially on a mobile device? Well, I aim to change that.

6. What is the most important piece of technology in your life?
My new iPad

7. What mobile device(s) do you use?
Blackberry, iPhone

8. What’s your favourite application?
NPR News, Google Maps, Minnesota Twins baseball app

9. What’s your ringtone?

10. Which mobile industry blogs do you regularly read and why?
Techcrunch, MocoNews, Gizmodo, Mobile Marketer, Fierce Wireless, Wireless Week, Mobile Entertainment News

11. What is the biggest mobile content issue that is likely to affect the industry within the next 12 months?
As the amount of content grows exponentially it becomes harder for the consumer to find content that is relevant and engaging. An engaged user is a more profitable user and personalization tools are a critical piece that ensures that users come back, time and again to see what is available for them. Personalization increases purchase size and frequency, major factors for growth in overall profitability. One final driver, the margin contribution, ensures the storefront gets the most revenue for each piece of content.

12. Which other MEF member organisation do you most admire?
AdMob - Omar Hamoui and I are former colleagues at Sony; Motricity as they have built an amazing business getting ready for IPO.

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