Over the last few months, there have been a lot of dramatic, unilateral moves in mobile tech.

To name just a few:

  • Apple’s decision to kill the IDFA (and then the unprecedented move to delay this change, by quietly sweeping it under the rug for a few months).
  • Epic going to war with Apple over app store monetization, and then Apple responding with a massive, scorched-earth counterattack.
  • The US government moving to crack down on TikTok and WeChat.
  • The Indian government deciding to ban an even bigger list of Chinese apps.

In each of these cases, the underlying theme is similar: a big player decided ‘we can, and therefore we shall’. You may or may not agree with the merits of any particular move, but that’s kind of the point…the parties making these calls believe in what they’re doing, and believe they have the the weight to make it happen.

Most of us do not have $2 trillion in the bank, or the power to arbitrarily shut down an app for an entire country. But the good news is that the mobile ecosystem is not a dictatorship, and no single actor has a moral claim to decide what’s right (even if some currently have control over what is possible).

All of us still have a voice, which is why it was so interesting to see today’s announcement of the new Coalition for App Fairness. To be clear, many of the names behind this coalition are multi-billion dollar corporations themselves, which means they are only ‘small’ in comparison to Apple and Google. But this is quickly shaping up to be the most well-organized rebellion these platform gatekeepers have ever faced.

Alex Bauer


The IDFA Apocalypse is on hold…but don’t get comfortable

Someone, somewhere within Apple Park finally pulled the emergency brake.

The news was buried (almost like an afterthought) as part of another announcement, but the IDFA gets to live for at least another few months.

I’m quite certain that the team responsible for Apple’s IDFA plan sincerely believes that they are doing good for the world. They don’t understand fully the mechanics of the ecosystem they’re blowing up (which they’d probably say is a good thing), but they are believers and they’ve found a home at one of the largest corporations on earth — one that is willing to throw its weight around to make these beliefs real.

I also have a feeling that the outcry they triggered caught quite a few other Apple departments off guard, and some coalition finally figured out how to wrest back control over the steering wheel at the eleventh hour.

Whatever the reason, this is just a temporary respite. These changes are still coming, and they are still going to kick off one of the most disruptive paradigm shifts the mobile ecosystem has experienced to date. It’s just all going to happen in slow(er) motion, instead of as part of a mad dash to have something ready in time for September 16.

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Social Commerce (think peer-to-peer social shopping apps like OfferUp, Carousell, Depop, and so on) clearly seem to be the breakout success of the COVID era.


Head of Marketing @ Ola Financial Services: Varun Dubey

Growth Through Empathy & Analytics

While he might not say it himself, our next guest Varun Dubey was able to have an extremely successful career leading the marketing for some of the fastest growing tech companies in India because of two things: being empathetic and analytical. In the early days of his career writing for “Digit” Magazine, he learned that many people only had a few hours of energy to use a day. Later at Qualcomm, he learned that many people had to choose between paying to charge their phones or eating that day. In those instances, he learned that truly understanding the user was critically important for achieving immense growth to hundreds of millions of users which he achieved at Practo.

He also took a much more thorough approach than most when it came to tracking. At one point Varun stopping all marketing activities to make sure the entire site and product tracked all the way to billing. Once they did that they realized why users were bouncing and were able to get $2 net revenue for every dollar spent, which made the CFO their biggest advocate.

More on Varun’s story including how he helped drive growth for a new category, his thoughts on Apple’s decision on IDFA, and how the marketing world has completely evolved from TV to direct response.

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