Sramana Mitra: Can you identify open problems for our readers? What is missing out there? What would you like to do if you had certain other resources available to you?
Calvin Carter: There are a lot of opportunities in the mobile space since it is a phenomenal space to be in. It is growing, it is sticking, and we are not going to come back from this – it will keep going further, and it is going to find more ways to either replace different or outdated technologies.
The word “mobile” is also interesting. I think that word is running out of steam in how it represents what Bottle Rocket and companies like it are doing. When you are going to a store and an iPad is being used as a cash registrar, is that properly described as mobile? iPads are embedded in the wall of our conference rooms. Those iPads help us schedule resources, display what is available, etc. Is that mobile? When a car’s interface is based on a mobile device, is that mobile? The idea of what is available as an opportunity is massive. You shouldn’t just be thinking apps. Apps are just the expression of a user experience on a mobile device. Really be thinking about, “What can I do when I can produce the types of experience that are now possible with the tools that this mobile transformation has brought to you?”
We are working with some groups that are building educational software to be used in classrooms to teach new generations how to read in a completely different way. That is something you wouldn’t necessarily think about when you are in the narrow mind of an app that will do x, y or z. You have to get out of the mental space of apps and get into the mental space of creating experiences. That is when you really start to unlock things. That is when you start coming up with ideas like walking into a hotel and automatically being checked in, the concierges knowing your name and your favorite hamburger is waiting in your room when you arrive – all of that made possible by things that did not exist just a few years ago. That is where I think the real entrepreneurial process can begin. I am not saying there are not lots of opportunities to solve problems or to provide tools to companies like Bottle Rocket or to brands that are building mobile apps or strategies. But that is iterative. It is not going to be transformational. You can build a business that way – and I hope a lot of people reading this interview will be inspired by that to build opportunities within the mobile ecosystem. We need it. I am contributing to it, and so are thousands of other companies and individuals around the world. But the ones that are going to go the step beyond are going to look at this as, “What is the blue ocean opportunity?” What is the thing that I would do if I could snap my fingers and make it happen?”
The iPhone, for example, is an unbelievably personal device. If you ever handed your phone to someone, it feels weird. It is like handing someone your wallet. It is probably more powerful than your wallet at this point, because it is a superset of your wallet. That is when you are starting to really get the entrepreneurial juices flowing, when you think about not how you can serve to what exists, but what you can unlock with the tools this provides. That is the direction I would like to see your readers move in.
SM: It was very nice talking to you.
CC: Thank you very much.