Wireless Carriers and the Cretaceous-Tertiary Event

I hear all the time from early-stage companies who brag about their relationships with wireless carriers, and who say “The carriers want this, the carriers want that”. Oh, ugh.

My usual response is, “So what? What do the customers want?” Keying on carriers in 2007 increasingly feels to me like calling brontosauruses key customers just before the Cretaceous-Tertiary event. Really, really, bad timing, in other words.


  1. Hi Paul,
    Unfortunately if an early stage company wants to succeed in mobile today, they need the support of the carrier. It sucks, but your “Creataceous-Tertiary event” isn’t going to happen in time for most early companies.
    For the next several years, if you want to bill for content, have a mobile app code signed (ever noticed how the google mobile app prompts all the time?), or even reach the mass market, the carriers will have you cornered.
    This covers most of the interesting mobile plays I’ve seen lately. Social Networking apps? Check. Viral anything? Check. Multiplayer apps? You bet.
    I agree that “the event” is coming, but I wouldn’t be so quick to write off carrier relationships while I wait for it. (Now personally, my response to companies bragging about carrier relationships is “What happens in 3 months when they re-org for the 56th time and you are back at square one?”)
    Todd Allen

  2. BTDT with wireless carrier re-orgs. Multiple times.
    Marc’s piece the Moby Dick theory of big companies is dead on.