By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
Every once in a while, I feel the need to expand my horizons by connecting and learning from new people on the social web. So I turn to my Twitter followers and ask for some recommendations on interesting people to follow. A few months back, someone recommended I follow a mobile analyst by the name of Benedict Evans. You can and should follow him here.
Since that day, I have literally added another whole layer of enjoyment to both my Twitter feed and my familiarity with the mobile industry. Benedict sends out a weekly newsletter on anything and everything mobile, and I cannot start my week without it. Again, you can and should subscribe here.
Anyway, after months of following his work, it was time to add Ben to the list of my mentors that I have interviewed. I was thrilled when he agreed to take the interview. His answers are below and they are awesomely insightful. Enjoy.
1: Who is Benedict Evans? Please provide background both personal and professional.
I studied history at university and then became a sell-side equity analyst, covering European mobile companies. When that stopped being a fun thing to do, I went into industry. Now I work as a freelance consultant, producing analysis and advising companies in mobile and digital media. I also work with Enders Analysis, a London boutique consultancy and research house.
2: You are widely regarded as a leading authority on the mobile world, what are three of the most interesting changes you have seen in this space over the last decade?
Everything is interesting, and lots of things have changed. Mobile operators have gone from being innovative, disruptive growth companies to utilities. America has gone from being a backward place where no-one understood mobile at all to one of the main centres of mobile innovation. The technology world has moved from being PC-centric to mobile centric. And the amount of information, comment and discussion that’s freely available online has exploded.
3: What do you expect to see in terms of major trends in the next few years?
Mobile and tablets will become the predominant means of access to internet services. Everything else flows out of that – a huge change in scale and (with apps, location, social integration and everything else) a major change in how services are engaged with.
4: What mobile phone do you use and why?
iPhone 5. I tend to upgrade every 2 years. I hate the look of OLED and Pentile screens (the Lumia 800’s pentile screen actually gave me headaches) and I prefer the higher polish you get with iOS to the great configurability you get with Android. I also have several Android phones and a Windows Phone that I carry around to look at new services, but the iPhone is the one that goes on holiday.
5: What can Microsoft and BlackBerry do to gain relevancy. If they had to take a few steps, what would you recommend they be?
I’m not sure they have any real options. There are things they can do to maintain a foothold, and there’s a narrative going around that Android is vulnerable to a more coherent alternative, but I don’t really believe that. But the whole world replaces its phones every two years, so the market can be very volatile given the right conditions – anything is possible.