With a combined age that wouldn’t make one eligible for Social Security, three millennial entrepreneurs took the stage at Adobe’s Summit, in Las Vegas, to discuss how their generation has changed the mobile scene, among other things.
Max Thorpe, a marketing manager at mCordis, acted as moderator for the Tuesday chat with Brian Wong, CEO and founder of Kiip, and Maci Peterson, CEO and co-founder of On Second Thought. Wong’s company is a marketing and monetization platform that greets people in moments on their mobile and connected devices with rewards and advertising “that people like,” the CEO explained. On Second Thought began life as an app that allows users to take back a text message they decide shouldn’t have been sent. (For full information on both CEOs and their companies, read Wong’s CMO.com interview here, and Peterson’s here.)
One of the first questions, of course, was about the decision by both founders to make their apps mobile. “There was never a question that this would be a mobile app,” Wong explained. “I mean, who would want a desktop app?”
Peterson, agreed, saying, “Our age group really knows no other platform. This—mobile—is what we grew up with.”
But both made it clear that the genesis of both ideas was not to create a mobile app—it was to serve a need. “The answer to everything is not always a mobile app,” Peterson said. “You have to solve a problem, and, if a mobile app is the answer, then so be it.”
“Exactly,” Wong said. “We just looked at where the consumers were, and to provide ads and rewards when the moment was right meant mobile.”
Wong was quick to point out that, in reality, this is not a generation issue. “This is not about an age group,” he explained. “It’s about ‘the connected generation,’ which is basically everyone in this room—anyone who has a mobile device of some sort. We are always on and want instant gratification.”
The On Second Thought CEO agreed: “People think our product is for millennials because it is mobile, but that was never the idea. In fact, my dad was the most excited about it. This is a product for everyone.”
“That’s right,” Wong said. “To scale you need to be able to extend the product and idea to all generations. The age component must be eliminated.”
MCordis’s Thorpe then explored what life is like in these millennial-run companies: “Millennials don’t have the greatest reputation for their work habits,” he said. “What are your thoughts on that?”
“We are severely misunderstood,” Wong said. “We have multiple interests and unfiltered access to information. I think, for millennials, the biggest fear is being cornered. We allow our employees to move horizontally if they want, which makes them not feel trapped or suffocated. We also like to make them all feel included.”
The free-ranging conversation then took a look at data (“data has to get us to an outcome”); more mobile (“there are no desktops in Shanghai”); and digital (“we are a digital nation with access to the ways to change things”).
Click on the image, below, to view our Facebook Live video with Brian Wong: