05/29/2012 10:42 am ET Updated Jul 29, 2012

Time: The One Pain Point You Have to Solve in Mobile

It doesn't take a trend report to tell us that mobile is increasingly how people think and drive action in their daily lives.

That's why when you sit in a place like Rocketspace, where I work once or twice a week, you see most people building for opportunities around problems that consumers experience on mobile, or that they solve by using mobile.

It's fascinating to watch. The desktop has become for entrepreneurs what the desktop used to be for architects and infrastructure engineers -- a place to chart out, write code for, and understand the huge and compelling problem sets you get before you start building.

Microsoft has for three years been introducing developers to the Windows Phone apps methodology in their habitats and working with them to improve the development of apps.

Brian Hoskins, a Microsoft Principal Technical Evangelist who helped start these Microsoft Accelerator Weeks (MAW), has seen really successful apps pretty much hit it big when they get a few things right in the mobile to market strategy. He said there is really one big pain point you have to solve for, for the consumer. And that is time. Everything that is pinned to reality and on a phone has to be solved for time.

People want reality sped up on a device to match real time. They want solutions, rather than obstacles or avenues of discovery.

According to Hoskins, the apps developers who come through the MAW program and get this issue usually make for very successful companies.

First, the big numbers and facts that back this up:

MAW companies...

• Have raised Venture Capital funding (more than $600M)
• Sequoia, Benchmark Capital, NEA, Lightspeed Ventures, Intel Capital...
• Have been downloaded over 400M times across mobile platforms
• Have been acquired by major companies, with a value of >$500M
• Clever Sense by Google
• GroupMe by Skype
• Loopt by Green Dot
• Flixster by Warner Brothers
• Networks in Motion by TCS

Desktop search and spending time behind a terminal is really becoming something you do mostly at work, but rarely at home. People are spending more time on mobile. That means their time sets have changed.

What made these app companies attractive is that their developers get something very simple to understand, but hard to execute on -- mobile is about creating an interface and a style that helps people experience what they want out of life, and are able to speed it up to happen right now.

This could be listening to music, finding a great restaurant, or even getting ready to meet someone and needing to know the latest social update about them.
On mobile, information and device interplay with experience and expectation in a way that makes each movement finding that information consequential to your next action in meat space. Information on the mobile screen has to be information that is much more actionable than desktop information, which can be much more like wandering the web.

The MAW program continues. You can find out more by following @bizspark on Twitter.

The Program
• 10 events worldwide this year: SF, NYC, Israel, Helsinki, Moscow, Bangalore, Beijing,
Shanghai, Berlin, and London
• 125 top startups, selected on strength of founding team, uniqueness of idea, ability to
differentiate on WP
• Around 35-40% of companies are building their first mobile app ever, choosing Windows
• MAW and apps have been featured in 100 media articles in the last six months