THE BLOG
11/12/2014 11:47 am ET Updated Jan 12, 2015

Be a Mobile Superhero (Hint: All You Have to Do Is Find Your Hidden Superpower)

Mobile is disrupting almost every aspect of our lives. By now, our phones are just like another organ in our body. It's not only a physical extension of our hand, but also an extension of our brain. The emotional attachment we have to it (more than 90 percent of people keep their phone within arm's reach) keeps us connected 24/7. This powerful technology shifted the playing field for businesses as well. By now, most companies realize that their traditional products are no longer good enough and that mobile presents additional opportunities to offer superior experiences to their customers and members.

Mobile-savvy companies embrace the complexities of mobile (e.g. OS fragmentation, multiple screen sizes and cellular connectivity) and transform those into competitive advantages. The best ones go beyond mobile-first. They invest in a platform-first approach focused on OS-centric design, specifically Android and iOS. Companies that realize that these operating systems are intrinsically different understand that each requires a unique user experience. Designing the same product for both platforms means that you are leaving a lot of value on the table.

One of the biggest new paradigms that mobile created was in product design. The screen constraint became a catalyst for innovation -- it 'forced' products to be simple. As a result, companies started re-thinking their core and how it can be translated to mobile. Most companies reduced functionality while others started completely fresh by introducing new mobile-first functionality.

Another popular trend is the portfolio approach across platforms and use cases. With product unbundling, products are not only offered across various platforms (desktop, mobile, tablet), but also across various applications. The unbundling of applications allows companies to build better and simpler experiences for each of their value propositions with a unique set of functionality. However, to deliver a seamless experience, you have to care as much about the integration of your products as you do about the functionality of your products. 'The Incredibles' family in the Disney movie is a useful way to think about this: every member of The Incredibles has his or her own unique superpower, but at the end of the day they are one family, a single unit. The same goes for the platforms and applications your company builds. Each app can have its own superpowers, super suit and value proposition. However, when you look at the entire suite of apps together, they should all feel like they are part of the same 'family.' As new platforms and use cases evolve, it's important to realize their full potential (superpower) as well as their connective tissue (product family).

Mobile-centric companies (i.e. companies that embrace mobile) see mobile as a phenomenal way to engage current and new users to drive growth, retention and monetization for their businesses. Help your products, and your employees find the super suits, and the superpowers that fit them best. By adopting mobile into your work habits, from planning to execution, creating a mobile-centric culture will quickly become a personal goal for everyone on your team.

Tomer Cohen's team is responsible for all of LinkedIn's flagship mobile products. Mobile accounts for 47 percent of unique visiting members to LinkedIn. LinkedIn currently has seven different mobile apps you can use to advance your career. Hear Cohen speak on the future of mobile technology at MobCon on Nov. 13, 2014.