I'm moving on from Mindshare and wanted to tell you about my plans.
Despite all the doom and gloom around the economy - and consequently around some parts of the ad industry - it's still a hugely exciting time to be in this business. The web has changed everything, all around the world and we're seeing the start of structural changes to the marketing industry.
One positive result is that the friction involved in starting a business has never been less - technology enables a business to act globally from a handful of locations; talent is more accessible than ever before as more and more people embrace collaboration and an open source way of working. And new businesses can develop new business models where they get paid for being clever (ie effective), rather than for the hours they put in.
Where is the opportunity? To me it's all about Mobile.
Not mobile advertising, although that has a role to play. I see the most exciting opportunity as around mobile content and services - focused on smart phones. Over 300 million smart phones have been sold since the start of 2007 - and this is making the mobile internet a reality.
Looking back to the early days of the web, when we started Poppe Tyson in 1996 there were only 50 million people on the web - it wasn't until 1999 that the 300 million figure was reached. And by that time there was a huge industry helping businesses embrace the web to drive profits and reduce costs.
Another key piece of evidence is what people are now doing with their smart phones. Morgan Stanley data shows that Facebook has over 20 million active mobile users - who are 50% more active than non mobile users!
Now the mobile world has lots of really smart people, but I think the constant refrain "will this be the year of mobile?" has obscured the fact that there is now a really attractive opportunity around smart phones. And despite all the hype over iphone apps, few businesses are really thinking about how they can use mobile to improve their customer experience, reduce the cost of doing business, build real loyalty through addictive services and content and - yes - attract new customers.
Such a platform specific play might seem odd, given much of the web is increasingly platform agnostic, but I suspect that the changes that flow from the mobile phone evolving into the Pocket Computer, will be just as profound as those wrought by the last PC revolution.
So I'm spending the summer looking at the opportunities for a new business focused on content and services for smart phones. Potentially, my 5th start up. Over the coming weeks I'll be talking with old friends and new contacts across the mobile business to explore the possibilities for a professional services company that can help business really embrace all the potential of the mobile internet. If you'd like to join those conversations let me know and I can buy you a cup of tea.
I'm also interested in keeping busy through working with smart people on interesting projects (mobile or not), so if you need some thinking and/or doing let me know.
And if anyone has a spare desk for the next couple of months - either in the east end or central london - again, let me know. I promise not to inflict my music taste on others.
I'm now off to Paris for a weekend to celebrate the end of one chapter and the start of a new one.