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Q and A: Disruptive Analysis’ Dean Bubley on life, universe, Aston Martins and the capacity crunch

February 3, 2011

 by Rose Ross, @Rose_at_O

It was a pleasure as always to catch some time with Mr Disruptive himself, Dean Bubley (@disruptivedean), founder and chief of Disruptive Analysis. Dean is out at the Fira and will be part of the great NetEvents activities in Barcelona next week, so if you are heading to the Catalan capital over the coming weeks, you may well be lucky enough to catch up with him.  

Q.  Tell us a bit about you: 

I’m a professional contrarian – I make money from disagreeing with people & puncturing the bubble of consensus, while highlighting the truly innovative & disruptive.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your firm and its interest in mobile technology: 

Disruptive Analysis is 9 years old, and writes both analytical research on the mobile industry, and provides consulting support to vendors, operators, investors and regulators. In general I focus on the technology and business models – but tend to avoid some of the “fluffier” bits of mobile content and applications. I also write the Disruptive Wireless blog – but don’t ever call me a blogger.

Q – What’s hot in mobiles this year? 

On the network side, it’s all about adding capacity, managing it, and monetising it. Everyone’s got a story to tell about the “capacity crunch”, but how many of them have a holistic viewpoint rather than trying to sell a point product? On devices – smartphones and yet more smartphones. And lots of hype about tablets – but most will get used with WiFi, not cellular.

 Q – How many mobile events do you attend each year? 

Probably about 20 in total, but mostly smaller conferences like the Telco 2.0 and IIR events, rather than mammoth trade shows.

Q. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

June is good – Telco 2.0 Asia in Singapore, with eComm in San Francisco the week after.

Q. How many MWCs have you been to? Any top tips for companies planning to engage with you there?

About 8, I think. I was hoping to avoid it this year, but got sucked into it because of client requests. Key points:

 – There’s no point going to Barca to meet another company based in London. 100-person press conferences aren’t useful.

– Neither are demos, usually. Have someone who’s prepared to have a free-form, big & wide-ranging discussion, and who likes banter and debate. And I’m unapologetic about saying that my clients come first.

Q. -What types of companies are likely to attract your attention this year? 

Policy management, WiFi & femto offload, mobile VoIP specialists, industry associations, and innovators at operators.

Q. How many interviews do you do per week? 

During MWC, about 25-40 probably. On a normal week, probably 3 or 4 on average, plus or minus client calls.

Q. What’s the best way to pitch a company to you? Email? Phone? Twitter? By mail?

Email only. I use Twitter grudgingly & really hate it when I get pitches through direct messages. Unless it’s a client offering money, of course.

Q. Who is worth listening to? 

CEOs with a track record – Schmidt, Jobs, Chambers etc. CTOs are often the most interesting & candid people, although there are also marketing people who’ll tell you the unvarnished truth & seem to know everyone and everything. Rupert Baines at PicoChip is a great example. Various of my analyst peers are also well on-the-money, especially the more outspoken and cynical ones!

Q. What’s your favourite blog?

Martin Sauter’s WirelessMoves is excellent, Martin Geddes’ Telepocalypse is thought-provoking, and the Telco 2.0 guys (I work closely with them) have a ton of insights. (RR – Note to self, great tip will reach out to them as I think our readers will be keen to find out more on them too!)

Q. What is your favourite piece of technology?

I’m a Luddite at heart. I’ve got no interest in tablets or home consumer electronics, I don’t really *like* mobile phones and I haven’t bought a mobile app for personal use since 2005. But favourite tech? It’s got to be the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, but I’d settle for an Aston Martin One-77.

Q. What do you think is the most important development in mobiles to date? 

Probably the clever integration & packaging techniques that squeeze so many components into such a small volume.

Q. What is the best piece of advice for companies pitching?

Engage me in a conversation & dive straight in. Don’t try & “set the scene” and walk me through dull slides of “data explosion” charts I’ve seen 100 times before.

Q. What was the best analyst trip you’ve ever been on? Worst? Why?

In terms of luxury, it’s got to have been a 1999 trip to Lake Como & Monza for the Italian GP, when 3Com was sponsoring Williams F1. A lot of the NetEvents conferences have been great as well. Worst? I’m not naming names, but as a rule I really can’t stand Paris.

Q.  What’s your favourite restaurant?

A small shack, run by a Rasta dude, on the East coast of Zanzibar Island in the village of Jambiani. In London: Hawksmoor for steak or Salt Yard for Tapas

Q. Are you a social media lover? Which ones are you on? FB? LinkedIn? Twitter?

I use FB a lot, but strictly for personal use only. I use Twitter for business *very* grudgingly. It’s useful but I hate it. I’m on LinkedIn, but don’t really know what to use it for. Quora looks promising.

Q. Tell us something no-one knows about you? Do you have any unusual or unexpected hobbies/interests? Do you have a claim to fame?

I will hopefully be visiting my 100th country in March. (RR. Of course we asked. The hundredth will be Lithuania and “the most off-the-beaten track one has probably been Turkmenistan or perhaps Lesotho.”)

Thanks Dean for taking the time to share these insights. See you at the Fira!

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2 comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rose Ross and Omarketing News, The Countdown Team. The Countdown Team said: (Blog) Q and A: Disruptive Analysis’ Dean Bubley on life, universe, Aston Martins and the capacity crunch http://bit.ly/hko6uX #mwc11 […]


  2. […] of thought leaders in the UC and Mobile space  – the delightful fusion of Dean Bubley (click here for our interview with Dean), Dean Elwood and Martin Geddes. More info on that […]



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