Mobile-First Strategy Done Right: Hotel Tonight, Uber and Buffer

If you are a stats lover like me, you should know why Mobile is eating the world. We are in the “Internet of Things” where everything is conected and we all are inmerse everyday in our smartphones; for that reason, there are a lot of companies which are aware of these statistics, and they are investing in Mobile apps and platforms heavily.

One of the best examples is Facebook, which published the reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results, and announced a new Mobile application called Paper, which “lets you to explore and share stories from friends and the world around you”. If you read slowly the stats, you will see that importance of Mobile advertising and Mobile users for Facebook:

Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 53% of advertising revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013, up from approximately 23% of advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2012

But, Facebook is not the only company which changed its Business strategy and embraced Mobile (Thanks Sheryl); there are a lot of companies doing this; even there are some of these companies that the first thing is Mobile; and it seems that the strategy is working very well. I will concentrate in three of my favorite Mobile companies: Hotel Tonight, Uber, and Buffer.

Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight |

Sam and his team have created a simple, clean and beautiful Mobile application (for iOS and Android) to make last-minute reservations in hotels in several major cities of the world. I love what Sam and his team are doing because “they solved a problem for them first”, and after that; they scaled the business around the world. HotelTonight could become in a global company taking more deals from major hotel brands around the world.

But you should be wondering to yourself why I love this app no? Simple: Its clean design and its responsiveness:

Hotel Tonight App |

They are doing a remarkable work, making life ever easier for “global citizens”, but if you had an idea for the Hotel Tonight team, What could you do? In my case, I have one idea:

You must add more APAC-based cities to the platform, but the decision should not based on guessing, but using your own datasets. I will mention just four cities: Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Dubai

Like a Product Manager who loves Analytics and Data, I would make to myself just two questions to decide which would be the next cities to add to the platform:

  • Which are the hotel brands who have a good relationship with Hotel Tonight and have a strong presence in the APAC region?
  • From the current Hotel Tonight’s users, Which are the most visited cities in the APAC region?

These two questions could help to get better insights about the growth of the platform, and to obtain strong numbers and facts to expand the business. Sam has amazed a very good team, so they could work on this quickly; but if you think that you could be a good fit for the company, just apply here; always they are looking for good people with a good taste for Design and Data (Just a little note, before apply, make sure to read this post from Sam at LinkedIn).


Uber |

Uber is other of these companies which are shaking the local travel business using a beautiful combination of well designed Mobile apps (iOS and Android), Analytics and Business Strategy. I love these guys because they are a true Data-Driven company and the launches in new cities around the world are based in Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning and more Analytics methods.

If you want to see more of their work in Data Visualization and Data Analytics, just follow the #UberData section on their blog.

Like Sam; Travis Kalanik has an amazing crew, hungry of Data and commited to make great things for the world; so they are looking people with the same mission and goals in mind.


Buffer |

And the last team are my friends of Buffer. Joel and Leo have teached us how to build a different kind of company embracing Mobile platforms (for iOS and Android) for good with a radically good Culture code.

With a global distributed workforce, Buffer has had an amazing growth: 1,298,794 users, 1,298,794 all-time updates, 223,000+ updates per day, 18 full-time workers, a lot of extras for the app, an amazing blog with more than 10,290 subscribers and more.

Yes, they are different, even, they have something called “Open Salary Policy” where every member of the team knows exactly how is being paid every other members of the team. For example, if you want to join to the company to work like a Reliability Hacker, you base salary will be from 88k to 110k with a 0.5–1% in equity, and that’s precisely have done that Buffer has obtained more job applications in the last year: Honesty and hard work; just that. So, if you want to be part of this great team it’s very simple: be honest, have fun, work hard and travel the world in the process.


To conclude the post, I just want to encourage you, dear reader to embrace Mobile applications because every stats that you read are telling you that a lot of people in the world are using more their smartphones thant their computers; so if you don’t embrace today Mobile apps; you could not scale a business for the future. Hotel Tonight, Uber and Buffer understood that very well and they put hands and minds to work on their business strategy thinking in the long-term; so What are you waiting for? Start today.

Marcos Ortiz

Marcos Ortiz