Interview with Silvio Porcellana (mob.is.it)
mob.is.it is an affordable online tool for building mobile websites and mobile web apps. I interviewed Silvio Porcellana, mob.is.it founder to find out more. This interview is the thirty eighth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Silvio for the interview!
How would you describe mob.is.it in under 50 words?
It’s an awesome online tool that in a couple of clicks lets anybody build mobile websites that look really beautiful on a huge variety of mobile phones, from iPhones and Androids to BB and even older Nokias.
What made you decide to start working on mob.is.it?
I’ve always been fascinated by mobile phones – I created an online Blackjack game using WAP back in 2001 – so the mobile web revolution we are living today seemed like the “perfect storm” where I could put my skills and passion to the test.
How did you come up with the name?
Well, I wanted a name with a little bit of Italian spice along with a reference to mobile, keeping it short and easy to remember. The first idea was “mobile.is.it” but that sounded a bit too long hence: “mob.is.it”.
What technologies have you used to build mob.is.it?
The front-end and the CMS heavily rely on jQuery while we built the 1.0 version of our mobile websites using Sencha Touch. For a various set of reasons we then decided to switch to jQuery Mobile also for our mobile websites so it is fair to say that all of mob.is.it heavily relies on jQuery and HTML5.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing mob.is.it?
Balancing ease of use with flexibility and power.
We wanted to build a CMS that could be used by literally anyone – we strongly believe the mobile web is and needs to be for everybody – but at the same time we need to give our partners and power users freedom and maximum control over their mobile sites. Finding the right balance is a challenge that requires you to truly master the technology you are using.
Are websites built with mob.is.it compatible with all mobile devices?
Yes, we put a lot of effort in continuously testing all our mobile websites in a very wide variety of mobile devices: in my office I have an iPhone 4S, an iPhone 3GS, a couple of Androids, a BlackBerry Curve, an LG Windows Phone, a Nokia C6 and a Nokia 5000 – and I always test our sites on all these phones.
The other day I received a Nokia 3510: that’s or next frontier.
How long did it take to put together mob.is.it?
Well, it started as an experiment in Sencha Touch back in March 2011 and the official launch date was September 21st, 2011 (yes, the autumnal equinox…) so it took us about 6 months to put everything together. Obviously since then we never stopped coding and testing and deploying and testing and coding…
You don’t need not be a coding expert to use mob.is.it. Is this your USP?
Our main USP is: the mobile web is yours.
This is what we strongly believe in and this is the way we want to achieve it: by building a tool so easy that anybody can use it, by allowing people to create mobile websites that work and render perfectly on a huge variety of phones, and by doing all this at a very affordable price.
Who do you see as your target audience?
The audience of mob.is it are small/medium businesses who want to quickly and easily build their mobile website (B2C) along with marketing and web agencies who are looking for an advanced and reliable technological partner that will fulfil all their mobile web needs (B2B).
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
The main focus in our current development pipeline is m-commerce: we do already have a couple of widgets for selling products and services but our goal is to offer our customers a complete and flexible mobile commerce solution at a very reasonable price.
Has mob.is.it got the feedback and growth you expected since launch just a few months ago?
That’s the main thing I would like to thank our customers and users for: the awesome and incredibly useful amount of feedback we get every day, which is the perfect fuel for our development engine.
In terms of growth, we are a bootstrapped company with a tight budget so having 500 active users in less than 4 months, well, doesn’t sound too bad!
What are you most excited about at the moment?
When you have a baby you are very excited when he gives you his first smile or the first time he grabs and holds his favorite toy. Little things, but for you the biggest events in the world. Well, with a startup, your startup, it’s more or less the same thing: the first paying customer, when somebody writes you “hey guys, your product is awesome” or a call from a big marketing agency. Watching my creature grow, day by day, that’s what excites me the most.
Can you convince the reader to start using mob.is.it in under 50 words?
If you haven’t lived under a rock for the last couple of years you know the mobile web is The Next Big Thing. Come and grab your piece right now at mob.is.it. Free (to try), easy (to use), awesome (to enjoy).
Finished reading? Check out mob.is.it!