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No killer mobile app for SXSW, says TechCrunch

The myth of SXSW Interactive is that both Twitter and Foursquare exploded onto the Web 2.0 scene – the reality when you look at the services and when they were adopted by many is a little different. Still, the mantra is there, and that means many will be looking to Austin for the next big thing in mobile.

Kim-Mai Cutler doesn’t think we’ll find one.

But the reality is a bit more complex. From Facebook’s beginnings up until the IPO last year, the most hyped consumer startups like Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr a) tapped into people’s vanity or need for self-expression and b) leaned toward advertising.

The apps that I’ve stuck to in the last year like Zimride’s Lyft, Uber, etc. a) actually rely on users paying for goods or services (not advertising!) b) match supply and demand in two-sided markets in real-time and c) can pay for growth once they nail their lifetime value.

The key with these models is highly controlled growth. Startups like Lyft and Sidecar are limited by the number of quality drivers they can hire. Exec is only expanding to cities out of SF now that the company feels confident that it can maintain the user experience while scaling the supply-side remotely. These companies grow carefully, city by city and country by country.

Not by betting the farm on one big splashy SXSW launch.

Read on at TechCrunch.

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