Last Saturday I was a panelist at the TABCON 2009 conference talking about mobile apps. It was a good panel where the last question was "can you give us an example of a radical mobile application". It was one of those open ended question that challenge the user to have to be insightful and creative at the same time.
While I was waiting my turn, I got stuck on the word "radical". Not "new" application, not "great" application, not "fun" or "popular" but radical. As a birdwatcher, I love the iBird application but that's not radical. Radical means radical.
In the 2 minutes I had to think, I thought of this one. It's not one app but the combination of a bunch of things.
Government 2.0, as I've written earlier is what Obama is doing: building a direct relationship with the voter through technology. Getting emails from the president, viewing him on youtube are all part of it. Ariana Huffington (one smart woman) said rightly that he looks more like an "independent candidate with the support of the democratic party". He has 20M emails of his supporters. Imagine if he had 5-, or 75 million emails. That's a new an interesting kind of power.
Now combine that with Google Latitude, that lets friends share where they are. Imagine a political leader had direct access to 50M people and at any given time KNEW WHERE THEY WERE. That to me is radical. You can do very interesting things with this. You can ask them to show up at places or do things together. You tell not 1M, not 10 thousand but 1000 people to show up somewhere with one email, you got yourself any protest you want. You can block things, stop things without using guns.
Any why shouldn't you use guns? I hear in Texas, a popular iPhone app is the "NRA app". The Apple ads on TV goes like this: "Imagine you wanted to tell your friends what kind of assault weapon you just put in your trunk. There is an app for that."
But seriously. 50M people, you know where they are, just figure out a way to know what kind of weapons they have and pal, you got yourself an army.
Now that's a radical app.
Thanks Efe for another great conference on Saturday.