19 Jan

reDesign mobile is a product strategy consulting practice focused on Internet and mobile technologies. My focus is on helping executives figure out the best strategies and identify big, bold new opportunities. My cross-functional experience means that I view products like customers do: as a whole. Customers don’t separate out their experience among marketing, design, product and operations.

I have significant expertise in local, mapping, payments, social and mobile technologies.

Among the questions I can help you answer:

  • What should our mobile strategy be?
  • What should our social strategy be?
  • How can we improve our customer experience?
  • Whom should we partner with?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competition?
  • What are the most important questions I should ask potential customers?
  • What are the right messages that will resonate with consumers?
  • What are the messages that will resonate with media?
  • What will resonate with investors?
  • What’s the best way to bring the product to market?
  • How should I price my product or service?
  • What are the minimum features required to come to market?
  • What startups should we be looking to acquire or invest in?

Any consulting and strategic work I do is provided on a confidential basis and is not used in my reporting.

Although I am an author and commentator, my writing is based on my news judgment and is not influenced by clients.

I am based in San Francisco, but I’m available for projects around the world. (Either remote or on-site.)

For pricing and availability, please email

I’m joining OLO’s advisory board

31 Oct

I’m pleased to announce that I’m joining the advisory board of OLO. You can see the press release here. Forbes recently had a great write up of OLO.

OLO provides online ordering for companies such as Five Guys, Noodles & Co. and Cold Stone Creamery. Guests can order from their smartphones and pick up their order in store without waiting in line.

I met founder Noah Glass earlier this year and was very impressed by his commitment to helping restaurants incorporate mobile technologies.

Mobile has changed a lot of spaces already; I think there’s a lot of potential to improve the restaurant experience for both consumers and operators:

  • A better consumer experience. We’ve all experienced the lunch rush. Your stomach is grumbling and you just want to eat. With order ahead, you can bypass the line and get straight to your food. Mobile ordering also increases order accuracy because you can see what you’re ordering. I was recently at a bar in Utah and ordered a Hop Notch IPA. The bartender thought I said half nachos. Oops.
  • Increased throughput for restaurants. People who know what they want aren’t turned off by a long line and go elsewhere.
  • Reduced operational costs for restaurants. Miscommunication in ordering and unclaimed orders cost restaurants money.

As I’ve noted repeatedly in my writings, local is a hard slog and OLO has shown the dedication and perseverance necessary to succeed in local. The company started off with mobile ordering by text message in 2005. It is also well financed, having recently received a strategic investment from PayPal as part of a $5 million round.

Noah and team are off to a great start and I look forward to working with them to help restaurants take advantage of mobile.

Google Going Too Far?

28 Jun

The WSJ reported Google is creating a watch and a game console. I discuss with Lance Ulanoff, Mashable, and the CNBC team on whether the company is spreading itself too thin.



Payment provider Square scraps gift card service

27 Jun

I talk to Reuters about Square killing its gift card product less than a year after launch.

The gift card service “wasn’t a very well thought-out experience,” said Rocky Agrawal, payment and commerce analyst at reDesign Mobile. Agrawal said he tested the gift cards at several merchants and at least half of the businesses did not know how to redeem them.

Square may also have had trouble dealing with different state laws covering gift cards. In California, if a consumer has a balance of less than $10 on a gift card, merchants are required to refund that value in cash, according to Agrawal.

“Merchants didn’t know anything about that when I asked them,” he said.


Is Apple’s Innovation Fizzling?

11 Jun

Apple’s marketing head Phil Schiller remains confident in the company’s ability to innovate, with CNBC’s Brian Sullivan. Rakesh Agrawal, reDesign, and CNBC’s Herb Greenberg, provide perspective.


Google’s Glass Guidelines Provide Clues to Future Bank Apps

17 Apr

I talk to American Banker about how Google Glass could be used in payments.

For banks, certain Glass apps have obivous appeal, says Rakesh Agrawal, principal analyst at product strategy consulting company reDesign Mobile. Two possibilities: fraud prevention and detection and real-time transaction alerts.

Agrawal says the app submission process could be a boon for banks. “I would consider that to be a good thing,” he says. “You don’t want phishers. If they [Google executives] weren’t checking submissions, it would be possible for someone to submit a bogus Bank of America app just to get people’s passwords.”


A Facebook phone: Why?

3 Apr

I talk to Marketplace in advance of the Facebook phone announcement.

Audio and story.

Facebook experiments with free Wi-Fi, for a price

7 Mar

I talk to APM’s Marketplace about Facebook and free WiFi

Facebook says its experimenting with a few local businesses to “offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook.”

Rocky Agrawal, a consultant at reDesign mobile, suspects there’s more to this than good will.

“It’s a good way for Facebook to know where you’re at, they can deliver all sorts of new offers,” Agrawal says.

Story and audio.


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