The Mobile Innovation Group at Stanford, INSEAD, and MIT Sloan

We study innovation on mobile application platforms ("appstores")


The Agenda

The Mobile Innovation Group is a multi-institution group of researchers at Stanford, INSEAD, and MIT that studies how mobile platforms enable a new set of entrepreneurs and innovative ideas to emerge.

We are interested in

  1. Quantitative and qualitative studies of developers as entrepreneurs and innovators
  2. Monetization strategies in mobile applications
  3. Evolution of the two major mobile platforms and effects on developers

Click on the tabs below to find out more about our group.
Note for survey participants : Please email us at in case of any problems.

Project Description and Research Papers

Our Questions

  • Why do some ventures produce innovative "killer apps" while others don't?  How does the entrepreneurial innovation process change in mature and nascent categories of the mobile ecosystem?
  • Why do some ventures diversify their application product portfolio across difference categories?
  • Why do some ventures multi-home (develop applications for multiple platforms like Apple and Google) while others don't?
  • What business models (e.g, different pricing schemes, in-app purchases, advertising networks, etc.) lead to highest firm performance in mobile ecosystems?

We adopt a variety of empirical approaches to get at these questions. We collect and analyze large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data to make claims about our hypotheses.

Our first three papers from this project are below:

The Team


Jason Davis

Theodore T. Miller (1922) Career Development Professor
Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

Jason's current research focuses on the organization of collaborative innovation between firms in the computing and communications industries. Using data collected in the field, current projects examine the leadership processes, collaborative networks, and temporal structures underlying inter-organizational relationships. His other research has explored how entrepreneurial firms develop the cognitive content of organizational processes, and how the amount of organizational structure shapes firm adaptation.

Pai-Ling Yin

Richard S. Leghorn (1939) Career Development Professor
Assistant Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

Pai-Ling's research focuses on how firms compete in the presence of network effects. She has studied the roles that demand side drivers (in particular, uncertainty) and supply side actions such as control of distribution affect industry evolution. Her demand side work includes a study of information aggregation and dispersion in eBay online auction markets for computers. Recent work examines how second-movers can tip markets characterized by network effects in their favor, with specific application to the browser wars and derivatives exchange competition. The use of survey data is a methodological theme underlying her work. She has also written cases on technology and strategy (TiVo, PalmSource, Qualcomm, SAP).

Timothy F. Bresnahan

Landau Professor of Technology and the Economy, Department of Economics, Stanford University

Timothy Bresnahan is the Landau Professor of Technology and the Economy in the Economics Department at Stanford University. He is also, by courtesy, a Professor of Economics for the Graduate School of Business. He is the former Chief Economist of the Antitrust Division of the U. S. Department of Justice. His research focuses on industrial organization, applied econometrics, and the economics of technology. Currently, he is researching entry and appropriability in technology industries, competition between old and new-paradigm computing, and economic organization for high social return to technical progress.

Graduate Students

Markus Baldauf

Markus Baldauf is a PhD candidate in the Stanford economics department.  His research focuses on finance and empirical industrial organization.  Previously, Markus worked as a consultant in competition and antitrust matters in London.  He holds BSc and and MSc degrees in Economics.

Alireza Forouzan

Management Science and Engineering
Alireza was a graduate student at Stanford University while he was working with Mobile Innovation Group. He holds MSc in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford and BSc in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University.

Tim Jaconette

Researcher, Economics
Tim is a Senior Researcher at the Stanford University Economics Department. He previously managed online and digital marketing for both a leading Fortune 500 company and a start-up.  Also, Tim has been behind the scenes at CNN, CBS and ABC. He interviewed numerous movie stars in Los Angeles and New York City while serving as executive director of a student digital media group. Tim holds a master’s degree from Stanford University and earned his bachelor's degree with Highest Honors from The University of California, Berkeley where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Jorge Guzman

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management

Jorge is a PhD student at MIT - TIES. He is interested in entrepreneurship in emerging markets, strategy from emerging markets, the influence of institutions in firm and its outcomes, and the establishment and evolution of the social contract between firms and societies.

Irfan Mohammed

Sloan School and School of Engineering

Irfan has extensive real world IT management and strategy experience, working with companies such as Sourcebits, Schneider Electric, Murex, Verizon, and AOL Time Warner. He is currently working on a mobile based startup.

Abhishek Nagaraj

Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management

Abhishek is interested in various aspects of platform competition and innovation on two-sided markets. He is a second year graduate student at MIT Sloan and holds previous degrees in computer science and business.

Joe Orsini

Joe is a third year PhD Student in the Economics Department at Stanford University. He is currently researching multihoming among mobile app developers and how this behavior relates to both the success of an app and its apparent monetizaiton strategy. Joe is also interested in the economics of health care and health insurance, and his other work studies the relationship between health and health insurance demand in the individual insurance market.

Hatim Rahman

Management Science and Engineering
Hatim is a master's student at Stanford concentrating in Organizations, Technology, and Entrepreneurship. He is interested in the impact of new technology on innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategy.

Masoud Tavazoei

Management Science and Engineering
Masoud’s interests center on Industrial Organization, Business Intelligence, applied microeconomics, Strategies for Tech start-ups and entrepreneurship.  Right now he is working on his Master’s degree in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University and he holds previous degrees in Electrical Engineering and Finance.

Asiya Wadud

African Studies
Asiya is a master's student in the African Studies department at Stanford, where her work focuses on the intersection of mobile phone-enabled civic innovation and slum upgrading in East African cities.

Juan Rios

Juan is a second year PhD Student in the Economics Department at Stanford University. He is currently researching category choices by app developers. He is interested in Industrial Organization and Public Economics.

Emanuele Colonnelli

Emanuele is a second year PhD student in Economics at Stanford University. His main research focuses on empirical corporate finance and the economics of innovation, with a special interest in early stage ventures and emerging economies. He is currently studying the impact venture capitalists and angel investors have on the growth of mobile developers, the role "soft" information plays in the access to finance of small and medium enterprises in Brazil, and the adoption of mobile technologies and access to virtual social networks among micro-entrepreneurs in Ghana. He holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Siena and a MSc in Economics from Bocconi University. His main hobbies are basketball and scuba diving.

Joon Yoon

Joon is a second year PhD student in Economics at Stanford University. His interests are empirical corporate finance and international trade. Within the MIG, he studies the monetization scheme of app developers and the effect of app store rankings on developers' profits.

Undergraduate Students

Rachel Chuen

Rachel Ah Chuen is currently a junior at MIT double majoring in Mathematics and Management. She is also pursuing a minor in Economics. Her academic interests are information theory, combinatorics and econometrics. Rachel's hobbies include tennis, wake-boarding and scuba-diving.

Kirill Demtchouk

Kirill is a senior at Stanford majoring in Economics. He has interests in mobile platforms, finance, and international economics. He is an avid movie buff and enjoys playing the guitar.

Carlos Garay

Carlos is a member of MIT's class of 2015. He is studying Mathematics with Computer Science, and Economics. In addition to working for the MIG, he has done data crunching for Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management, and World Bank. He is interested in learning about how ingenious use of unconventional datasets can help managers, in all industries, make better strategic decisions. In his free time, he likes to weight train, travel, and eat delicious food.

Nayantara Jain

Nayantara is a sophomore at Stanford majoring in Computer Science. She is interested in mobile software, interesting problems and jazz music.

Jing Li

Jing is a senior at MIT majoring in Math and Economics. She is interested in development, industrial organization and applied microeconomics research.

Francis Plaza

Francis is a sophomore at MIT and is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Francis is interested in web programming and mobile software.

Bassil Tabidi

Bassil is a rising senior at MIT majoring in Math with Computer Science. His interests lie in smartphone application development, gaming and mobile platforms.

Sula Yang

Sula Yang is currently a junior at Wellesley College majoring in economics and English. Her academic interests are digital market analysis, environmental and resource economics, and Shakespearean/Miltonian literature. Outside of school she enjoys kickboxing, playing the ukulele, and watching action movies.

Jin Park

Jin is a senior at Stanford studying International Relations and Economics. He is passionate about exploring different forces influencing social interactions, including politics, international affairs, and now online and mobile platforms.

Jaron Moore

Jaron is a senior at Stanford studying Product Design and Computer Science. His academic interests focus on the intersection of art and engineering.

Robert Burns

Robert is a senior at Stanford majoring in International Relations and minoring in Economics. His academic career has focused on Asian economic development and multilateral trade. He is also business proficient in Mandarin Chinese. After interning in trade consulting in Beijing, China, Robert returned to the States and worked in expansion strategy at the US corporate headquarters of H&M. Outside of class, Robert enjoys keeping up with international news and traveling. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in global retail strategy.

Osama El-Gabalawy

Osama is a junior at Stanford majoring in Biology. He is interested in smartphone apps and the intersection of technology and medicine. In his spare time, he likes listening to hip hop and playing basketball.

Julia Kho

Julia holds a bachelors degree in Economics from Stanford University. She is interested in behavioral and experimental economics, technological trends, and mobile applications.

Best, Worst, and Interesting Apps

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App Developer

If you are a serious application developer then we want to talk to you! We are interested in learning from application development companies and individual developers and their experiences with competition on mobile app. marketplaces. In return we might be able to share with you some early insights from our data.

Academic / Researcher

If you are an academic or a researcher who studies online platforms we might be able to ship out our research to you early! In case you are interested in working with us or contributing to our project in anyway, then join our mailing list.

MIT Student

If you are an MIT student then we are always on the lookout for smart undergrads to join us via the UROP program. This is a snippet of our UROP job posting for last semester. As a research assistant you will be working on collecting data and analyzing trends in one of the most fascinatings markets of today! Get in touch with us today!

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