Pacific Northwest Wireless Summit 2009 kicked off today in Vancouver, Canada with an amazing Leadership Forum. The Forum was held on the 29th floor of Fasken Martineau‘s offices in downtown Vancouver. During the conference, the fog lifted momentarily to give us a great view of Vancouver waterfront with the Grouse Mountain in the background. Vancouver is a beautiful town, no doubts there.

But back to the Forum. The lineup of speakers was great. Steve Morley (20th employee at Qualcomm and its former VP Technology) stressed that start-up companies should not focus on their technology, but rather their customers. A common sense idea which unfortunately is not very common in the technology start-up world. Reminded me of a phrase Silicon Valley VC often used: technology is only a ticket to the game, not the game itself. The game is business, unfortunately too many companies get wrapped up in the (perceived) greatness of their technology that they forget all about the customer.

Dr. Wang Jing (Secretary-General & Senior Advisor at TD-SCDMA Forum, China), provided a great overview of the telecommunications industry in China. The market leaders, players and most importantly where the current and future opportunities are. Chinese market is growing by leaps and bounds and while major players dominate certain markets (carriers, for example) significant opportunities still exist for start-ups and smaller companies.

While Dr. Jing did not discuss the content space in the Chinese market, I believe there are great opportunities in that space, not only in China, but globally. Specifically, locally relevant content, especially when combined with user selected location based content. This market is ripe for explosion and quite a few interesting start-up companies are working in this area. Canpages, for example is working on the mobile version of their yellow pages. The demo on the iPhone was quite impressive.

Anshu Agarwal (VP Marketing, Keynote Systems) took us through his crystal ball and what the future holds for the next few years. The interesting part of his presentation was how he arrived at the future prediction based on recent innovations in the market place. If Anshu’s predictions are correct, the mobile industry is ready for a major surge, with innovative products hitting the market over the next 18 to 36 months.

Besides the presenters, there were several panel discussions, including a thought provoking panel led by Tony Fish (Co-Founder, AMF Ventures, UK) on convergence (sorry Tony, I owe you a dollar for using the C word) in the mobile industry.

All in all a great Forum. Thank you Michael Bidu and Christina Chowaniec of WINBC for putting together a great event.