Thursday, August 16, 2012

Defense of Facebook

Washington Post article on Facebook

As of today the value of Facebook has lost $40 billion since its IPO according to the Washington Post article referenced above. Although I am a Facebook user, I am not a big fan. My issues with Facebook are the same as I have with Apple products. Neither company does a good job of explaining the bells and whistles of their products. If you are a iPhone user, like I am, you probably were surprised, like I was, when you opened your new phone box and discovered a one page instruction manual. Now granted I am sure everything you could ever want to know is in the "cloud," but couldn't they have at least explained how to get to the cloud on the back of their one page instruction manual?

If you are like me and don't eat your lunch in a cafeteria surrounded by chatty classmates, your friends are not likely to share discoveries of new iPhone features. I am in a group that learns by studying an instruction manual, and not listening to friends or reading texts.

Facebook provides the same hurdle for me. I just do not have enough social interaction about cool stuff to figure it out. From my perspective Facebook lacks a mature business perspective. The first responsibility of a company is to know their customer. Knowing a customer requires categorizing and analyzing the customer so their expectations can be met. There is at least one segment of the Facebook customer pool that is not being investigated!

The second responsibility of a company is to understand what they are selling. Facebook is nearly blind in this arena. Their Mr. Magoo vision into their product offering is disconcerting. It is disconcerting since they do not explain it to their customer. One of their largest products is space for displaying photos. Why not organize photos by categories? Why not have navigation systems for the "organized" albums. Each of these add on features could be charged a fee. Aah Ha, a monetary return is invented. Will people pay to have a "cool" page? Of course, they will. Today Facebook is essentially giving away "free stuff." This is not the best strategy to make money. I know they sell ads, but everybody sells ads. Why can't they step up and do something besides cluttering each page with ads?

Facebook has done some things right, but they seem unaware of what they have created. One example is the "Like" thumbs up graphic. This alone is a brilliant idea that properly used could generate millions of dollars in revenue. I am going to avoid explaining how this could be used, because that is what I sell (organizing raw business ideas into profitable endeavors). Certainly, any "great" business analyst could take the "Like" idea and turn the money making machine into high gear. A good business is one that not only has a lot of customers, but one that sells what their customers want.

No comments:

Post a Comment