Thursday, October 01, 2009

Free Business Advice for Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I read the business advice given to you recently by Time magazine and Wired. Don't be dumb, don't listen to them, listen to me.

My guidance is good, my insights profound, and I'm a sage business advisor. Here we go. A corporate strategy for your success in a few hundred words. Here's the summary:

1. Give me multiple Faces and categories for friends and contacts.
2. Provide me for a fee
a digital archive or vault service. I'd happily pay.
3. Allow me to
use Facebook as my single place for discussions, groups, clubs, and forums. Right now, I use way too many phpbbs, yahoo groups, ning groups, and so on and so forth, It's only because your groups and discussions are so weak.

Facebook's great two challenges are:

1. Lock in your users. Otherwise, you risk being a Myspace or Friendster. You need something more than just being the best place to be. We've seen that people are willing to abandon years of building their sites and links and friends for a better "scene". Don't be complacent. It's not enough. Imagine the horror of other really good entries into the social networking space which are really well combined with other popular areas such as music and games or mobile computing. I can imagine some Apple initiatives where they combine the Iphone, their music business, a partnership with say Electronic Arts, and a social media system which would be a very major threat to you. I can scare you with other scenarios. Your apps are good but you need to keep making Facebook indispensible to us.

2. Business model. Recurring cost-effective revenue. Ongoing growth in revenue per user. These are your challenges. Right now, your business nascent...a hope and development. In short, you don't have one and you take some comfort from the fact that Google figured one out before they got to a real crisis. Of course, others sites (think YouTube and Twitter and MySpace) have not.

Here's the good news. The solution is not difficult. You can complete your emergence as a company by offering a few more features and services that resolve these two challenges. It's easy to implement, no real tough technology. Here's what you should do. As a package, it's coherent and will work. It still allows you to a lot of other things.
Facebook Strategic Plan

1. Allow individuals to have multiple Faces and categories of friends/contacts. One set of my friends might be my family. Another might be my old college friends. A third could be friends from karate. And another big set of contacts could be my business contacts. For each of them, I have a slightly different Face. So family gets to see lots of pictures of my kids but they don't have to suffer through my posting of information about my business. So each time I post a picture or post, I'll need to check which Face it shows on. This allows Facebook to become really useful for business and avoid some of the awkwardness that currently impinges its use.

2. Archiving my digital assets. Right now, all computer users seem to have the same problem of managing our digital assets. We have lots of pictures and contacts and files. We're getting use to the fact that we have home computers, office computers, a portable in the trunk of our car for when we have time to stop at Starbucks, and our Iphone with all of it's pictures. The storing and archiving of all of this digital stuff is a problem. The best solution that I've found is but there are others. Essentially, it's a centralized archive place where you can store stuff for some small amount. Why not allow us 10 MB of free storage forever with each Facebook account? That way, we have our pictures and videos in Facebook and it's easier to check which ones are public (and for which Face) and which ones are private. And, if we need more storage, we just pay a simple $4 for 100 MB per month. I'd probably trust Facebook to keep it safe and would like the convenience of having a single storage place. I'd like to have a direct link between Facebook and the original. And I'd like that my Iphone and camera already deal with Facebook so I could imagine it would be easy to get my photos automatically archived there. Would I pay $4 a month? In fact, being a packrat, I'd probably be paying $8 or $12 month and since it takes several days to get everything uploaded the first time, I'd probably stay forever. Soon, I'm paying maybe $12/month, $144 per year to Facebook and it's the center of my digital assets world. And I'm happy for the convenience.

3. Make groups and subgroups and clubs work. Right now, if I want to start a community, I use Ning. You should fix your discussions and groups and fan pages so that there's no need for others to create specialized communities with endless different identities and logins and passwords.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, great strategy. You should sell it for a million dollars to Facebook.

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Unknown said...

Wow, great strategy. You should sell it for a million dollars to Facebook.

Unknown said...

I think it's an effective strategy using FaceBook.As we all know that the more friends we get from it, the more we broadened our community so it's really making business opportunities.

Thanks for sharing this information.

Unknown said...

nice blog very good

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