Monday, September 17, 2012

Are You Concerned by Declines in Certain Facebook Segments?

It’s 2008 all over again, except this time it’s Facebook instead of MySpace on the decline, and there’s no clear-cut replacement to supplant it. The biggest culprit, in the end, may be simple and broad: mobile.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said enough good things to boost the company’s stock price last week, but he downplayed declines in two key areas: U.S. desktop usages (where Facebook has traditionally sold most of its ads) and among younger users (which have always been seen as Facebook’s core user group).

Facebook plays long ball. Like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg concentrates on strategy, not tactics.

For example, for what seemed like forever, Facebook didn’t have an iPhone app. Did this slow its growth, dent its reputation, alarm its wunderkind CEO? No. Facebook focused on the Big Picture, as Zuckerberg saw it.

Indeed, when Facebook’s app finally appeared, it was buggy and slow and scathingly reviewed. Again: Zuckerberg and company charged on, convinced of their destiny.

Similarly, that his one and only product is losing critical users would distress the typical CEO, the guy who monitors his company’s stock and can easily be dismissed by his board of directors. But Zuckerberg is sui generis. He’s a visionary who, despite challenge after challenge—Friendster, MySpace, Google—puts his money where his mouth is.

Like Steve Jobs opening bricks and mortar stores when the computer world was going virtual, Mark Zuckerberg, no doubt, has a plan. I don’t know what it is, but I’m confident that Facebook will navigate this latest hurdle with the one thing it’s always done well: overall growth.

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