There Is No Second

It is a truism that those companies who are first out of the blocks with an innovative idea are often the most successful. While ‘first user advantage’ doesn’t last for long, it does set the pace for others to try and follow.

This is equally true in the wonderful world of social media. Those who come to the table late are left with the crumbs.

Witness AOL’s purchase of Bebo for $US850 million . They dropped it from their company portfiolio this past summer for under $10 million.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz of the Motley Fool says that:

MySpace is trying to do what Friendster, Tribe.net, Bebo, and any social network that squandered its 15 minutes has failed to do.

I guess MySpace missed the memo. You only get one shot to matter in Web 2.0, and its time came and went. News Corp. should have either cashed out of MySpace when it was hot — or at the very least, peaking. We’re living in Facebook’s world now, until that site somehow stumbles.”

or one could take the Microsoft route and try to buy the most world’s successful social media platform.

David Kirkpatrick stated in his book “The Facebook Effect” that Microsoft made an offer of $15 billion for Facebook:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had flown to Palo Alto to visit his young counterpart twice. As Zuckerberg is wont to do, he took Ballmer on a long walk. Zuckerberg told Ballmer that Facebook was raising money at a $15 billion valuation. But Ballmer had come with something more sweeping in mind. “Why don’t we just buy you for $15 billion?” he replied, according to a very knowledgeable source. Zuckerberg was unmoved even by this offer. “I don’t want to sell the company unless I can keep control,” said Zuckerberg, as he always did in such situations.

Ballmer took this reply as a sort of challenge. He went back to Microsoft’s headquarters and concocted a plan intended to acquire Facebook in stages over a period of years to enable Zuckerberg to keep calling the shots. But Zuckerberg rejected all the overtures. What Ballmer finally agreed to instead was an advertising deal that included a provision for Microsoft to pay a huge amount, $240 million, for a sliver of Facebook, 1.6%. Microsoft’s investment gave Facebook an implied value of $15 billion.

Microsoft’s Senior Director of Corporate Strategy and Acquisitions Fritz Lanman has since confirmed that this offer took place

Quite apart from acquisitions, companies are beginning to realise that social medai responsibility needs to be embedded within an organisation and not reside soley in the hands of a few specialist staff.

The New York Times for example have just eliminated it post of social media editor in an acknowledgement that such activity is a shared responsibility.

Social media can’t belong to one person; it needs to be part of everyone’s job. It has to be integrated into the existing editorial process and production process. I’m convinced that’s the only way we’re going to crack the engagement nut.” says New York Times Social Media Editor Jennifer Preston.


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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is an international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region. http://thedigitalconsultant.blogspot.com
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