Let’s get one thing straight. In the book entitled The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick, there’s one thing very clear in this book. David is on friendly terms with Mark Zuckerberg. It’s a bit different from The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich. Ben was probably never friends with Mark.
Ben’s book has been made into a movie. People love topics like “sex” and “money”, floating in the movie scenes. As an interesting exercise, go to Amazon and read through the read reviews, for these two books. The Facebook Effect is found at amazon.com/Face… and Accidental Billionaires is found at amazon.com/Acci….
Here’s another interesting exercise. I normally feed my blog posts to my Facebook page at facebook.com/ra…, but you might not find this and last week’s this blog post on the NOTES section, of my Facebook profile. Normally, I have my weekly blog posts added to my NOTES section. Could it be that the Facebook “censorship board” is suppressing it? Let’s wait and see!
Facebook does have its criticisms. You can find them in an excellent Wiki article at en.wikipedia.or…. . I love and use Facebook. I really don’t care whom the real Mark Zuckerberg is. What’s important to me is usability. And what we are exploring today is what David Kirkpatrick says about Facebook – not what Ben Mezrich says. Sometime in the future, I’ll see the movie version on RedBox and read the book.
The Facebook Effect
One thing comes clear in this story. There was much competition from services like MySpace and Friendster. MySpace was purchased by Rupert Murdoch , the international media tycoon. Renown reporter Mike Royko worked for the Chicago Sun Times, a paper Rupert would buy. He was quoted as saying, “No self respecting fish would wrap themselves in a Murdoch newspaper.” Mike went on to work for the Chicago Tribune.
Friendster was another story. It became localized to Brazil, which has the largest membership percentage. FaceBook took a phased approach. They released it to select Ivy League colleges, with hints at the next roll outs. It became popular on Ivy League college campuses, beating out other competing local service.
Another interesting aspect is how Mark played with the venture capitalists. Often he held meetings with them, just to learn. Google was often in talks with Mark. Yet our CEO allowed Microsoft to buy ad space and used Microsoft to play against Google. In reality, he would inflate the value of Facebook to potential buyers – yet he did get some willing purchasers, ready to pay the price.
Which brings use to data. Facebook is a private network, with about 0.5 billion users. Their profile data is hidden on Facebook servers, which aren’t accessible to Google and Microsoft. They have their own private marketing data mine, which they lock out from major search engine players.
Mark has made some mistakes. Mostly these center around privacy issues, on how the data is used. Some policies got him in trouble, but he did bounce back. He allowed the fireworks to get users involved. He probably did some excellent Bobby Fisher, Facebook chess moves.
There are things that worry Mark. The biggest one was Twitter and they are keeping a sharp eye. Why do you think Facebook brought Friend Feed? Yet you don’t see folks jumping on the Friend Feed wagon, like they do with Twitter. Twitter has been on many ABC news casts (plus other news networks), in their feature stories – either directly or indirectly.
I think the truth about Mark likes somewhere between the David Kirkpatrick and Ben Mezrich presentations. It’s like that old Gestalt picture. Do you see two people facing each other, or a vase?