No intro…no warmup, just 3 thoughts on Facebook:
1. Facebook has 900M users worldwide. If they made Facebook a $10.00 a year membership and all they got was 25% of those 900M to signup (I tend to think it would be more like 75%) they’d generate $2,250,000,000 in year 1. Still think Facebook is a stock not worth investing in?
2. Long term Facebook needs to figure out mobile. Hell, we all do. But, I want you think about something; much like Apple choosing to make the iPhone available on AT&T only…initially, what would happen if Facebook made their app available to only Verizon users? Or Droid users? Or made it free on Verizon and Droid, but $1.99 on iPhone and other carriers? Are users more loyal to Facebook, their phone operating system of mobile service provider? Don’t for a second think that this hasn’t been discussed. With mobile service providers getting rid of unlimited data plans, how big of a win would it be for Verizon to be the exclusive provider of the Facebook app…AND…data usage through that app wouldn’t count against your monthly data usage? Huge. Crazy big. That’s the power of Facebook; they are the only company right now that could pull something like that and force the cellular carriers to change their ways.
3. Lots of talk about Facebook creating a Facebook phone. I don’t think it’s crazy. One way to beat Apple’s walled garden is to build your own walled garden. Think about it for a second. Facebook has Instagram the #1 photo sharing platform. They recently launched their own photo taking/creating/sharing app as well. They have Facebook Messenger, which is a iMessage and BBM competitor. They have Facebook Pages as an app, now, to let you manage your business pages. They don’t need something like Google Contacts, gMail, or a Google Calendar because those are inherently built directly into the Facebook platform itself. Facebook even has an app store now! The only thing missing is a browser, although…many could argue that much like AOL in the early/mid 90s when people viewed the internet as AOL…that many people today see the internet as Facebook. Ok, you don’t like that argument? No problem, so Facebook could buy Firefox, Opera, Dolphin, Sky or any of the other browsers out there. Facebook has a lot of the dots on the board. If they chose to line them up, a Facebook phone wouldn’t be crazy…especially if you combine this idea with #2. Yes, imagine, Facebook building their phone, then pulling their apps and restricting access to Facebook from all other phones? Sounds very Apple to me…and I wouldn’t put it past them.
Some of these seem far out there. But, the reason they become something plausible is because Facebook is now a public company. They don’t answer to their community anymore. They don’t answer to their users. They answer to Wall Street. And when you answer to Wall Street you often do things to make your numbers beat estimates…even if it takes away from the DNA of who you are as a company. I always look at to the meteoric rise of Fallon when we/they were a private company and the subsequent rapid fall after they sold to Publicis and became public. When you answer the to the street instead of the users, things change….and when you don’t hit your quarterly numbers in successive quarters you do desperate things like charge for access and create your own walled garden.