Why Facebook Beat Myspace… Focus On Innovation And Product Development

News item — Murdoch’s News Corp ponders MySpace sale:  Loss-making social networking site has found it tough competing with rivals Facebook and Twitter.

Who wins? This guy...

I have asked my students this question:  “How many of you have a Myspace page?  How about a Facebook page?  My experience is this – Myspace came and went in the blink of an eye, and Facebook has come, and stayed, and all of my students not only have  a Facebook page, but use it constantly.  (In fact, my own son, who – how do I say this delicately?…, is not too interested in reading my blog posts…, actually reposted my recent blog post on obesity from my Facebook link to his Facebook link).

Facebook has clearly and soundly defeated Myspace, and at the moment no rival seems to be rising to make much of a dent in its dominance.  Why?

Here’s one reason – Mark Zuckerberg is one of those rare business geniuses.  Of course it takes a team:  the right people with the right skills and the right chemistry working together throughout the entire enterprise…   But it takes a singular vision from a key/the key player.  Consider Steve Jobs.  Consider Mark Zuckerberg.

or this guy?

But at the heart of this competition stands the focus of this modern day business genius – a  constant, unyielding focus on innovation.

Here is a brief excerpt from a story about the decline of Myspace that captures this (from the Huffington Post, How News Corp Got Lost In Myspace by Yinka Adegoke, Reuters):

Zuckerberg’s great strength, say his one-time rivals from Myspace, was that he and his team were focused on product development and innovation while Myspace had become too concerned with revenue and meeting traffic targets of its Google deal.

“The technology fell behind and it just shows that even when you have a massive user base you still need to offer something new to keep people engaged,” said BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.

A focus on innovation and product development produces the possibility of dominance.  A focus on revenue produces vulnerability.

Lesson over.

By the way, what’s your business focus?

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By the way, take a look at the bottom of this blog post.  With a click of your mouse, you can post this to your Facebook page.  (Please do so!)  Do you see the Myspace button?  I didn’t think so…

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