about business / Social Media / Social Networks

Built to Blast


A former member of my team at Intel and now a close friend, visited with us this weekend.  We talk about my recent post regarding Facebook. I explained in detail why I think Facebook is more valuable now than it will be in two years (see Facebook: Take the money and run).  My friends, used Microsoft as an example of a company that did not have the best technology but still succeeded.  He also cited Google.  I thought they were poor examples and for many of the same reasons.   There was a term that was popular in the early 2000s.  It was “Built to last“.  There was a book by this title.  The idea was that some companies were built to last such as IBM, GM etc. while other companies were built to go public or to be acquired.   Microsoft was built to last.  Intel was built to last.  Apple was built to last.  Cisco was built to last.  Google was the last major technology company that was built to last I think.  Facebook was not built to last.  Companies like Intel and Microsoft built their products from the ground up.  But now more and more companies are able to create a company (notice I did not say “business”) with a thin veneer of technology.  I actually think this is wonderful as long as the executives and boards of these companies are not confused by what they are doing.  I think of companies like Facebook, Twitter, etc as media properties.  They are probably like a really great TV series that has a 3-8 year run.  And speaking of “run”.  I say “take the money run”.

3 thoughts on “Built to Blast

  1. One of the key elements of companies that are built to last is that they generally offer a tangible product or a very useful service. Interaction with friends on Facebook is not a tangible product and is only a marginally useful service. However it is hugely popular and if someone figures out how to appropriately monitize this gathering of 85 million participants, how to tap this hugely rich well, by offering something a bit more tangible then perhaps it can become something that will last instead of the passing fad it currently is. Soon someone will come out with a newer, flashier community site and Facebook will go the way of MySpace.

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  2. I agree Twitter has the feel of a fad in its current incarnation. It may have already jumped the shark. Increasingly I see accounts that have gone untouched for months. On the other hand it has played a pivotal role in real time international news. In that respect it has a sort of early CNN thing going for it. Who’s to say where they could take the company? It doesn’t have one or a few easily identifiable audiences, which is both the challenge and the opportunity.

    I’d be curious to hear your view on why Intel acquired McAfee. It strikes me that Intel’s whole corporate orientation is chips. Even their VC arm invests only in things that will use lots of chips. While security is important, and becoming increasingly so, McAfee seems (to me) to split Intel’s focus. Different distribution channels, different pricing and development approaches. Different orientations. I hope this is a well considered diversification, and that they see something here that I don’t, but I find it rather odd. You? (The approach of the investment world is traditionally to buy the rumored takeover candidate and short the buyer. Usually for good reason.)

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  3. very well said. There were several sites like Orkut, which was very popular among the users. At one time, it was the most popular site of the world, like today Facebook is. But it did not last.

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