Great movies are seldom slaves to the facts, and The Social Network is no exception. But the movie does highlight some extremely important facts:
What’s your relationship status? One of Facebook’s great innovations was allowing people to broadcast around the world whether they are in a relationship, or looking for one. Talk about adding value to horny teenagers (and adults.)
If you let them, people will customize their experience. Facebook isn’t a provider of content, it’s an enabler. Until recently, it didn’t personalize content, but instead let users personalize the experience by adding their own content, and by deciding who sees it.
Advertising isn’t cool. Had Facebook accepted advertising in year one, it wouldn’t exist today. With customer-oriented start-ups, you have to pull people in, grow to critical mass, and shape the customer experience. Then – only then – can you monetize what you have built. Even thought Google and Yahoo depend on advertising for their revenues, I can’t help but think that advertising’s days are numbered.
Facebook is an early pioneer of the Personal Economy, even though none of its founders ever thought of it that way. The site allows individuals to matter. It allows them to deal one on one (and one to some-of-the-many) with other individuals, and each of our experiences on Facebook is personal. None of us experience the same site.
This is where our economy is headed: infinite versions, powered by human nature and enabled by code.