You’ve probably seen the rumors but if not check out this link to an item on CNET about how Facebook wants to launch a store to compete with iTunes. From what we can tell the rumors are 100% true. They’ve tried to recruit away some of our guys and they’re offering ridiculous amounts of money plus the promise of a piece of that big huge Facebook IPO which is for sure going to happen any day now and create a whole new batch of boy wonder billionaires who will drive the price of Bay Area real estate even higher into the stratosphere. So far our guys aren’t jumping at the bait, mostly because they’re terrified of what I’d do to them, and rightly so. As CNET points out the move would make sense for Facebook, since “critics have said that the Mark Zuckerberg-founded company is going to need to find an innovative way to make money.” Not sure that copying an Apple idea qualifies as an “innovative” way to make money but let’s be honest. These guys need to find a way to make money, period. If that means doing a knockoff, so be it.
But has it started to occur to anyone that these kids really just have no idea what business they’re in or what kind of company they’re running? First they were a social networking site for college kids. Then they were going to be MySpace. Then they were a networking site for businesspeople, recruiting all these groups from GE, P&G, Citigroup, etc. Then they were going to be Google, making billions by selling ads. Then they were going to be Craigslist. Then they were going to be AOL, the new place for people to meet and hang out online. Then they were going to be Webkinz, a place where you can play online games and send virtual martinis. Then they were going to be a “platform” play like Microsoft and let others build an “ecosystem” around them. They were going to start a “movement” and lead a “revolution,” which all sounds good except that they were a revolution without a cause and a movement without an ideology and what exactly was it they were supposed to be toppling and everyone kind of figured out that they were really just using the Che Guevara rhetoric as a way to keep people from asking them what the fuck they’re actually making and/or selling. Then Faceberg was going to be me, and he even hired my presentation consultants and tried to develop a Jobsian persona with his black fleece jackets. Then they were going to be a TV network like YouTube, and then an online store, like Amazon. Then they were going to be a dessert topping, and then a floor wax. Now they’re going to be iTunes.
This is what happens when you raise lots of VC from Valley sharks before you’ve figured out what you’re doing. They all get seats on your board and they all start telling you what you should be and what you should do and every month it’s something else and pretty soon you’re going crazy. Because they’ll all just keep trying anything and they really have no idea what works either and they’re all just tossing darts into the darkness and hoping and praying that one of these things will hit something and your company will start to take off. Or maybe not. Maybe they’re actually trying to make you fail. You don’t want to think that but you start to wonder sometimes.
Then after a while if you don’t start making money they start using you to buy up their other struggling investments and mop up their messes. Or they mop you up by merging you into one of their other losers. Then when things really start cratering they force you to resign and make you the goat for all the company’s problems. Faceberg, you have 43 million users and 54 billion monthly page views, and you still can’t make any money. Now you want to make war on El Jobso? We’re shaking, kid. Shaking. (Photo: Burt Hammer, Tiger Beat.)