26 May 2012

Why You Should Buy Facebook

I have little doubt that the Facebook team's software could be duplicated or even improved on. I have serious doubts that your network of friends within Facebook can be so easily duplicated.

I travel quite a bit. I also talk to strangers.

One thing that I've learned as I chat with various folks is that while many people move for love or career - move long distances for a new job or true love - most folks tend to settle where they've got a network. They may feel ambivalent or fond of their area, but they know that if they move elsewhere they won't have the network of friends and family that they do in this place. It's not that they don't acknowledge better weather or job prospects across the country. What keeps them in place is the stickiness of networks that are hard to replace. It takes less artistry and effort to be in a web than spin one.

Facebook is partly a social platform. Better ones may come along. But Facebook has become something else: it is now a network where you can find your friends. They are there already. It could be that someone will soon come up with a better place to live, or network. The question is, will the stickiness of the Facebook network be hard to escape? You see, it is not just a matter of some team surpassing what Zuckerberg and the Facebook team have done. Each user has to duplicate the creation of their network of friends and family in this new social network. That suggests an orderly exit and re-entry onto a new site. Imagine that it is not just you deciding to move from Cleveland to Chicago for a new job; in order to make your wife happy with the move, you also need to find homes in Chicago for her family and friends.

Tuesday I'm buying shares of Facebook. Partly because I like what they've already done with the product and because of its potential to become the hub and entry point for the Internet for the average person, but mostly because it seems like a sticky network that's already too much effort to escape.

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