Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's Wrong with Facebook?

Interesting article here about the general disgruntlement of Facebook users and Facebook's stock fiasco.

I use Facebook. In fact, I was one of the very first 100,000 people ever on Facebook during its initial trial public run, which is why my screen name on Facebook is simply my first name and middle initial. For the first incarnation of Facebook, you did not even need a last name because there were so few people on it. I have to admit, the quality of Facebook has deteriorated in the last few years.

I think the major premise that Facebook, Inc., does not seem to understand is that “the customer is always right.” I know Facebook now has stockholders and all wanting to see a profit, but the first two rules of making a profit is to make customers and then to make them happy. Zuckerberg does not seem to understand this basic business reality. You can have a good product at affordable prices, but if your customers feel like they are being treated with disdain, then they are not going to be loyal customers, even if you have managed to corner the market.

Zuckerberg has consistently followed the top down Henry Ford pattern of “You can have your Model T in any color, provided the color you want is black,” or in this case, “You can have your individualized Facebook page and experience in any configuration you want, provided you use the Facebook Timeline.” Zuckerberg has just, time and again, changed the user features of Facebook and completely treated people's issues with privacy and other concerns with disdain and has never consulted the customers for feedback in a meaningful way. In fact, he often just changes things about Facebook often against outcries by people who don’t like the way he’s changed the format or whatever. He thinks he can get away it because there is no other alternative because he’s cornered the market.

His usual argument if all else fails is, "Well, you get what you pay for. It's free to use, so don't complain." The problem with that logic is that we do pay, just not necessarily with a monthly cash fee. We pay in other ways like having to look at annoying advertising and put up with his dictatorial and privacy violating antics. He's making money off us, just not in the monthly user fee variety.

Zuckerberg follows the model of “the customer is always wrong because I know better what the customer really wants or needs.” We are watching that model blow up in his face with the Facebook initial public offering of stock fiasco because no one wants to buy stock in a company that treats the customers like mindless minions who will either be assimilated to his way or the highway.

If he would actually listen to his hoards of disgruntled users, he’d get a whole lot farther with selling stock.

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