Well, that didn’t take long. Facebook Graph Search is now its own Tumblr meme: “Actual Facebook Graph Searches.” The site dials up the social media rubbernecking-slash-privacy outrage to a whole new level: user submissions. It’s like that Gizmodo post was turned into an entire blog, edited by everyone. The blog is now blowing up on Hacker News. It’s getting tweeted. The site’s creator says traffic is ridiculous. But does it have a real message?
“Don’t worry, we’ll all be used to this in a few weeks’ time,” reads the Tumblr blog’s cheeky tagline.
But will we? After all, having your wife discover that you “like prostitutes” or your boss find out that you’re a fan of “racism” could, oh, I don’t know, maybe cause a few problems down the road? (Best to check and re-check those privacy settings before this Graph Search thing exits beta.)
Tom Scott, who recently launched the site, says he’s not sure he’s making any deeper point about privacy with the Tumblr blog, though.
“As has happened so many times with Facebook, this data was always available – but it wasn’t this easy to find,” he tells me. “While Graph Search jokes are a good demonstration to startle people into checking their privacy settings, most people will never actually be affected by it. Most of the danger online comes not from strangers making half-assed joke searches: it comes from people who know you,” he adds.
He admits that the site is something of a “cheap shot” at Facebook. That’s true. And while it’s kind of funny to see the things people brazenly share on Facebook without thinking about the consequences, Facebook’s search, as Tom notes, at least respects your current Facebook profile privacy settings. It’s not like we’re (necessarily) looking at public data here.
That is to say, it’s not like OpenBook, for example. Remember that? It was the original “Facebook Search Engine” which made users’ public Facebook status updates available to anyone who felt like searching for embarrassing and private things like rectal exam, stupid boss, HIV test and control urges.
No, to delve into Graph Search’s best stuff, you at least have to be Facebook friends with the people doing the sharing to get at the goods.
But even if the blog’s creator doesn’t have a message per se, the site is drawing attention because it registers something with us. It creates that slightly uncomfortable, but now familiar feeling which usually indicates that Facebook has just taken another major step towards its overarching goal of ”making the world more open and connected.” (Like its new employee hoodies secretly say).
But at what cost?
You know that (slightly inane) saying in the tech industry, “if you’re not paying, you’re the product?” It’s often bandied about as a shorthand way of explaining how free services, like Facebook, turn users’ data into a revenue stream. The saying may be junk, but it’s hard to look at something like the newly launched Facebook Graph search, and not feel like the whole of your being has been stripped down to ones and zeroes here:
Facebook Graph Search is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them! It’s people!
Samsung is known for going after Apple in its smartphone ads, with commercials that are admittedly pretty funny, depicting the Apple faithful waiting in line, for instance. Now they’ve got a new video out, but this one, rather than taking some playful punches at the big guy on the block, takes the boot to the already downtrodden BlackBerry in an attempt to win over more business customers.
Samsung obviously doesn’t mention BlackBerry by name, but it’s pretty clear who they’re meant to be talking about when depicting clueless, out-of-touch employees clinging to a platform with physical keyboards and a straightforward business focus. Using those hapless employees who haven’t converted to glorious Android as foils, Samsung uses the ad to target some prevailing beliefs about why Google’s mobile OS isn’t as good a fit for the business world as RIM’s, including those around device security.
Overall, it’s not a bad commercial, and as a bonus it features the guy who played Josh in early episodes of 30 Rock, before he was unceremoniously dumped for a Canadian guy who also ended up not actually being in the show very much. But since it depicts a clichéd startup office featuring young people freely and openly spitballing about a mobile game called “Unicorn Apocalypse,” it’s hard maintaining my feelings of good will towards this Samsung effort. Still, love it or hate it, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Continue reading here: Samsung Targets BlackBerry And Business Users In New Ad With That Guy From 30 Rock
Editor’s note: Victor Belfor is the vice president of business development at Influitive and the former vice president of business development at RingCentral. He recently started angel investing and mentoring at 500 startups. Follow him on Twitter @vbelfor.
A friend of mine told me recently that he closed a $240,000 account. A competitor (let’s call it BigCo) was bidding for the business. I doubt that BigCo even considered my friend’s company (let’s call it SmallCo) a direct competitor. BigCo is a major player in their space and it raised a lot of money from good VCs and has a strong customer base.
SmallCo’s product doesn’t have a tenth of BigCo’s features. And yet in spite of that, SmallCo won the account. Actually, it was because of that.
As products mature, companies continue to compete in heated battles with their competitors by adding more features and more functionality. Investors and shareholders want to see steady revenue growth, so prices creep up. Yet, the truth of the matter is that a lot of customers need only a fraction of a product’s capabilities. In fact, many of them would prefer fewer features because extra features tend to make products clunky and difficult to use. Still, companies become feature-producing machines.
As a result, what often happens is some small company comes out with a product that’s just good enough and just cheap enough for the lowest tier of customers and BigCos start losing business. BigCos console themselves by saying the customers weren’t all that profitable and that it’s too expensive to serve them. And they walk away and focus upstream. SmallCos gets a foothold and releases a new set of features. And the process repeats.
There are hundreds of examples. PCs disrupted mainframes exactly this way. Japanese cars and electronics disrupted American ones, only to be disrupted later by Korean companies and now Chinese companies. Merrill Lynch was disrupted by Schwab and then E-Trade. Phone companies by Skype. Visa and Mastercard by Square. Cisco was disrupted by WebEx, then acquired it, then screwed it up, then got disrupted by Citrix and LogMeIn. Smartphone cameras disrupted Nikon and Kodak.
The process of Low End Disruption is beautifully described in Clayton Christensen’s series of books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution and The Innovator’s DNA. If you haven’t read them, you should. What’s amazing about these books is not only how important their conclusions are but how well researched they are. These are academic works of the highest quality (I should know. I studied under Jeff Dyer, who co-authored “The Innovator’s DNA”).
So why is this relevant to the deal that I mentioned above? Because I believe the process starts much sooner now. Companies that are barely out of the gate are getting disrupted. The rapid pace of innovation we are experiencing, plus the low costs of starting a company and the reasonable availability of venture capital, add up to a large number of startups fighting for survival in very close quarters. I found the following perceptual map of photo sharing services a couple of years ago.
There are a lot of companies. But just think how many more aren’t on the map: iPhoto, 500px, Tumblecloud, Skitch and ACD. And never mind Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All of them are differentiated – all of them have something unique – and yet I doubt that too many customers use more than one or two. And that’s when the trade-off happens. In each segment, customers tend to pick the one service that addresses their most salient need the best and other needs just well enough. Those who want to manage albums get Picasa. Share with friends? Facebook. Mobile? Instagram etc., etc., etc. And now we have come full circle. In my view, companies of all sizes need to think about “good enough” competitors.
So what can be done about this?
There’s one other thing you should do as part of your go-to-market strategy. You need to very clearly identify an underserved (or over-served) market segment and make it your own. If you can’t find one that fits, INVENT one! At Influitive for example, we define our focus as “advocate mobilization.” And if that sounds strange, just remember that only a handful of years ago when Eloqua was founded, “marketing automation” sounded strange. Yet today, it is a whole industry with such great companies as Eloqua, Marketo, and ActOn leading the charge. Perhaps there’s an industry segment with your company name on it.
Go here to read the rest: Every Company Is Up For Disruption, So Keep Your Products Simple
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Sales of the Surface RT device aren’t changing the landscape of the tablet market, but Microsoft can rest content in at least one metric: out of all devices running Windows RT, it runs the game.
AdDuplex collects data across 112 Windows Store applications that employ its SDK. This gives the company a somewhat broad look at the market of Windows 8 and RT devices; naturally, we always want a larger sample, but regardless, the data that AdDuplex has collected provides us with one of the best looks into the world of Windows 8.
Here’s the breakdown of Windows RT device market share, as provided:
However, we need to zoom out. What is the breakdown of Windows RT devices, compared to the larger Windows 8 market?
Well then. Microsoft may be king of the RT market, but that’s a slice of the larger Windows 8 world; here’s a chart showing off just how the Surface fits into the larger picture:
This data is not gospel, and is useful only in as much as it helps us make broad comparisons; using it with too much granularity would be a mistake. Still, it is obvious that Windows RT is a platform that Microsoft all but controls. That may not sound surprising, but given Microsoft’s history of having no presence as an OEM, it’s a key change.
While Microsoft can be proud that it has taken top place on one of its key platforms, it isn’t particularly good that competing devices aren’t selling strongly; Microsoft is depriving tenured partners of certain sales. This had led to some rather embarrassing defections, including one by Samsung in which it decided to not release a Windows RT tablet in the United States.
Headline image via TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images