Tuesday, November 30, 2010

3/5 of a mile in 10 seconds

Following are some numbers which have a common link (posted after the video).

Coca Cola 19,806,778
BMW 3,793,208
Walmart 2,572,429
Microsoft 204,500
Google Chrome 4,094,906
ExxonMobil 213

The above numbers represent the number of people who 'liked' these corporate pages on Facebook. Social based applications have obviously exploded due to their ability to connect people on a common social dial tone (it's happened so fast that 'Facebook' still comes up as a misspelling in Blogger). It's now obvious that this dial tone is rapidly expanding its coverage into the business sector too. Tens of thousands of applications are tapping into the 'open social graph' concept introduced only in April '10 and bringing incredible depth and value to their extended relationship chain. It took less than 5 years from the introduction of the browser for virtually all companies to establish a web presence. I can't imagine it taking more than 12 months for the same to happen using Facebook's social graph.

This is a huge opportunity; using relationships as the base to rewrite the rules used by vendors of services ranging from communications to commerce and search. Moreover, it's being embraced by a community of 500 million strong. Of course, the graph is fraught with many risks (beginning with control of the dial tone by one vendor)...but it's an ecosystem with the potential to be far deeper and rewarding than that supported by the Google search utility and its army of one lonely algorithm.

Think about it, Google, for all its incredible success mostly stands alone. There's little relationship (and zero passion) between me, GOOGLE, my applications and my personal ecosystem (Buzz has been an abysmal and rare non-beta failure). Instead, GOOGLE is surrounded by a cadre of companies employed by the likes of you, me, and Wal-mart, determined to legally break its black box search ranking via search engine 'optimization'. We seldom, if ever, spend any energy or resources to improve GOOGLE as its mostly a remote abstraction. On the other hand, we are, and will volunteer to become far more invested in our personal and professional dial tones.

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