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The Dennis The Menace theory of “disruptive” management


“Don’t get distracted by the current design that looks sort of like Twitter. Twitter showed that businesses can co-exist on the social graph along with people. Zuckerberg is smart. He saw that Twitter was going to make a crapload of money (that’s why he tried to buy Twitter) and instead of being depressed by being turned down by @ev he decided to phase shift Facebook. Zuckerberg is a real leader because he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He’s going to do what he thinks is best for his business. I wish Silicon Valley had more like him. Anyway, all those who are saying the new design sucks should NOT be listened to. Yeah, I know a lot of people are going to get mad at me for saying that. After all, how can a blogger say to not listen to the masses? Easy: I’ve seen the advice the masses are giving and most of it isn’t very good for Facebook’s business interests. When Zuckerberg announced these changes a couple of weeks ago I told him he was brilliant and that his moves this month would be remembered for decades. Decades.”

— Robert Scoble, Why Facebook Has Never Listened And Why It Definitely Won’t Start Now. (via kaytee)

I have been wanting to answer the obnoxiousness of Zuckerberg’s adamant defenders, including Scoble here and Matt Maroon (via mikehudack) who clearly subscribe to the “most disruptive companies" current version of management-guru gaga-babble, and who think "ballsiness," "boldness" and "shaking things up" are the highest virtues.

Zuckerberg and the defenders are punch-drunk on Twitter, which just silly. Twitter, with its hash tags and @replies and RTs, is easily the social application most likely to look “so 2008” in about three years. (For unrelated reasons, there’s likely to be very little nostalgia for our current delightful era.) Think Friendster. I’ll be shocked if Twitter ever makes a “crapload” of money — it has a monetization dilemma even apart from the significant barriers to its widespread adoption.

Which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with using Twitter — hey, even I caved in — but then Zuckerberg took Twitter as his inspiration to ruin the social platform with the best long-term outlook. The brilliance of Facebook is that it serves the “outer layers of the onion” — the casual user, that kid from band camp in 10th grade who’s now an accountant in Jersey and just tracked you down.

Zuckerberg, to great applause from the “disruptive company” true believers (yah! fuck your customers!), has taken away everything about Facebook that delighted the medium/casual user: the relationship updates, the pleasant (or unpleasant, but useful) discovery that two of your friends are now friends (and the ability to track gossip after, say, an epic party by observing such connections), and most importantly, the events: not only your own upcoming calendar, which he made harder to find (mixing in birthdays dilutes the events and pushes down those that are more than a day away, requiring several clicks), but those great alerts that told you about an open event, the friend-of-a-friend birthday or lecture that “13 of your friends are attending.”

Worst of all, Zuckerberg killed the brilliant, proprietary algorithm that informed you about people you are most interested in (based on visits to their page, message history, pics, common friends and events), not necessarily those with the highest activity level.

Now, the news feed is dominated instead by the attention hogs. One of my casual friends — who I don’t wish to block from my news feed — just decided to post 12 videos from the Morrissey concert. Guess what’s all over my Facebook now? I can’t keep up with everything, so unless I log in at the right time, I’ll miss what’s less fresh but more interesting in favor of whatever is most recent. And since the biggest Twitter aficionados stream their “tweets” to their Facebook status updates, they dominate with their endless RTs and @replies, and my news feed barely makes sense any more.

The common comparison to user complaints when the news feed was first introduced are off the mark. That change did not remove functionality that people had come to depend on, and took place at a time when the user base was substantially smaller. It’s a flaw of basic logic to extrapolate from one instance when user concerns were ignored to conclude that it is always wise to ignore user concerns.

Zuckerberg chucked what was proprietary and special about Facebook — the very things that made it viral to a seemingly universal population within a broad, affluent and educated demographic, and that allowed it to catapault past all other social networking sites — in order to convert it into a copy of an insider-cult application he’s as apparently as infatuated with as Twitter’s own drank-the-Koolaid founders. This, and the defiant rejection of user input as inconsistent with the mission of a “disruptive” company, are the hallmark of a juvenile entrepeneur.

  1. snooz3r reblogged this from micek
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  7. wooliebear reblogged this from peterfeld and added:
    Why Peter Feld is a genius.
  8. caterpillarcowboy reblogged this from peterfeld and added:
    100% agree. My facebook usage has dropped 95% since the change.
  9. peterfeld reblogged this from soupsoup and added:
    I have been wanting to answer the obnoxiousness of Zuckerberg’s adamant defenders, including Scoble here and Matt Maroon...
  10. micek reblogged this from soupsoup
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