By now you’ve probably heard about Facebook’s recent outage. You know, that time when everyone’s productivity either went up or was further distracted by Twitter or Google+. This afternoon, for at least a couple of hours, the massive social network took a brief hiatus and decided that people needed to take a break. It’s quite fascinating that today’s outage occurred, not because that it’s anything new, because it isn’t — Facebook has suffered and endured multiple outages over the past eight years of its existence and still managed to keep a fairly good record of uptime. Actually, because of where the company stands right now and its incredible influence over hundreds, if not thousands, of applications, websites, and services.
Facebook is now officially a public company–an entity with far-reaching implications on others that interact with it. This outage, no matter how short of a duration, can pose some risk, albeit most likely minimal, in terms of people’s confidence in investing in Facebook. Frankly, could the social network stand further scrutiny over its stock? It’s currently selling for around 22% below what it started out with a week ago. But that’s not the biggest issue that concerns me and maybe others. It’s actually the fact that now with Facebook playing such a pivotal role in services and applications, shouldn’t the company be a bit more forthcoming and proactive in helping inform the public of any of these outages so that alternative plans can be thought about or implemented?
Did you know that API stands for Application Programming Interface? You hear that acronym thrown around all the time these days, but what does it stand for? Why should you care? And most important, how do they impact your business? These questions and more were discussed during the Social Media Club of San Francisco’s panel discussion at @Mashery HQ in San Francisco, Tuesday the 15th of May.
Moderating was Christopher Saad, the Chief Strategy Officer and Co Founder of Echo. @Chrissaad’s Echo works with sites such as Lady Gaga, Discovery Channel and Universal Music Groups. Raj Kadam, Co-founder and CEO of @ViralHeat and works extensively with sentiment analysis, analytics and engagement for social media and real time web. Roland Smart, VP of Marketing at Involver which powers more pages on Facebook than any other platform. Muray Mckerlie, Co-Founder and VP of Sales & Marketing of Whit.li, an API that creates “Relevancy Ratings.” And to round out the panel, Tyler Singletary, the Developer Evangelist for @Klout and manages the API platform. He also has a brother at Twitter!
API’s are open data systems that allow anyone to create and customize rules to build upon the original data and create what might be needed for your own business or organization. If your not sure what an API is, s simple, fun explanation of API’s is offered by BBYOPEN on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/7r7QpIDEI_o
It was an open discussion also in the way that the seating was set up for the event. Rather than have the 5 panelists that face the audience as if lecturing, the chairs were a bit “helter skelter “off to the side. It set the stage for an engaging and open conversation about how API’s influence us today especially in the world of Social Media.
History has just been made. At around 9:30am EST today, the NASDAQ stock exchange welcomed their biggest and latest entry into the public market. It was quite a sight to behold, quite frankly…in just one quick move, founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg did two things: usher in a change from Facebook to $FB and instantly make hundreds, if not thousands, of millionaires out of his colleagues (and himself!). So today, we welcome one of the biggest companies into the world and wish Mr. Zuckerberg congratulations.
So what’s next? Well the stock isn’t going to actually be traded until 11am EST, just less than two hours from now. But the hope is that after the hype and the initial rush wears off, Facebook will certainly get back to work and be more innovative with their technology and platform. In watching CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” this morning, it seemed that the anchors and pundits were suggesting that Facebook was going to be a ad-supported platform and that’s how the would generate revenue. I suppose one might believe that and there’s no doubt that Facebook advertising is going to be a significant factor in their annual growth–although one might think the contrary in light of the move that General Motors played earlier this week. But Facebook is not going to simply be supported by advertising revenue. In fact, another anchor on “Squawk on the Street” pointed this out, that they hoped that Facebook would now make their developer platform more open and by going public, a new era of application development for the platform would be created and usher in profound innovations in how we communicate and share data with one another. That seems to be a pretty interesting thing for a public company to do, right?
The eve of what looks to be the largest technology IPO in the world is upon us. In just less than 12 hours, the world’s largest social network will certainly become even bigger after it goes public and raises a huge amount of capital–estimates have it being around $16 billion, 150% times larger than what was initially predicted. And to get people even more excited, today, Facebook shared with the world what they’ve been waiting for: its initial stock price. Starting at $38 per share, millions are expected to invest their money in the IPO in order to take their place in history as a shareholder in a momentous company. Some might think that the $38 price tag is pretty high for a startup, but not really. Looking back at search engine giant, Google, when they went public in 2004, the company priced their stock price at $85 and valued at more than double than what Facebook is currently valued. And each company has their own differences, which you can read about in this excellent Forbes piece. Nevertheless, the point here is that Facebook is probably the biggest thing to hit the public market since Google took it by storm eight years ago.
And now, we’re inching ever so close to that historical moment…when the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, will take his place in history and ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange from his office in Menlo Park, California, and watch not only his company enter a brand new era, but also see many of the employees at Facebook become instant millionaires. But has the thought of billions of dollars rolling through Facebook headquarters damaged any prospect of work at the company in the proverbial eleventh hour? Nope…because Mr. Zuckerberg and his troops have assembled at their offices for a hackathon. Yes, a hackathon–something that is rather typical in Silicon Valley and what many see as a way for Mr. Zuckerberg to demonstrate to soon-to-be investors that Facebook isn’t all about the money. No, it’s actually the way of life at Facebook. As VentureBeat explains, this all-night event is meant to reinforce their mantra that “Facebook’s focus will always be on building and shipping products.” The work at Facebook doesn’t stop just because people are going to see all their work come to fruition in less than twenty-four hours.
We’re mere days away from the much anticipated Facebook IPO and all interested parties seem to be in an eleventh hour frenzy. First GM pulls $40 million worth of Facebook ad revenue from the site. Next comes a report making the rounds in major news outlets that Facebook ad clicks pale in comparison to Google ads. The AP now says this lack of trust may even cut into Facebook ad sales, which make up 82% of all current revenue for the site. Things don’t look so good for this week’s stock market darling…
But keep in mind this is all right before Friday (the rumored IPO D-day). The initial poll data from Associated Press-CNBC suggesting the ads on Facebook are ineffective comes in conveniently right before the IPO.
And these results only serve to heighten fears that the stock may be overpriced. Facebook lifted the stock price on Tuesday from $28-$35 to $34-$38 a piece. More seasoned investors caution against investing right away, while over half of those surveyed say they think Facebook is a good bet. However, one poll of 1004 users (by telephone, ahem) does not make for an accurate picture.
Facebook has almost 1 billion active monthly users, more than half use a cell phone and are under the age of 40.
There’ve been plenty of previous case studies (Expedia went from 250k fans to over 1 million with effective Facebook advertising). Ford even made a jab at GM on Tuesday with a post about how they model their advertisements to have engaging content. And those searching can now find a swirl of discussion around how to make their ads more effective if they weren’t initially.