The Idea Dude


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Infectious greed

I'm going to borrow Paul Kedrosky's trademark for my blog item today. How else would you describe a company with little revenue but a lot of eyeballs/subscribers turning down $750 million dollars. I'm referring to Facebook, the social networking startup with a niche market of students. Apparently, they are asking for $2 billion. They should take a page from MyPlace's book who didn't let greed go to their heads and let it go for $350 million. Love the concept of a student network, but not at $2 billion or at $750 million for that matter. This smacks more like the emperor's new clothes. Those with longer memories will recall Pointcast rejecting $450 from News Corp and went out with a reportedly $10 million dollar or there about whimper. Friendster who rejected Google for $40 million in 2003 is said to be worth less that $5 million today. Greed is definitely one of the 7 deadly sins if not the deadliest.

On an unrelated topic but worth commenting, Fast Company has an interesting article on obsessive branding disorder. Make no mistake, branding is important because it is a reinforcement of your presence. But spending millions on branding is like putting lipstick on a pig. You are defined by what you are not what you wear. I liked what they said. Branding is a result not a tactic. 'In a brilliant twist, the experts have bottled an end and sold it as a means'. How profound is that? So brand is about awareness and if your product or service sucks, having a great brand will only let everyone know how bad you really are...your business success or lack of will ultimately decide which label is able to persist...

To close here's a couple of delicious humour from the musical Wicked that ties the above two thoughts so well together...

I never asked for this, or planned it in advance
I was merely blown here, by the winds of chance
I never saw myself as a Solomon or Socrates
I knew who I was: one of your dime a dozen mediocrities

Then suddenly I'm here, respected - worshipped, even
Just because the folks in Oz needed someone to believe in...

...Wonderful, they called me "Wonderful",
So I said "Wonderful" - if you insist,
I will be "Wonderful", And they said "Wonderful"
Believe me, it's hard to resist
'Cause it feels wonderful
They think I'm wonderful....

ELPHABA: So you lied to them

WIZARD: ...where I'm from, we believe in all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it - "History"


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