Business Strategy · Competition

How would you disrupt Facebook if you had unlimited capital?

Pardeep Sumria Lovely Group

December 6th, 2017

Lets say you have unlimited capital and the principal objective is to get enough FB users onto your platform over a 2-3 year time frame that more or less will lead to FB's obsolescence. This is intentionally vague to encourage creativity and also question what it is that keeps FB users on the platform in the first place.

Look forward to your thoughts!

Jay Dawani Founder & CEO @Goofy Goldfish Productions, former pro athlete, disruptive innovator, marketer,

December 6th, 2017

Well, for starters it’s not about how much capital you have, it’s about connections. The only way to compete and potentially take on/down Facebook is to tap into the network effect like they have. Marketing is essentially capitalising on negative emotions, which is what Instagram does well too, similar to Facebook. When you’re on Facebook you’re always the cool kid who’s invited to the party, you never feel left out. That’s the real value users get. A lot of people feel left out, and start to feel depressed, in comes Facebook, and everyone is a part of everyone’s lives, they feel included. That is an extremely powerful benefit to users, that’s why people check the app 10+ times a day, they’re always in the know. And the fact that it’s free and literally everyone is on it allows it to scale with ease. However, Facebook’s real power is in the data they have on all their users and how efficiently they can market to products to their users. To reach x an number of users used to be a tremendous challenge but as a result of the data they have they were able to pinpoint exact users and what they respond to to such an accuracy they started saving companies hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars; they are second only to google. At this point they’re more a marketing company than a social networking company, as that is their primary source or revenue. And because so many companies and celebrities and such use Facebook so often it would be extremely difficult to compete with them unless you have what Peter Thiel refers to as a 10X improvement on Facebook. If you can create a social value proposition greater than that of Facebook, start niche and then scale from there, you may have a chance but at the rate of their growth and how much they add to their platform; it would be difficult to find a gap. However, if you were hell bent on it, hypothetically, you would want to invest that large sum of money into data mining and working with a research time of statisticians, behavioural scientists and psychologists to identify those pressure points that people respond to and create exceptional human centred design and a unique yet robust offering on your platform and generate lots of data to monetise and invest that back into your growth. That’s my view on it.

Tarek Hassan Entrepreneur - Sales/Business Development/Marketing/Concept Creation

December 6th, 2017

pay everyone to switch over and to earn money for each person they bring on and connect with :)


Last updated on December 23rd, 2017

My personal opinion:

Social networks will evolve and Facebook knows that if they don't control they will go the way of friendster and myspace. FB's acquisition of Instagram proves that they know they can't stay "cool" when your grandma has more likes on FB than you do. So they diversified into the younger "demos" by purchasing the Pintrest killing Insta.

So how do you carve up a multi headed hydra?

1. Balls of steel (prepare for lawsuits as you grow.)

2. You can't out "buy" or "innovate" FB right now. Any of your normal competitive advantages will be null and void, as they are better connected and have unlimited pockets of cash.

Granted you can likely can out innovate them for a few weeks before they offer a service that directly emulates your great idea. (Snap Chat is learning this.)

I would say you need a bunch of luck and varying degrees of the following strategies:

1. Create a environment of distrust between the end user and the FB brand. Facebook has always had a "we don't care about your privacy" approach. But people have accepted that their innermost details are for sale to just about any bidder. So this is going to be an uphill battle from the start. But the pendulum in society swings two ways, so the privacy issue is about to get a boost again once net neutrality implodes. Ride that wave.

2. Make a "private social network" A social network that protects the end users data, until some jerk uses it to exploit others and the government comes knocking. (Then they force you to collect data on users through court order.) Even then you could not target/advertise to them, which means you would have to find another revenue stream to keep the doors open. (And when you find that you will find one of the FB social networks emulates that.) Making no money is unsustainable, so get creative!

3. Lobby. Get a strong force in the government of your target audience's countries and figure out how to regulate FB out of each area. Again they have unlimited capital, but so do you!

Antitrust laws look like a good start, AT&T used to own everything, the government didn't like the way things were working so they broke up "Ma Bell"

Be the monopoly busting social network. Let the lawyers get rich.

4. Natural death: Very few companies in tech can last for 25+ years, it's usually when they are a monopoly that they get to "own" the space. But usually the large mega companies can't innovate as quickly. Facebook doesn't care, it buys up the innovators before they can become a problem. But it is still a very large company that eventually will trip up. It's just when they do, how could you use it to your advantage?

Looking forward to reading other's ideas on this fun exercise.

Berry Kasan I have completed a 2 week Lean Startup course by Chris Denoia who is trained by Steve Blanks himself

December 20th, 2017

Build a social site that gives shares directly for every new registration referred by users...also by registering users be given shares. If 10 000 000 shares are offered in the launch each share at 10usd the to 5 to 2.5 to 1.25 etc...

Alex H Always tinkering, always building.

Last updated on December 8th, 2017

I don't think I'm being pessimistic when I say that this would be more or less impossible. Unless in this theoretical case you had truly unlimited capital and could promise to, say, offer every user a significant sum of money if only they would switch to your platform (but here you might be better off ending world hunger/disease/etc.), then trying to overtake facebook, at least in only a few years, would be an exercise in futility.

This isn't to say that facebook will always be THE social network. But all things point to the fact that, at least in our lifetimes, it's probably here to stay. At the most basic level, they not only have the scale, and the infrastructure, and the talent, and the money, and the partnerships, but also a place in culture. Facebook is what's familiar, what's been adopted on a mass scale. Facebook is what so many people depend on in both their social and professional lives. Facebook achieved something that's never been done in human history, let alone in business. There's a reason it's been called The Social Network.

But let's play devil's advocate for a moment. What would it really take to push facebook out of its position?

Capital? Well, aside from the Oprah-style-money-handout mentioned above, maybe...if you were playing a very, very long game, and had something of a mastermind plan.

Platform features? Not likely - even if you had some brilliant new feature to offer users of your own platform, facebook could follow suit very quickly, and closely trailing and subsequently copying competitors in this way is a very viable business strategy.

Privacy? This goes hand in hand with platform features, but as it stands now, people aren't concerned enough with their privacy to jump ship. User behavior and data is too profitable to not collect, so this won't stop anytime soon. And again, people, on average, cast privacy to wind. And when something turns people's eyes and ears to privacy, usually some loose form of it, or even the illusion of it pacifies them.

What about time? I said above that, in our lifetimes, facebook is probably here to stay. But this could be wrong. Maybe some catastrophic data/privacy breach occurs and leaves a lasting, bad taste in people's mouths. Maybe culture and social consciousness somehow shifts, and everyone becomes hungry for a social network that is private and decentralized (there are already social networks being built on blockchain). Maybe, against all odds, people just sort of get tired of facebook, and don't enjoy using it anymore.

Years ago, I would have said that people growing tired of FB was a possibility for the not-so-distant future. Now I say no way. You have to realize that Facebook is different from many of the products people use in that it's actually driving behavior, shaping behavior, modifying behavior, and creating behavior, as opposed to simply fitting into how people act. Facebook is not merely social-connection, it's also social manipulation (for pay, when you think about their business model).

In the future, I think facebook's presence, whether by way of the platform itself or companies FB owns, is only going to grow. The same goes for a company like Google, or Amazon. VR is coming. AR is coming. While it might take some time for these things to become prevalent within everyday life, they will. And not only will this mean people spending time behaving/doing things in ways they haven't before, it will also mean new questions/situations to navigate, e.g. "Does virtual reality sex constitute cheating?" This alone illustrates the depth of influence these technologies and the companies that drive them do and will have.

So, Facebook is something more than a social network that could be replaced. You would need not only capital, but an unknown amount of time, and mass influence. And even if your capital were unlimited, and even if you could start working on a gargantuan strategy, mirroring all that Facebook is involved in and developing, you'd likely still hit a limit so far as how quickly you could deploy your capital, and how quickly you could achieve conversions/adoption. New social networks are certainly viable - it's not as if Facebook is the only name in actually connecting and sharing aspects of your life with others online. But Facebook is a bonafide titan at this point. To say it would be a massive undertaking to dethrone FB is to make a terrible understatement.

Aaron Lev The "Nerd Brain" - Website Development, Lead Automation and Closing Sales

December 15th, 2017

Do something to make Facebook Better....

1) Pay to remove ads

2) Allow users with large followings to earn commissions

3) Be more restrictive with the content - Focus on high quality content

4) Fewer Distractions

Bob Your-Uncle nada

December 23rd, 2017

I presume your reason to disrupt Faceplant: to assume their $$throne$$?

A better reason to disrupt: Sanity of human beings, and world wide democratic process. Faceplant has become yet another giant faceless corporation which does nothing for the planet - has no real interaction or responsibility to the people and communities AFFECTED by it's electronic hallucinations. It should be brought down!

Here's an example of why FB is a POS:

How do i get in contact with facebook advertising representative?

How? A concerted WW effort to create billions of users which are fake, and possibly disruptive. Expose all the fake user IDs to take down their ad revenue. Approach this as a civil disruption (a revolution) to restore a better civil society.

Michael Harrington Curiosity to know. Discovery to do.

December 14th, 2017

Make a better platform. FB has it's real detractions that result from its centralized incentives. There's far too much noise on FB and many users I know have abandoned it. FB ads have questionable reach and value and advertisers are becoming aware. But FB is also a moving target.

So, what are the metrics that give FB value? #nodes/users and the volume of information flows through the network.

This is why FB is full of white noise - it increases FB data values but decreases the user experience. They try to give users tools to curate their feed, but they really want to push ads at you.

What about a metric that curates the quality of the information data? That provides incentives for users to commit to that data? For me that's the big thing missing with FB, without attention to quality we get fake, useless trivia clogging up our lives. That's FB today. We can't think of a better model?

Rory Lovern Cofounder of Stemulus, Entrepreneurial Executioner, I make ideas happen

April 18th, 2020

Build an EXCLUSIVE social media site. Only allow proven, high net worth/social-proofed/celebrity profiles. Call it whoswho. Market it as the world's most exclusive social media club. Centralize your marketing within 30 miles of Hollywood. Use digital billboards such as Blip to blast your marketing all over the Hollywood landscape. Offer it free to high value users. After X amount of time, open it to the public for a large fee. Charge a large amount of money to join the world's most exclusive social media club (page out of club 33). After another x amount of time, add a member option that allows for limited communication for certain members. Give the high value members the choice to "verify" other users for inclusion in the main section. You will start to see a market within a market as members start charging to verify other users. What you create is a desire, a need, and a pathway. You also create high ticket revenue channels.

Greg Ebert Entrepreneur, Technology Futurist and Innovator

December 10th, 2017

With unlimited capitol, you buy them. =) FB has name brand and is trusted for what it does.

You might need to pivot the entire technology surface from web pages to virtual world interactions. While 2D surfaces are cute today, multi-dimensional user interfaces, in theory.... would be ergonomic and very immersive.

With unlimited funds change the interaction surface with similar functionality. You have to cater to what the consumer wants and trusts.