With the continued jousting between Facebook and Google+, it's instructive to look back - particularly at the demise of MySpace - to gain insight into the future of social media. Viewing the rise and fall of MySpace through the lenses of people, process, and technology offers valuable lessons that social media "climbers" should consider:
People - MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for $508 Million (USD) in 2005. Murdoch's purchase, primarily from a cultural perspective, was likely the most heavily weighted coefficient of MySpace's regression. MySpace, initially an organization that was able to release the first version of its product in 10 days, became part of a conglomerate that had multiple layers of decision making and was more interested in quick profits over long term sustainable profits as a function of a well designed product.
Process - Although MySpace's initial speed to market was admirable, its lack of rigorous testing failed to produce well-thought out and usable products and resulted in a set of unfocused, buggy products.
Technology - initially built in Cold Fusion, then rebuilt in ASP.NET 2.0, MySpace sacrificed flexible and scalable technology for time to market. It's certainly a bit of a chicken-egg conundrum. Do you want to be an early market leader and capture the most users or do you want to be considered "best of breed" and a follower?
The takeaway: remain true to your company and your company's vision, don't cash out solely for the money - build great products for the sake of building great products and helping people.
What do you think? Is Facebook or Google+ on the MySpace path of irrelevancy?