I like Sarah Lacy, I kind of felt for her when she was torn apart for her interview of Facebook founder mark Zuckerberg last year. True she came across that time as something of a sycophant – but she didn’t deserve the evisceration that she got.
But then in my feed reader this morning I read something that Sarah had written. In it she says;
Facebook Continues to Focus on Product, Not Revenues. That’s a Good Thing. While the drumbeat for Facebook’s need to generate bigger revenues grows louder, it was a clear message that Zuckerberg & Co. aren’t done focusing on the product. And as we enter an era of slower ad spending, I think that’s wise. Facebook is break even with a hoard of cash: Right now the product is more important than juicing revenues at users’ expense.
Is she out of her mind – I mean has Web 2.0 got so screwed up that it’s now OK to admit publicly that making money doesn’t rally matter for a business, that it’s the product that matter more than anything. In her defence (slightly) she didn’t say that revenue doesn’t matter at all, just that Facebook has the cash to fund product development for the next little while – so revenue isn’t an immediate imperative.
But let’s be clear here – there is a vast difference between not focusing on making revenue now, and not focusing on how you will make revenue ever – I hope like hell that Facebook is in the former, rather than the latter, camp.
To correct the sense of off-balance that Sarah’s post created, I was pleased to read Phil’s post where he actually mentions the fact that it is a concern that Web 2,0 businesses are so lacking focus about revenue. His points were made in relation to SlideRocket, the online presentation builder that is going to (shock, gasp) charge for the use of its product. Phil says;
It’s good to see that SlideRocket, unlike so many of its Web 2.0 brethren, is equally emphatic about its decision to charge users for its services. At last, there’s a faint glimmer of a monetization strategy coming into sight at the end of the Web 2.0 tunnel.
Nice to see you haven’t completely got caught up in the Web 2.0 hysteria Phil!