AOL paid $850 million for Bebo and got back only $10 million when they exited from the social media site. Whether it was a joke or imagination, this Wall Street article muted $65 billion MySpace valuation (about the size of the present day Facebook) in 2007. Of course, News Corp bought Myspace for $580 million and today, it will be lucky to sell it for $30 million.
What do these scenarios teach us? Social media is very dynamic. You must be personally aware at all times to succeed in it – either as investor or developer. That you are huge today does not make much of a difference. You must continue to innovate and evaluate all your strategies if you want to remain on top. This game must not be determined by what brings numbers today, rather, what can nurture numbers, permanently. Myspace mocked Facebook those days for deleting dogs accounts while it allowed them. Facebook was not adding accounts because it wanted to add real humans and not pets. Today, Facebook is having the last laugh.
As you work in Lagos, Nairobi , Accra and other African cities, focus on quality. Think of ways to nurture your customers and do not take them for granted. It is a network effect phenomenon. Their presence defines your business and success. And you must take them very serious. Never take your eyes out of them.
So in few weeks now, News Corp could see Myspace for really nothing. The fastest growing social media has become .slow and they have joined the ignominy of Bebo that came and flamed out. Do not allow yours to be like that in your own small landscape. Remember, this is not just social media, your Apps are included. Build them and have more constant updates so that you keep your customers in your ecosystem.