Both Google and Facebook offer free services to their users. Google allows you to find what you’re looking for online as efficiently as possible, while Facebook allows you to stay connected with friends wherever you are. What do both of these services have in common? Well, both have no direct cost incurred by users.
All our lives we’ve been told that in order to succeed in business we need to be the first to market. We need to innovate faster than anyone else, so that we can deliver our product or service to a potential customer before our competition is even born. Being first is placed in such high regard, some even justify rushing an otherwise unfinished product to market in order to “stake their claim” to the territory and thus “dominate” an industry.
Believe it or not, Google and Facebook are very similar. Both give away their products for free. Both make the majority of their money from advertising. Both focus specifically on targeted advertising based on user data. However, the way they gather that data is as different as can be.
Back in the day there was an amazing company that claimed to possess one skill which it could do better than anyone else. This company was on a mission to put its skill to good use. With help from some angel investors and a whole bunch of web servers they pretty much accomplished what they had set out to do.
We commonly think of ourselves as “customers” of companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and other online services, however if you consider it, what is the flaw in this logic? Well, to answer that we need to ask another question: what is the universal trait that customers of any company have in common? They buy something! Now with that being said, what exactly have you purchased from Google, Facebook or Twitter recently? Oh, nothing? That’s what I thought.