Facebook settles into orbit
Facebook’s epic stock price drop on news of slowing growth showed how fickle markets can be, and how they can work against the broader best interests of a company.
Companies can’t have rocket-powered growth forever. At some point, the fuel runs out, or the rocket goes as high as it possibly can. The question is, which is it with Facebook?
The company is currently wrestling with problems no company has ever had before. With 2.5 billion people having used at least one of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger in June, it has unparalleled scale and reach. But the problems it faces don’t have the engineering-based solutions it’s used to.
Data mishandling, misinformation, interference by nation states, users having had enough of social media… these are largely human problems that the company has to solve through empathy, negotiation and listening. And as we’ve seen in recent weeks
, Facebook has an almighty difficulty solving problems that need high emotional intelligence to figure out.
In fact, given all that’s happened recently, it’s a wonder that daily active users grew at all.
It feels like this is a turning point. Facebook accelerated up into space, and now with slowing growth, it’s settling into orbit.
I can’t see Mark Zuckerberg’s mission of connecting the world changing any time soon, and given his grip on the company, shareholders would struggle to remove him even if they wanted to.
If he wants to break out of a settled orbit and achieve even more, he’s is going to have to decide what is next for Facebook. What will fuel even more growth to connect the world and keep shareholders happy? It may turn out to be something totally different from what it’s doing now.