Dismiss Facebook at Your Own Risk

FacebookThere are many things about Facebook that are polarizing but it also surprises me when people are outright dismissive of its business or future.

Case in point is a radio interview I heard on the weekend in which Vivek Wadhwa, Vice President of Academics and Innovation at Singularity University, suggested Facebook’s IPO over 75% over-valued, it wasn’t an innovative company, and it could disappear in three years.

I realize people are down on Facebook given the post-IPO performance of the stock but, frankly, it’s far too easy to jump on the anti-Facebook bandwagon.

Facebook’s business is far from perfect, Mark Zuckerberg will never be warmly embraced by the tech crowd and the stock has been a disaster, but it doesn’t mean Facebook hasn’t been innovative or it’s going to disappear any time soon.

Putting aside Facebook’s ability to attract more than one billion users, one of the most impressive things about the service is how the platform has continued to evolve and expand. If there’s anything Facebook isn’t afraid to do, it’s innovate – even it means taking two steps forward and one step back.

This willingness to keep pushing forward may be frustrating to some but it’s one of the reasons why Facebook has stayed relevant, maintained its user growth, and, as important, repelled any competitors, including Google+.

While strong growth will be a challenge to Facebook, it isn’t going away or even showing signs of erosion. Sure, some people may be suffering from Facebook fatigue but there’s more than enough users who are enthusiastic and engaged about how it can connect family, friends and, sometimes, brands.

Anyone who suggests Facebook is going to disappear is trying too hard to capture the spotlight.

If Facebook deserves criticism, it will be focused on how well it can grow and evolve as a business. While wireless was seen as a weakness, there are indications this may not be the case as advertisers seem to be leverage Facebook’s large mobile footprint.

While this is a positive sign for Facebook, the realities of being a publicly-traded company mean it must continue to drive sales and profit growth. If not, Wall St. will be disappointed, and Facebook will be penalized for under-performing.

If you’re a Facebook critic, it is important to criticize based on marketing and economic realities, rather than making assertions that are difficult to swallow.