Meta thoughts

Everybody that seems to have an opinion about Facebooks recent name change to Meta seems to have aired it by now.

So naturally, I thought it time to went my own two cents on the subject; why it changes nothing about the fundamentals, why it’s different from Googles renaming to Alphabet, why Mark Zuckerberg needs to succeed with the exercise and what bet he is making in order to make it happen.

First things first: Of course the rebranding from Facebook to Meta doesn’t change anything about the vast challenges that Facebook is facing.

On the contrary; the name change is a testament to the fact that one of the worlds leading brands in terms of market capitalization has become so toxic, it needs to be incinerated from public view.

It says a lot about CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his merry crew that they would rather throw their brand out than actually work to address and solve the myriad of issues affecting Facebook.

It’s will probably be the closest thing we ever get to Zuckerberg admitting guilt. Which of course he will never (see any reason to) do in the real world.

Second, the comparisons with Googles name change is some way off, IMHO. When Google changed into Alphabet it was basically for two reasons:

The original founders Sergey and Larry had pretty much lost interest in search and were looking to pursue other interests. And, more importantly, Google was doing so many different projects that had nothing to do with their core business that they probably needed an entire alphabet to keep track of them all.

Facebook – sorry, Meta – doesn’t have this. For all the existence of different apps, it’s still very much a social media company across software as well as hardware. Even though Mark Zuckerberg is dappling a bit on the side with other projects through foundations etc., it’s not like Meta is about to cure cancer.

Some would argue that Meta is much rather a collection of cancers than any kind of step towards a cure, but I digress.

No, there is a much more compelling reason for Zuckerberg to dip into the met averse in order to keep his collection of apps on a path of growth and prosperity:

The ownership of the operating systems and the platforms that come with them.

Facebook in its old form had grown way too dependent on other peoples OS’s and platforms being it Apple iOS, Google Android or whatever.

Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, because when you’re huge, you hold both sway and leverage within the ecosystem. But to Facebook it has been for the sheer reason that even though Facebook is huge, the OS owners are bigger and more powerful.

And – add to that – pretty pissed with how Facebook operates.

Example? Apples decision to limit apps ability to track users for advertising on iOS.

I could image Facebook has been the single biggest driver for the decision by Apple to roll that out. And on the other side, I could also imagine that that very move has been the biggest motivation for Mark Zuckerberg to go big on the metaverse and do the whole rebranding exercise to Meta right now.

He simply needs to build and own his own OS and be independent of the other OS owners.

So I think this is the light Meta and the bet on the metaverse should be seen; it’s Mark Zuckerberg big bet on creating a brand new form of operating system that he hopes will disrupt and replace and others, so he will be able to have to last laugh.

His biggest asset? The huge user base. If he can convert the users of the many Facebook apps into the univer…sorry, metaverse…he will have won.

Of course the biggest challenge that he will face in doing so, is the lousy history he has with many of the same users, who he through his failed stewardship of Facebook has failed time and time again.

Will they place their faith on more of the same, more immersed, potentially more powerful?

I seriously doubt it. But it’s pretty much the only big bet he can make.

(Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash)

Way to go, CluedIn!

When something amazing happens to great people, you have some sort of history with, you really should take the time to single it out for special mention and celebration.

It’s such a day today for the great people at CluedIn, a pioneering master data management platform out of Copenhagen, who just announced that they have raised a whopping 15M USD in their Series A round.

In doing that the team has come a long way from the very first time, I met them. After having been introduced to them at a Keystones event, I met with two of the founders, Tim and Martin. I wanted to meet them because I had the impression that this was going to be a ‘boom or bust’ case;

Either they would hit it out of the park. Or they would go down in flames. There was no in-between.

From the first meeting in the attic at the outskirts of Østerbro in Copenhagen, it was apparent to me that they would hit it out of the park. Not only were they great people with a very cool sense of humor that you just loved hanging out and working with They were also – and are – brilliant engineers with a crystal clear idea of what they were looking to do. And why.

Over a couple of months I helped them a tiny bit getting setup and started, and then I had to pursue other things. But Tim and co persisted in their relentless fashion being driven by their mission and spurred on by their determination. They got a bunch of great early backers, added to the team, got their first customers and the rest – as they say – is history.

Which of course isn’t at all fair to the lots, lots and lots of hard work that has gone into, where they are today.

Which is also why every huge CONGRATS that goes the way of these guys is so richly deserved.

Huge, HUGE CONGRATS, Team CluedIn!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Let’s nail the Future of Work

Covid-19 fatigue is really settling in everywhere. Not least in the workplace where people are starting to really feel the effects of being remote working-from-home.

To many it is just not as fun and/or efficient as it was in the beginning, and the sense of belonging to a team or the employer as such is starting to erode.

It is a crucial point, I believe.

When we talk about the Future-of-Work and working from home, we almost always talk about the practical stuff; how do we facilitate virtual meetings, which platforms do we choose and how do we stay efficient, so we can tick off our to do-lists.

All very tangible stuff.

But we also need to address the intangible stuff. And treat it as a priority. Because not only are these ‘touchy feely’ elements critical to focus and performance, they are also super hard to manage through technology.

For that very reason I would like to see someone giving that part a go and come up with a new Employee Experience Platform.

But not like the new Microsoft Viva (which actually does look rather cool, if your company is big enough for it), which is focused a lot around classic productivity.

No, it should be more nímble. More soft. And address all the little intangibles that makes a team a team, a culture a culture. And most importantly; ensure that people feel a sense of belonging and stay engaged to do their best work.

It is a huge opportunity for those who can pull it off, and I honestly don’t think there are any really great offerings out there. So I would be super excited to see someone picking up the mantle and perhaps even help them along doing it.

So, hit me!

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Tech power to the people

When we talk about the gig economy and using technology to enable great new services for customers, we mostly talk about them from the perspective of the platforms; innovative tech, great user experiences, new business models, regulations – and valuations.

Which is exactly why it is so interesting that the table is starting to get turned now.

Not only have politicians in several countries been debating new regulation and how to classify gig workers in terms of their ‘partnership’ with said platforms (London is the latest example). Gig workers are also starting to deploy tech themselves.

UberCheats is a great example of this.

It is basically an extension for the Chrome browser that allows a rider for UberEats to calculate the correct distance travelled with an order and compare it to UberEats own registrations, which – is claimed – are often based on direct point-to-point distances (straight lines) rather than the actual available route to get there.

The extension was released last summer but was removed by Uber following a complaint about trademark infringement. But now it’s back again after Google sided with the developer following an appeal.

Irrespective of the plugin in question, it is super interesting that gig workers are starting to turn the ‘weapons’ of the big platforms against themselves. Take the power back, so to say.

In that respect the case has some comparisons to the whole Gamestop/Reddit/hedge fund debacle recently. Here the masses got together and turned on Wall St for a couple of frantic weeks leading to huge losses on short positions of Gamestop stock at a couple of hedge funds (and with private investors who failed to get out and were left holding the bag).

It is a sign that access to technology has been democratized in such a way that nothing is keeping anyone from just accepting to be at the short end of the stick.

While that is super interesting in itself, it is also super interesting, because it has the potential to pick at the fundamental power structures of this interconnected age.

And who knows what might end up coming out of that?

Gamestop/Reddit and UberCheats may just be the very beginning of people using tech to take the power back from tech.

Interesting times.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)