Headlines: MySpace is Laying Off Yet Another 165 Workers
We live in the age of huge uncertainty, recession and migrating wealth. Every 500 years or so, a huge tectonic shift in technology occurs that defines the age we live in. When Columbus discovered USA back in 1500, it laid the foundation of the industrial era. In order to send sailors to the long trips which often resulted in loss of life due to perilous conditions, lack of food or hostile indigenous populations. Wealthy people discovered a way to protect themselves with simple pieces of paper: corporations. Rich people created artificial living beings such as corporations in order to build strong business and limit their exposure to harmful law suits and limit their liability against injured families. Thus, the industrial era has started.
The Industrial Era has lasted for 5 centuries and now it is at a brink of extinction. The defining moment of its collapse was the demolition of the Berlin’s wall in Germany back in 1989. This signified the victory of Capitalism and the defeat of Socialism. Later on, the internet popped up and such pioneers as Amazon.com and Google.com have built strong lasting businesses in the cyberspace. Internet, as the global connector, has opened up unseen possibilities and as Reid Hoffman argues, it is now going to be a Web 3.0 age knocking on the door: explicit, implicit and analytical data about user behaviors.
But what happened to MySpace? Why would such a strong and cutting edge Internet company has deflated so badly? There was a first wave of layoff, now is the second. People are being removed, their income is trashed, and they are faced with a hard choice of unemployment. There is not such thing as a stable employment any more. During the industrial age, you could finish college and work at the 1-2 jobs for an entire life. Not any more now. During, the Informational Age, one person can expect to change jobs every year! As the owner of the most successful translation agency Translation Services USA, I’ve done a lot of hiring and I’ve seen a lot of resumes. 9 out of 10 resumes are from people who change jobs every year! Forget about life long careers. It’s just not going to happen as the tech world is moving at the unprecedented pace and the skills you learnt 2 years ago are not relevant and you are going to be fired.
However, MySpace is firing people not because these people are obsolete. It is not people’s skills that are obsolete. It is MySpace who is obsolete. I look at this website and I feel sad. It is dark, sober and confusing. By visiting their main page, I don’t know what is this website about and what should I do with it. It has to be simple. It has to be welcoming. But it does everything wrong.
It even fails to be sold to anyone. With a mere asking price of 100MM, it is a pocket change if you want to compare it to offers Twitter or Groupon got for 10 and 6BB correspondingly. There is nothing hot about MySpace any more. Focusing on music as a subset is detrimental given all the other internet options such as iTunes or Amazon.com.
Honestly, I’d be the owner of this website, I’d turn it around in 6 months with only 10 people. You don’t need thousands of people to create great things. I would attack Facebook in their Achilles spot where they are currently weak: online dating. I would remove Facebook’s button and I’ve built my own platform instead. How can you allow a free advertizing for Facebook with that button? Isn’t that an obvious drain of your users? Seriously. Don’t pay attention to anything Facebook does. Focus on your core devoted audience. Make them happy. Simplify and build greater things. The new era of Information Technology has just started. We’ve got at least 400 hundred years to go and you can’t that easily give up on that. If you give up, you are essentially quitting. If you quit, you can’t win.