NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I'm not sure how many times Mark Zuckerberg met Steve Jobs, but he needs to lock himself in a dark room, turn on some introspective tunes and channel what the greatest entrepreneur of our time was all about. Facebook's (FB) - Get Report life depends on it.
As rumors of a Facebook smartphone resurface, Zuckerberg risks reacting to two interrelated forces.
the first the "Media's Revenge Reflex." Simply put, the media turns on people, companies, its own flesh and blood -- you name it -- on a dime. It transitioned from "Facebook is all good" to "Facebook is evil" mode in an instant.
Second, Zuckerberg, the entrepreneur, needs to stop listening to mere mortal pundits, critics and investors. The whole lot equals little more than an inconsistent gaggle of armchair executives. You cannot even waste the word
on them because most have probably never created a thing. And certainly nothing even close to what Zuckerberg built from a dorm room littered with empty beer cans and sweaty gym socks (that last part is unconfirmed).
It seems that Zuckerberg, at any moment, could go the way of Tim Cook at
Reacting and, worse yet, responding to non-issues. Trying to appease shareholders and investors. Listening to what intellectually inferior beings outside of his inner circle have to say. It's these things that render great companies good . . . or worse.
Facebook does not need to produce a smartphone or even attach its name to an existing device. I hope Zuckerberg is not actually considering entrance into the hardware game at any level. There's no need for it.
A Facebook smartphone is an unfortunate reaction to two memes: One, Facebook needs to have control over the platform over which mobile users access it; otherwise, it's just an app. Two, Facebook will have trouble monetizing mobile users.
What a bunch of self-important crap from the know-next-to-nothing peanut gallery.
I am not sure how its own smartphone could possibly change the pseudo-problem of Facebook not controlling mobile platforms. Would a Facebook phone include nothing other than a Facebook app? I hope not. Because it will fail even more miserably than a Facebook phone loaded with every app available.
Very few people will give up an existing smartphone, buy their first or purchase a second one to access Facebook and Facebook only. About a dozen more than a few will pony up for a Facebook smartphone that includes more than Facebook. It's not just a bad idea; it's absolutely pointless. It will solve a problem that does not actually exist.
Facebook should pour its resources into two areas: Making the user experience -- on all platforms, but particularly via mobile -- the best it can possibly be
buying up companies and creating features that help
Zuckerberg cannot lose sight of what he relayed to shareholders in Facebook's
... Facebook was not originally founded to be a company. We've always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we're building and the people who use them. This is a different approach for a public company to take ...
Simply put: we don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services.
And that's where the focus must remain at Facebook.
It's about making great services that people want to use, not about having control over the platforms they select for access. Zuckerberg is too smart to set Facebook on a chase-your-own-tail strategy. Although I do not think they will, what if users dump mobile tomorrow and start connecting tin cans with string to log on to Facebook? Will Zuckerberg buy
No matter how much hardware it builds, Facebook will always be just another app. Zuckerberg cannot allow himself or his team to lose focus. He needs to constantly build a better app, not a new mousetrap.
At the time of publication, the author was long FB.