If These Boots Could Talk
Way to Go Caltrain

Facebook, Prepare to be Disrupted

I took a sip of coffee yesterday as I sat on the train waiting for it to depart the Gilroy station. Since I had a few minutes and a good cellular signal, I thought I'd check Facebook using my Samsung Galaxy smartphone. After a few minutes of spinning wheels indicating that it was "working" I gave up. I could wait until later. I've had any number of experiences using the Facebook application for Android, and the result has always been disappointment. Sometimes only a few items will load. Often the text will load without any pictures. Most of the time, my phone goes back into sleep mode before anything has loaded.

OK, so maybe Facebook is a bit data-intensive for a smartphone with a cellular connection that varies in signal strength. I'll give it a whirl on my iPad, which (for me) uses Wi-Fi instead of cellular. And the results?

The good news is, Facebook content actually loads fairly quickly. The bad news? Those settings I had on Facebook-the-browser-version haven't carried over. Maybe they're available to be set, or maybe not. All I know is that the filters I had applied (no offense, but I'm not interested in what level of Bedazzled you've reached) aren't in place. So I get to scroll through pages of notifications about which friend has achieved what level with which game.

So why does any of this have to do with "disruption?" Simple. Facebook works best—and was originally designed for—stationary computers. It comes from a time (I hesitate to use the term "era" when it comes to anything involving the Internet) when most people sat down in front of a computer and interacted with a browser.

And what's happening today? Stop by any CalTrain station, coffee shop, checkout line, or movie intermission. What do you see? People on their phones. For many people the phone is their dominant source of social interaction. And you've heard or read about the reports that spending on mobile advertising is ready to jump through the roof. So if Facebook can't solve their (IMHO) cruddy mobile phone experience, they stand to lose that market to someone who does provide an elegant solution.

A burgeoning market, lots of (if I'm any indication) disaffected users, no clear dominant player in the space… sounds like an opportunity for disruption to me.

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