Very interesting presentation from venture capital investor Roger McName, of Elevation Partners, which was an early Facebook investor. He covers a lot of ground, but his thoughts on social media are very interesting. His basic message is simple: social is over.
He also says Google’s dominance is over because it lacks prominence on mobile connected devices.
In terms of social being done McName isn’t talking about our use of it, that is now established and rising, but rather now the platform has firmly been established investments in social media companies are a waste of money.
He says the platform is there, social is now a feature, and while it is one of the things you have to have to play, it is not enough to win.
He also cites the success of the Old Spice Guy campaign, which massively drove sales of Old Spice deodorant with the use of TV and Facebook (and is still going strong with a new hunk introduced last week — hopefully not replace Mustafa). An example of how Facebook has won and how it will continue to dominate as it is promoted heavily by advertisers who are only just starting to get to grips with it.
With Facebook and Twitter so established he sees little possibility of other platforms emerging. He evidences that by saying: “The last 500 social companies funded by the VC community are all worthless. I’m serious.”
No mention of Google+ or whether Google has any chance, but he does have something to say about Google.
Google is done
Google he says is in “a strategically difficult place”. He says it has been too successful and as a result of its success its core product has been been polluted. This has opened the way up for others to step in.
He points to the likes of Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter and Match.com as examples of sites where search is taking place away from Google.
He also sees problems for Google as we increasingly rely on smartphones and their apps on which we do far less searching compared to PCs. He says people do one per cent of searches on smartphones compared to PCs.
He says he isn’t saying Google is done, it says it is already done — because half of all internet connected devices are smartphones and that is not where Google’s business is.
Although he adds that with products like Gmail and Youtube it is far from going away and says it will still continue to be successful. However, its future success will give it nothing that allows it to put a choke hold on the web in the way search has allowed it to in the past.
He says the fall of search as a dominating force is a liberating one for the rest of us.
The rise of HTML 5
The other thing he has lots to say about is HTML5 which is says is basically going to change everything and will be a major boost to advertisers.
“In HTML5, an ad is an app, a tweet is an app, everything is an app…In HTML5, you don’t need to have display ads. Amazon can have a section of its store as an ad. So if you’re reading a book review, you can buy the book right from the page.”
Some very interesting comments. Worth noting that McName is also a former Palm investor and once said of the Palm Pre: “You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two-year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.”
That, is of course the problem of this whole forecasting business, but then he was an early Facebook investor.