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The mark of a true leader- Mark (facebook founder) apologizes

6 Dec

 

“To be a leader, follow the leader” is what my company founder Terry Uppal advised me today. And in Mark Zuckerberg you see an ideal leader. He has finally come out and has profusely apologized on the way Beacon program was released and marketed. And that, my dear friends how it should be done!

A company, be it a start-up or a well established one, tries to grow in the market by new product releases and by entering new unexplored avenues (or markets) with kick-ass product marketing to their best of their ability. But nobody ever said that every time there is a new product released it is going to be success overnight. And that’s what has happened to Facebook Beacon project. For the first time facebook tried to monetize their site and it went wrong. Fair enough! Shit happens in business all the time. You make a mistake, then you unlearn and then you re-learn.

That is what Mark has done today. He has come out in public and apologized for the mistake made in the product release. You should read his post here- The facebook Blog

Remember, the whole issue was raised by 50,000 users and facebook has 35 million registered! But a good leader, a good business man is the one who values each and every customer of his and delivers what his customer wants, address issues raised by his customers and sort it out accordingly. He could have ignored the whole problem and went ahead with the program and as consolation issue a press release. But no! he personally apologizes to his users that a mistake has been made , lessons has been learnt and it will be corrected eventually. If that is not hallmark of leadership, I don’t know what is.

I had earlier posted my thoughts on Facebook Beacon Project release and had ended it with a note on how keenly I would be watching Mark’s next move on this issue. You can read my post on Facebook Beacon privacy issue.

Simple idea: – It is ok to make mistakes but it takes guts to accept that you have and then go ahead and correct it.

let me know what you guys think

 

see you soon

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Facebook Becon – privacy issue- Product Managers take note

1 Dec

Going by The Hindu’s op-ed report (a New York Times news extract), Facebook seems to have been caught in the wrong foot with its new hyper-targeting ad system called Facebook Beacon. A Beacon is nothing but a mini-feed which lets you see your friend’s online buying activities.

Let me give u an example: lets say you buy a book from a particular book shop owner, who happens to be an advertiser teamed up with facebook. Facebook watches your action and puts it up in your news feed section announcing to your friends that you have bought an “x” book from “abc” bookshop owner. It is like you are endorsing this advertiser when you are buying this “x” book from him and giving an assurance to your friends saying that you can trust the advertisers to buy books from him in the future. This is an extension of user generated advertisement and believe me, this is a quiet a powerful way to advertise and reach your customers.

This concept is called online tracking & advertising, a popular method wherein the service providers keeps track of where users are going, and send ads according to their interests , thereby making it more relevant and interactive . Companies like Microsoft, Myspace or Google do it all the time; the only thing is we don’t notice it at all.

What facebook is trying to do is, instead of tracking user’s actions and sending ads behind the scenes like the other companies do, they are being more transparent about it and sending it as mini-feeds.

But the problem brewed up, when around 50,000 registered members dint like it when facebook started telling their friends what they are buying and from whom they are buying it. This they considered as a breach of their privacy. So when Moveon.org took up this issue, these 50,000 users went ahead and singed up to show their dissent.

For Mark Zuckerberg (23), Beacon is going to be an interesting and important issue to deal with. Facebook was started, during his Harvard University days studying for his under graduation degree, to help students inside the campus (with a valid university mail id) to stay in touch with each other. Today, facebook has grown into a 35 million strong community and surely becoming a fierce rival for MySapce which has over 50 million users, not to mention Bebo.

Beacon will be used to turn this service into a profit making machine and testimonial to this is the fact that Microsoft recently took up a stake by paying 240 million dollar , which means Facebook is valued at 15 billion $ .But i personally think the whole release process and the way it was released was wrong from a “product release” point of view.

As a rookie product manager for mklix.com, I would be keeping an eye on what Mark is going to do next(or what he says) and how he is plans to execute the Beacon program. I will let you know some of the product management aspects on this issue in my next post.

See you soon…