This post covers a few things:
1. First month on Google+.
2. About to cross over 100,000 follower mark.
3. Why Roger McNamee is freaking wrong about, well, everything social.
Photocredit: I shot this photo of Larry Page, getting applause at last year's TED (he gave them all phones). I put that here to thank Larry for stepping up his game and making Google+ happen.
First, Roger McNamee is freaking wrong in his speeches about social. Read more on +Paul Allen
's report here: https://plus.google.com/117388252776312694644/posts/5qsEyE2absx
First, Roger is wrong because he has forgotten how networks spread, how innovation works, and how people move from one to the next. AOL didn't kill Prodigy overnight. It created a movement of people that took years to see its full effect. The Web didn't kill AOL. Heck, AOL still isn't dead, even though, well, the Web was a far more dramatic and important innovation.
Real innovation is like a doubling penny. My favorite question is "would you rather have $100,000 today, or a penny that doubles every day for a month?" Facebook is the $100,000. Google+ is the doubling penny.
VCs and big company employees tend to take the $100,000 every time, even though we KNOW that is stupid (the penny, at the end of the month, comes out to more than $5 million).
Why is that? Why is Roger saying the game is over?
Because Roger is looking at the world like a VC or a big company executive.
I still remember when Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky (who now runs Windows) told me that there wasn't enough business value in Skype, Flickr, Wordpress, Wikipedia, and a few other things to care about. In fact, in the 2004 email he wrote back to me he repeated "business value" 13 times (IE, he was running a $4 billion a year business and would I please stop bothering him about doubling pennies). This is how people look at the world when they are on top. They don't care about doubling pennies.
But, Google gave birth to one a month ago. It doesn't yet look important to Twitter or Facebook, which has 750 million users (Google+ probably has only a few tens of millions of users and we're not yet sure how many of them will stay active -- history proves only a small percent will).
Google VP Vic Gundotra told me he's seen this happen before. Everyone thought Google could never compete with Apple's iPhone. Today it seems automatic, but on Sunday, Vic reminded me just how big an odds Google was up against. Apple had dramatically more users than Google did in the early days. Even I didn't believe anyone would take Android seriously (big mistake on my behalf, but it gives me the credibility to say that Roger is making the same mistake today).
Social media networks ALWAYS start out with small groups, which then cause other people to be sucked in. In Facebook's case it was teenagers at colleges who pulled in their parents and other people. In Twitter's case it was geeks who pulled in the celebrities who then pulled in the mass market.
Social networks (online communities, if you wish) always seem to start out as small, unimportant things in the early days. But as they scale up they gain strength.
Today Roger's right: Facebook is on top and has the strongest network. My wife won't quit it. I don't yet have enough tools to convince her to come and spend time on Google+. Her friends are against me. THAT IS a HUGE lockin! Roger's right!
But we've seen companies who thought they had a lock on markets before. Google itself tore apart one of those (AltaVista, back in 1998 had majority of search share).
I'm old enough now to have seen several movements happen. BBS's to Prodigy. Prodigy to AOL and Compuserve. AOL and Compuserve to Usenet. Usenet to the Web. The Web to Facebook. Etc etc etc. There WILL be another movement. History teaches us there will be. Humans get bored with what they are doing online and get pulled to new experiences.
That's why Facebook and Twitter should be freaked out right now. Is Google+ THE ONE?
Well, all I know is it is a doubling penny and it's only on day 31 right now. Facebook's doubling penny has stopped doubling so quickly. Will Google+ keep doubling? That's a huge question, given we haven't yet seen all sorts of new features that are coming soon, especially search (er, noise control and amplification of signal).
I could go on, but I think Roger is missing the point. Facebook and Twitter today seem boring. Heck, my blog seems boring.
It's not over yet, Roger. You might be proven right, but it's too early to say the game is over.
As for everyone else, it's amazing that nearly 100,000 of you are following here in just a month. When I joined Rackspace 2.5 years ago I had 95,000 followers on Twitter and it took me 2.5 years to add 100,000 followers on that system, despite putting many thousands of hours into that system. To see 100,000 show up in a month is just amazing, thank you for joining me on my wild ride through the tech industry!