A Lesson From Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg: Never Admit Anything, Then Launch
The Facebook Home on Android event is today and everyone is expecting to see a Facebook phone that has been developed in partnership with HTC, running an modified version of Android. At least that’s what everyone is anticipating with all the leaks that have occurred over the past few days. But a Facebook phone is contradictory to everything Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past, a Facebook phone “is the wrong strategy for us,” he said at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco this past September. If you don’t believe me, you can watch the video of him saying that for yourself.
While one could argue that even if the Facebook phone that we’re expecting is announced today, Facebook still hasn’t technically built a phone — HTC did, Facebook just developed the software. While that’s true, I think that’s really besides the point. Facebook knows mobile is going to be a key space for them, Zuck even discusses how big mobile will be for Facebook in the TC Disrupt video — just look at how many apps Facebook has in the App Store and Google Play. What’s really interesting is how adamant Zuck is about denying a Facebook phone exists.
Deny, Deny, Deny, Then Launch
Perhaps that deny, deny, deny, release attitude is something he picked up from Steve Jobs? Jobs denied the existence of the iPhone up until the day he released it. The “never show your hand” attitude of Zuck is strangely reminiscent of Jobs and I like it. It keeps everyone on their feet, bloggers/journalists, and most importantly of all, other companies.
In 2006, tech publications were going crazy trying to figure out anything they could about the iPhone, and all that craziness led to thousands of articles about a non-existent device (at the time). Right now, it seems Zuck and Facebook are playing the same card as Apple did in 2006 — deny, let the speculation grow, keep quiet, build up the hype, and then launch.
It’s a smart play and sometimes I wish more companies took this approach, it makes it more fun for everyone (except maybe the competition). And while the Facebook phone will not be as monumental of a product as the original iPhone, it will still be important for Facebook.
Keep Quiet, Let the Hype Build
Even if this Facebook phone is nothing more than what it appears to be in the leaks — a midrange phone with deep Facebook integration, the hype machine has already climaxed. The Facebook phone has been written about and covered by every website known to man, including the ones my mother reads. The real question is this a ploy to earn a quick buck for Facebook or are they really starting to venture into something here? Because right now, with all the Facebook apps available (Facebook, Facebook Camera, Facebook Poke, Facebook Messenger, Instagram) in the app stores for the iPhone and existing Android phones I wonder how much more of a Facebook phone you could need.
Regardless, we are all already talking about it. Let’s see what happens today at 10AM PST / 1PM EST (you can watch the live stream of the Facebook Home on Android event here).
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