(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this!)
Over the years I’ve opined and spoken about the topic of social-media and all it entails, whether it was the argument for their valuations, usefulness, metrics, and more. I’ll also state right here that on this topic (i.e., calling a spade, a spade) it seemed I was doing nothing more than shouting into the wilderness. And if anyone heard me? Say, like some next-in-rotation-fund-manager, or TV “analyst”, or “expert”, or “Silicon Valley aficionado?” I was either mocked, scorned, and sometimes a combination of the two. That was – until what I was arguing began appearing. Then? (insert crickets here)
Case in point: Here are just two articles with a few brief excerpts I penned back in September of 2015, to wit:
“Any company that can show they can deliver 10 paying customers vs 200 trillion eyeballs free will hold the keys to this sectors vault. Regardless of what is said via the financial media as well as the main stream media; social’s not getting it done. And as the economy turns stagnant if not lower – getting it done (as in generating net profits via 1+1=2 elementary math) will be as precious, if not more so: than gold.”
And the other in October of that same year 2015. Again, to wit:
“Disrupting is what it’s been all about over these last few years. However, there’s another disruption on the technological horizon heading right towards Silicon Valley itself, and that brewing storm is – disruption of the disrupt-ers.
The once emblematic IPO cash-out that lured many is beginning to morph into the loss of IPO dreams that resemble wash-out with every passing earnings cycle. For a glimpse into the event horizon that is the future. All one needs to do is look no further than what myself and a few others have dubbed the “canary in a coal mine” of all that’s Silicon Valley: Twitter™.
Nothing against Twitter per sé. What I take issue with is its valuation vs its ability to produce net profits. And that goes not just for Twitter, but everything “social” in general.”
What was the response to such calls of heresy? Here’s a little reminder of just one of the supposed “informed” twit-storms:
One also has to remember the context of the time when I was making such statements, and receiving such mocking (and the above was, shall I say, the polite stuff).
As I wrote and made those arguments (and there are far many more earlier, as well as later, all in the archives) The Federal Reserve residual effects of pumping in QE to the tune of around $85 BILLION dollars per month was still apparent. And because of it, as the year dragged on, many a “talking head” was still arguing the same tune. e.g., “It’s different this time.”
You know what else ended shortly after that? All the chutzpah for mocking. Why? As I articulated would occur all during that period: The resulting IPO desert-for-deals, and the pummeling of stock valuations of those that did. And it’s never recovered.
It seems quite fascinating how all that previous laughter doesn’t quite appear as funny as it did back then, no? Especially if you’re one of those dreamers whose salaries are based squarely on IPO cash out riches. (Remember when reports of living in a shipping container, or under a stairwell were reported as something just “fantastic!” Until I said – it becomes obvious that the “shipping container” may in fact turn out to be home for their entire future.)
However, with that said – what is now surely no laughing matter is the latest front page headline across the Drudge Report™. To wit:
From the linked article via the DailyMail™:
“The shift was a new strategy for corporations to bring more traffic to their websites, rather than just gaining popularity on social media…”
The Big, Big, BIG! issue? It appears by all accounts to have a been stunning success. (insert “Valley” screams of horror here)
Now who could have thought (let alone argued) such a thing was about to take place? Give me a minute, let me think here, I’m sure someone will come to mind, just hold on. Here we go, here’s one from just earlier this year. To wit:
“If you’re a business, and you’ve watched with a careful eye what these platforms are doing for (if not too) businesses? I would implore you to rethink your “web presence” and how it currently interacts, if not unknowingly depends, on the “everything social” model for interactions with your customers or brand. For not only is it self-evident you are no longer in control of your message – you might just find your “messaging” in streams or data feeds you never dreamed possible.”
Arguments as the above have, were, and still are considered heresy to all that is social media, and/or “The Valley.” Yet today?
Think about the impact of the above headline as it’s seen by the Drudge Report audience of some 1.5 BILLION. Along with it to read – It appears to have worked with far better than expected results. But here’s the kicker – during the most ad centric, and costly events of the year. e.g., “The Big game.” Can you say “Oh, Oh?”
Think there might be a few advertising execs or budget managers within that crowd? Let alone, what the impact to a great many others such as “investors” might think about that headline?
Gives a new meaning to “it’s different this time”, doesn’t it? But then again, what do I know.
© 2017 Mark St.Cyr
Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time (and there are a great many of you and thank you too all). I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are, and have been times they do need to be pointed out which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.