Is Facebook Already Over?
As we cruise through Facebook’s “quiet period” on its way to its IPO, and as the media whips us into a speculative frenzy over this fascinating corporate wunderkind, I can’t help but wonder:
Is Facebook already on its way out?
I’m certainly no swami, and there’s no way I can answer that question. I have no insider information that might lead me to believe that the world’s undisputed #1 social platform is in any sort of trouble whatsoever. But I have a few questions or you:
Is Facebook Exxon-Mobil, or is it Sears?
Is Facebook GE, or is it HP?
Is Facebook Amazon, or is it Myspace?
Is Facebook Google, or is it Pets.com?
I could continue, but pretty soon I’d run out of companies on the left: thriving ones that have lasted through a crisis (or two, or ten) and continue to thrive.
This post isn’t about any of these companies, though. It isn’t even really about Facebook. Rather, this post is about something most of us don’t like to admit, something that makes a lot of us squirm:
Companies are ephemeral. Like flowers. Like balloons. Companies aren’t meant to last.
There is nothing permanent about a company. That is scary to admit, I know. I hope it’s also liberating.
You know what is lasting? Truth. Best practices come and go, but winning principles don’t change with the season – indeed, they don’t fade at all.
We are in The Age of Change. Throughout our careers, we will see different companies rise and fall; only a few will rise again. We ourselves will experience wildly different conditions in our work – some of which none of us can even yet imagine! Looking back from our retirement parties on our 85th birthdays, it may look as if we changed companies, jobs, even careers faster than a runway model changes clothes. So what?
What will not change is truth: the same truth that held for Pericles and Benjamin Franklin and Warren Buffett will remain true for us as well, and for our grandchildren, and their grandchildren.
Change can be scary. Don’t get sucked in. How we work, what we work on… these may change drastically in the years ahead. Why we work, what we strive to accomplish? There’s nothing ephemeral about that.
Live your principles. Nothing else will matter.
*Notice that seven of those eight companies I list are still in business. HP in particular may yet see a resurgence – it won’t take much, just a couple of years of talented leadership. I’m rooting for them.