Leadership Through Innovation: The Facebook-MySpace Story

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An unplanned business merger is like a hasty marriage: Everyone is going to be miserable and it will eventually cease to function. MySpace is a good example of this principle due to its rapid decline after its purchase by News Corp. Before the merger, MySpace was booming and on its way to becoming one of the landmarks of the social sphere. However when it was on the peak of popularity News Corp purchased the site and made changes that eventually led to the decline of the site. While this isn’t the only reason for the fate that MySpace suffered; it definitely is a major contributing factor and a lesson for all social media aspirants.

It is often seen in the online business world that small websites get bought by large conglomerates that are inexperienced in the USP that the website provides for its users. In the hopes of turning the website into a cash cow, more often than not, the soul of the website is lost in the process. Remember the huge yet disastrous merger of Time Warner-AOL? The mistake that larger conglomerates make is that they fail to let the smaller websites continue to innovate and this is the primary reason for the monumental rise of Facebook and the equally sudden fall in popularity of MySpace. For e.g. MySpace took almost 1.5 years to match the offerings of Facebook. By opening the site for 3rd Party developers, Facebook brought to its users some of the features like Farmville that went to contribute to the exponential rise in Facebook loyalists. Like Spiderman said: With great power comes great responsibility! Having the first mover advantage in a market can ensure dominance only through constant innovation which is something Facebook concentrated on. The results are for everyone to see. Facebook is now the lucky wife getting a hefty alimony while MySpace is the husband living in a studio apartment holding 2 jobs in order to pay alimony and yet survive.

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