By James Santagata
Principal Consultant, SiliconEdge
After Facebook's massive $19 billion USD acquisition of WhatsApp, two question have arisen.
The first is my question. How exactly did the Tech Cheerleader Press miss out on WhatsApp? That is, after countless posts over the years pimping Quora as "it", Twitter and others, where was the love for WhatsApp? This is actually a rhetorical question so no reason to answer it.
The second question is now coming from the Tech and even Business Cheerleader Press.
"Where's The Next WhatsApp", they ask.
Take a couple seconds now and do a quick search on that phrase and you'll be greeted by almost a dozen recent articles that are predicting or searching for the next WhatsApp.
You'll also find that these articles specifically target audiences ranging from the tech community to business folk, ad agencies and the general public.
That is to be expected, of course, when such large amounts of money such as $19 billion USD are thrown around. I can live with that. In fact, I expect that from the Cheerleader Press. It's just par for the course.
But here's the part that no one or at least very few will tell you.
The next WhatsApp is already out there and it's running fine. It may even be LINE for all I know.
But it doesn't matter, because whatever it is, the Cheerleader Press probably won't find them until they make it and even if they did, they wouldn't understand them due factors such as trait ascription bias.
Further, just like WhatsApp, the future WhatsApp may be running their operation out of a moldy warehouse and they probably aren't or won't be at Launch or Disrupt or any other events.
First because many of these startups have very little capital reserves and they are more concerned about eating and keeping the lights on. It's prioritizing capital outlays vs expected returns.
Second, even if they have the funds, they are most likely focused on building and refining their product while engaged in customer acquisition, retention and growth, perhaps employing Lifetime Value analysis or a traditional RFM model. Going to conferences takes not only time but energy. It's draining. And what again, is the ROI?
That's just the way it is.
And that's why people are or were like, "Hey, who the hell are the WhatsApp guys?"
Where did you guys come from? How did you build this thing? Why haven't we heard about you?
And now, suddenly they are treated like rock stars, as they should be.
And yet the Cheerleader Press will never get it,because they are victims of drinking the Kool-aid cocktail of social proof, the halo effect and various cognitive biases while subscribing to the standard Myths and Memes.
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