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HindustanTimes Mon,28 Jul 2014

Facebook: The face of change

Puneet Mehrotra   April 20, 2012
First Published: 11:44 IST(20/4/2012) | Last Updated: 12:43 IST(20/4/2012)

Around 30 years ago the only seriously considered companies were in oil, steel and maybe banking amongst others. There was an odd IBM but it was more in terms of storage etc. Information technology did exist but it was just at that. Nobody really thought in terms of air, water, toothpaste, Google, gravity, Windows, Facebook, sky.  At that time nobody talked about Microsoft getting to the top. It would have almost meant predicting  Sri Lanka to become the next economic superpower of the world.  15 years hence it wasn’t BP, it wasn’t Bank of America, it wasn’t General Electric, it wasn't GM, it was a software company called Microsoft that became the wealthiest company in the world.

Fast forward 10 years hence. A company named Google whose assets included a  website which is a search engine and some other online stuff,  suddenly became the biggest threat to the world’s biggest company.  In the good old days a Yellow Pages company suddenly becoming a threat to lets say GE or GM would have have almost meant Nepal becoming the biggest economic threat to US.

The Reward of Change: $75 billion in six years
Five years ago who would have thought a social networking site, Facebook, would have the world share their personal stuff online.  Nobody in their right mind would have ever imagined some social networking business named Facebook would be worth $75 billion in 2012.   Nor would anyone have ever imagined a company with 13 employees and zero revenue would get bought for $1 billion 18 months from the time it started.
According to the The New York Times the deal is is roughly 30 percent cash and 70 percent stock, which would value Facebook at more than $75 billion. Some analysts are projecting this figure at $100 billion.

Google’s net worth is around $200 billion, our very own Sunil Airtel Mittal is worth $9 billion and India’s largest private company Reliance Industries is worth around $35 billion. Based on the euphoria of the Facebook-Instagram analysts are busy projecting deals between companies such as Linkedin, Groupon, Branchout.

The Last Word
The Kodak moment exists, yet Kodak is gone, it couldn’t manage change. A marriage between Instagram and Kodak may have clicked.  Change is constant, mind fears change preferring what exists and the safety of  the projection what maybe in future based on the eyes of what is.  (I often wonder if Edison thought the same way he would have invented a better lantern not a light bulb). We are in an era where the lifecycle of change has become smaller, bigger and better. If the erstwhile powers ruled for centuries, the industrial giants scored maybe half centuries. The newer business giants ruled for a decade or two and now we are in an era where the lifecycle is probably half a decade. Instagram managed $1 billion in 18 months. Pity it takes a Canon to click a Kodak moment today!


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