If you haven’t been watching, Facebook’s stock is essentially tanking. It’s not like the company is going out of business or that the stock will tumble to nothing (although that would make for some interesting stuff, I admit) but with it being off 45% (it closed at $20.88 yesterday) from its IPO price of $38, this can’t be LIKED very much by the folks in Menlo Park.
Now add to the troubles the fact that more top talent is leaving the company. All Things D‘s Mike Isaac (this guy is everywhere!) reports
The question on everyone’s minds after Facebook’s May IPO — How long till the brain drain starts?
Apparently, not that long. Ethan Beard, director of platform partnerships at Facebook, announced on Wednesday via Facebook that he will soon leave the company. Shortly thereafter, platform marketing director Katie Mitic also announced her departure from the company.
If that wasn’t enough, a third announcement came on Wednesday, as mobile platform marketing manager Jonathan Matus also announced his impending departure from the social networking giant.
Is this the rats leaving a sinking ship syndrome? Maybe but whatever the reason it is going to create trouble for Facebook as it now needs to find the talent to replace these people who have worked during the critical years to get Facebook to where it is today.
So what does this mean to marketers? Well, several potential things.
First, we all have to be aware just how fragile the social media space really is. If you are building your marketing around Facebook and it is becoming a majority of your time and effort you need to think about what you would do if it were to take a turn for the worse. We don’t like to think about these things but it’s that very practice of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ that can come back to bite us when the bottom drops.
Second, you need to think about marketing’s big picture. All of these social vehicles could conceivably pull a MySpace or a Yahoo at any time. There are few long term survivors and thrivers like Google in the Internet space. Tying your fortunes to one particular vehicle that could crash and burn is risky business.
Thirdly, you should heed the warnings about Facebook especially in the mobile space. There is a lot of chicken little ‘the sky is falling!’ talk around Facebok and mobile. Just because there is talk doesn’t, by any means, imply that it is all true. What is true though is the underlying reality that Facebook is having trouble with making money in mobile. Since over 50% of their current account holders are using mobile as at least part of their Facebook experience and the trend is moving even higher this is an area to keep an eye on for sure.
We can sit here and predict Facebook’s demise but that would be rash and borderline silly. It’s not likely to go anywhere in the short term. Over time though, it is important to watch how the company evolves with its talent. Will the best and the brightest stay to move through issues or will they take their dwindling share value and go look for another start-up to build?
What’s your take?