What lessons can we learn about running a software company from Facebook's triumph over MySpace?


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At one point MySpace was THE winner in social networks, but over the span of just a few years lost out to Facebook. Why did this happen? And what lessons can we learn for our own companies?

I am not sure this is an appropriate question for the site, but I have been very curious about it for awhile and feel like the folks here might have some good insight.

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asked May 20 '11 at 03:25
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Jim Daniel
119 points
  • Noticed some votes to close on this question. Wondering what criteria its based on? – John Bogrand 9 years ago
  • Take your pick - subjective, argumentative, overly broad, etc. – Tim J 9 years ago
  • It's certainly subjective, but not overly-broad or argumentative. I understand t's not something that can have a clear answer, but didn't know where else to post something like this. Won't be offended if its closed :-) – Jim Daniel 9 years ago

3 Answers


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I'll start this off by stating that this is my opinion, but that being said...

There are three major factors to the demise of MySpace

  1. Where Facebook was agile, MySpace was about as quick as a tortoise.
  2. MySpace didn't engineer their platform to grow, they threw together code to get a product out the door. Facebook took much more care in engineering of the platform to allow for seemingly unlimited growth, where every change needed to grow MySpace had the potential to break their platform
  3. MySpace cared more about being popular than they did about being a solid product/platform.

Perhaps the most important reason MySpace is facing extinction is that they were more focused on the media aspect of what they did instead of paying attention to their user base. They were cool for a little while, got comfortable with that coolness, then got stuck in the mud when the time to innovate came.

answered May 20 '11 at 08:18
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Tha Bad Dawg
171 points

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Argumentative, Subjective, or otherwise, this article has some interesting responses:
http://highscalability.com/blog/2011/3/25/did-the-microsoft-stack-kill-myspace.html

answered May 20 '11 at 07:29
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Bryan Migliorisi
449 points
  • The comments are more insightful than the article itself, thanks for the link! – Jim Daniel 9 years ago

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First of all, MySpace was and is a quick way of creating a personal homepage. As such, it's competitors are all the other ways of getting a webpage.

Second of all, it turns out that a lot of people value privacy (which is ironic). Facebook had (and has) much more in the way of options for privacy.

Third of all, facebook works because it is a portmanteau of different web apps: it is a messaging platform, microblogging, scheduling, and photo sharing website. These are the four most popular online social activities, and it enables all of them, in one place, with privacy controls.

Fourthly, it's structured format for user information gives it valuable information to sell.

Fifthly, it appeals to a different class of user: typically older, and typically from a wealthier, more educated background. That again makes it more valuable to advertisers.

answered May 21 '11 at 01:27
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Marcin
526 points

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