Is 19Bn$ too much?

 

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No. It's the cost of surviving in an industry where you can be irrelevant in 6 months.

Perhaps it is more obvious for us in Europe than for people in the US, but WhatsApp had become the Facebook for the rest of us. It is the place I go to share things with my group of friends. Photos, comments and the inevitable Julio Iglesias jokes (too Spanish for many). That's all happening on WhatsApp, not Facebook. 

It's interesting how 2 systems designed for apparently very different things end up overlapping so much. And now I realize how spot on Zuckerberg is... If people is in general terms sharing anything through anything but Facebook then it threatens their position (especially when 450M people are doing it). 

Which brings us to the question of how will the social media landscape look like in some years. I switched to WhatsApp because it is arguably a better user experience: 

- I can connect with a concrete group of people very easily, instead of broadcasting to the whole list of "friends". 

- It gives me a feeling of immediacy. Replies show up quickly and it feels "responsive". 

- I can create ad hoc group chats for specific occassions. Once done with them, they sink conveniently to oblivion when not in use. 

It gives me what I need to connect with friends in a convenient & ultra fast way. I ended up seeing Facebook as the place for exhibitionists, promotion and ads.

If trends end up proving that WA is the preferred form of connection, I guess we will soon see some changes to it. An improved user interface, more pleasant and flexible. One where you can place ads in an "unobstrusive" way because they blend well with the rest of the elements.

It just keeps scaring me all these "free" services where the product is you. Maybe it's time to go back to good'ol SMS or, who knows, maybe even actually meet. That'd be weird...

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