When I was a wee intern, building out social media pages for the products and campaigns I supported without rhyme or reason, I built an Orkut page for both myself and one of the campaigns. For the particular campaign, I was trying to reach developers and coders particularly in India and so I was exposed to the Facebook-esque network which was Google’s first run at social networking and gained some popularity in India and Brazil.
Citing the growth of Google’s YouTube, Blogger and Google+, Google has made the decision to terminate Orkut.
Now I know what you’re thinking: this is a terrible week for Brazil. For those reading this in the future, this is what happened in the World Cup semi-finals yesterday:
But it’s really been a terrible week for all of us. In the US, Crumbs closed!
For those who don’t recall, the cupcake craze, as it’s called, started in the early-to-mid-2000’s, a similar time as the social media craze. Now I’m not saying that Google and Crumbs came together in 2003/2004 in an evil conspiracy to upset all Brazilians who are living in America a decade down the line by pummeling them with bad news (But come on, wouldn’t that have been crazy?) But I am saying that there is certainly a lesson to be learned here.
When a craze hits, we as business leaders jump!
We want to get involved. We want to make this craze into something we can capitalize on. We live on the hype and we ride its wave. But we need to start looking at the craze a little bit differently. What is the want/need behind a craze? With cupcakes we wanted something sweet, cute, delicious, and reminiscent of our childhood. With social networks we wanted a way to connect with people persistently even when we’re “offline” and we also wanted to brag about ourselves just a little bit.
So if now we think of Crumbs and we think of Orkut (and we think of the Brazilian national soccer team,) can’t all of these businesses/products/things be replaced? Cupcakes can be replaced by donuts, Orkut can be replaced by Facebook, the Brazilian soccer team can be replaced by Germany, but it doesn’t just end with a single transition. If we assume a business can be run on those initial needs: sweet and reminiscent or persistent connection, why can’t something else just work its way to the forefront? Donuts become Dunk-a-roos, Facebook is replaced by a network exclusive to smart watches, and Germany loses to the Netherlands/Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final.
Build for the need, not the network, and no matter where the line of transition leads, you’ll be prepared.
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