January 21, 2010
Last night we had a truly epic evening at Dogpatch Labs, hosting the Facebook Connect team, 13 startups presenting on their implementations of Connect, and about 100 other guests.
Epic not just because of the great content, but also because of the unbelievable obstacles we encountered. Notwithstanding a power outage necessitating a move to a Four Seasons conference room, and a crash by the bus that was supposed to take us there, miraculously everyone maintained good spirits and the night went on. For some great photos of the event, check out Dogpatch Labs resident Art Chang’s blog.
Across the 13 presentations and the Q&A with the Facebook gang, it was a rich evening of learnings and best practices, among them the following:
- You shouldn’t think of connect as a sign-in tool, it’s much more;
- Yes, with Connect you do lose some of your “control” over the user, but you gain a whole lot too;
- You need to be very sensitive to the user’s motivations when you think about sharing functionality; while some contexts have users very motivated to share (e.g., winning a contest or some other accomplishment), in others they are very motivated NOT to share (joining a dating site; looking for a new job);
- Iterate, iterate, iterate, and measure, measure, measure.
But beyond specific tactical learnings like these, a much broader point became clear to me: with Connect, Facebook is making it much less important, both for themselves and for businesses seeking to leverage Connect, whether they serve their content in Facebook itself or on a Connect-enabled site. More specifically, for businesses looking to leverage Facebook to build affinity, voice and engagement with their market, Connect enables them to think of their own websites as fan pages. I am not sure exactly where this is going to take us, but it sure is clear that the business of marketing your business on the web is going to be transformed by Connect.
Yet another reason why the next few years on the web are going to be fascinating.