Lord Sugar Tweets about FacebookFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing calls for his resignation. The company’s share price has fallen to less than half of what it was originally, just in a month. And businessman Lord Sugar has been busy Tweeting his views on the Facebook IPO. And lawyers are already reportedly lining up to sue the company and its bankers for allegedly misleading the market when the company was launched.

Meanwhile, as all this brouhaha is going on the folks at Twitter are busy annoying people too. They have just changed the rules on who can access their service to provide add-ons and Twitter services. Basically, if you are company such as HootSuite you are OK for a while, but then your business will be capped. If you are not already in the business of using Twitter in an app or on a website, well tough; the new rules mean you cannot.

But the Facebook mess and the Twitter arguments are both borne out of the same foundations. Behind the flotation of Facebook and the new restrictions of Twitter is one thing – the desire to make money. And therein lies the problem for both companies.

Twitter has seriously annoyed the developer community – people who actually help bring traffic to Twitter and who help promote it. You can be sure that several of those developers will get together and produce a Twitter competitor.

Facebook could also be taking its eye off the ball; early data suggests that it is losing its monopoly in the “friending” and “liking” social space with people shifting to new services.

It is all a familiar tale which we have seen with many businesses. As soon as you stop focusing on serving your customers and focus instead on making money, that’s when the trouble begins.

For all its faults, Google learned this lesson some time ago. Even though its users do not pay it a penny for its search service the company is well aware that if it does not continue to improve and work on that service, its users will desert it. Focusing on the bit of the business that does not make money is the reason why Google actually makes money.

The Twitter and Facebook problems should be a lesson to us all; focus on customers and their needs and the money will follow – focus on the money and trouble arrives.


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