The next Facebook (Ricky Weekly #10)

This is where I share 3 things every week with my friends and anyone else interested.

A picture from my life:

This is my friend Vik. He was my barber for three years and one day he told me he started making lemonade to sell at farmer’s markets. He wanted to test catering to companies so I invited him to come cater for my startup. We often talked business and when I was closing down my startup I told him about it and we had an emotional moment because he was about to pursue selling lemonade for real and that shooked him. Then he got a space in the Mission but because of the SF bureaucracy the opening was delayed and he had to get a loan on Kiva. Then he finally opened and the neighbors called the cops on him because he’s black, which turned out to be good for business. Now a year later he’s still there. Still positive and enthusiastic. The lemonade is still priced perfectly high for San Francisco. Did you know he was a dancer and he proposed to his wife while performing? What a dude. Shazaaammm.

Thing on my mind:

I’ve been tinkering with what the “next Facebook” could be because I think most people are now under-served by social networks. Internet companies have always tried to get people to share more online, but it wasn’t until social networking sites like Facebook figured out that people share way more when they can do it with/to their friends did sharing really take off. But then we stopped sharing, at least to Facebook, because over time you’ve connected with so many people you can’t easily share without fear of potentially saying the wrong things (which will eventually happen to this newsletter). The people I see today posting to Facebook are mainly doing it to look good (status) or for practical reasons like asking for travel recommendations (utility). If you don’t care much for status or need recommendations, then Facebook is just a glorified address book. Maybe you take your sharing to IG or Snap stories, which have less status pressure, but it still feels like you are performing life. Yeah you are connecting with friends, but it’s a lot of work (especially as you get older), and what are you really connecting on? Stories are mostly about where people are and what they’re doing. What about what’s in their head? We’re left with all the messaging tools like Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, etc…and uh, the rise of newsletters? Isn’t it weird in 2019 to be hyping up email?

I think there’s something in group chat like Slack and Discord. So I’ve been thinking about how that could be designed for the Facebook use case (casual, social). Yes, I know. Group chat is also old like email ie AOL chat rooms.

Piece of content I recommend:

Late Night Wars on YouTube.

I’ve loved creators who make “video essays” on YouTube but this is another level. This guy made basically super legit documentaries. I’ve come to love Conan O’Brien over the last few years so it was great watching these videos about him from when I wasn’t paying much attention to him.

Your turn:

Do you feel under-served by Facebook? Do you have a group chat with close friends? If someone were to take on Facebook, what do you wish they’d know about you?

As always, you can find out what I’m thinking in more real-time on Twitter and my essays are on my website. My latest essay is called “I got next!” — a personal #RequestForStartups.