Happy Birthday Facebook

Peter Lynch said that one of the ways he found new investments was to look at what his daughter wanted to buy. Upon the 5th anniversary of Facebook, and after watching TechCrunch's recent interview of Facebook's COO at Davos, it hit me. I looked at how people younger than me were using Facebook. Facebook is going in for the kill on a number of internet properties:

  • Flickr - Almost all pictures I look at are now via Facebook photo albums. I don't know anyone who uses Flickr anymore unless they want to share pictures with everyone on the internet. Facebook could also just replace this functionality with public pictures.
  • YouTube - While YouTube will always win the lolcatz video, personal videos that you actually care about are slowly only being uploaded on Facebook. I know tons of people who only upload on Facebook and not on YouTube.
  • AIM - Facebook chat. While I personally use AIM, almost every person I've talked to who is ~20 years old doesn't have AIM or use it often. They mostly chat either through gchat or Facebook chat. I think that is where IM is evolving.
  • Myspace - something magical happens when you turn 18 where you jump ship from MySpace to Facebook.
Many services we used to use as separate entities are converging on Facebook. Facebook has had excellent user adoption and everyone I know in real life has a Facebook account. I recently overheard a campus tour at UCI state that "49/50 new students in the dorm had a Facebook account. The one student who didn't have a Facebook account also didn't have a cell phone".

Of course these trends will take more time to become reality, and the Internet has this tendency of revolutionizing itself within 3 years, so anything could happen. However, Facebook has had remarkable growth, is spreading all over the Internet, and doesn't seem to be slowing down at all. So upon your 5th year, happy birthday Facebook and congratulations Mark Zuckerberg. Let's just hope you find a revenue stream :).