Just in case you've been living under a rock, Facebook announced its epic $100 billion IPO this week.
From old media to new media to social media, and within every digital business in between, everyone's talking about it. Whether you're concerned, confused or could simply care less, there are indeed some valuable lessons that entrepreneurs can take away from this week's news.
Here are the ones to which you should pay the most attention:
Be Prepared to Evolve: There are few instances where the original idea came through (intact) from the point of inception. While Facebook might have had a desire to fulfill some form of unspoken social need, it has ultimately evolved into a real company with real responsibilities -- and soon real investors demanding a return on their own real investment. Staying true to an ideal is important, but evolving into something better, over time, is where all digital entrepreneurs should focus their energies.
Use Technology to Bring Value: In today's fast-moving business world, the most innovative, disruptive and valuable technologies are what separate companies from one another. Facebook has in part opened itself up to the possibilities of new technologies it can bring to users; look no further than the Skype partnership for proof. If you're not investing in technology -- not buying it, not building it or even partnering with the leading providers -- you will quickly find that you are going to be left behind.
Relationships Are the Most Valuable Asset: Facebook has provided the digital world with an opportunity to create, develop and maintain social relationships. Look at the most successful people in the business world and you will find that their capacity to find and foster positive, meaningful relationships is one of their best characteristics. It’s not my best quality and it may not be yours, but setting forth towards this realization can yield opportunities that you may not have realized.
Stay Focused, Keep Shipping: The world is full of glass half-empty types: those who want nothing more than to see you fail (or see themselves succeed). You will have both successes and failures in your online life, but having the ability to maintain consistency and stay focused in your work -- constantly moving the digital ship forward -- is the best chance you have to guarantee success.
Be Creative & Surprise People: The most surprising bit of information (at least to me) from the news of Facebook’s IPO this week was about graffiti artist/mural painter David Choe who took Facebook stock instead of cash for painting the walls of the social network’s first headquarters. Shares owned by Choe are expected to be worth upward of $200 million. Surprised? You should be. To be truly great, you need to tap into your creativity, be generous and surprise people.