How to compete with Google and Facebook

This is a really tough time if you are attempting to build a start-up that dreams of competing with Google and Facebook.

I think there 3 reasons for this

  • There’s very little white space to build an app that will get traction. The list of top 10 apps has been virtually unchanged for the past few years.
  • Even if you do — against the odds — Google and Facebook will know (Facebook tracks app activity via Onavo – a security app it owns while Google has Android and search) and either buy you out or copy you.
  • And, even if you manage to survive that, you have to compete against an incredibly sophisticated suite of advertising products.

So, I argue that there are only 2 ways to compete –

  1. Bet on the future (e.g. augmented reality)
  2. Focus on a niche

It is hard to be everything to everybody. So, the best bet is probably focusing on a niche that involves high usage or high  value. That is what most of their successful competitors do.

All in all, I don’t believe this is the time to be building a technology company that seeks to compete with Google and Facebook. As is generally the case with such dominance, it is hard to predict an end to it. It looks certain that we’re going to move toward a world with mixed reality and the existing giants seem to have a strong advantage going in.

But, then again, history reminds us that technology waves don’t play out as we expect. We are currently in an age with an incredibly centralized communications architecture and it is hard to imagine a decentralized world in the near future.

Maybe that’s why the blockchain revolution is one to keep an eye on.

More on my bi-weekly “Notes by Ada project” note on Medium or LinkedIn.