Mark Zuckerberg has had a really hard week. Love him or hate him, you have to admit he’s in a really tough spot. First, a whistleblower came out on 60 Minutes on Sunday about Facebook’s alleged transgressions with respect to misinformation and hate-baiting. Then three of the company’s apps—Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp—went dark for a good part of the day on Monday. Coincidence? Who knows? Some observers are suggesting the outages could have been a diversion tactic but maybe that’s a little too dark to seriously contemplate.
What we do know is that as the world becomes more digital, we’ve become more reliant than ever on technology and social media platforms. It’s not just individuals who use Facebook. Many of us use it to help run our businesses, via profiles, event promotion, advertising and more. Just ask the Facebook advertiser whose revenues reportedly fell 70 percent during the outage.
It’s a good time to take a step back and consider just how reliant we should be on digital platforms. Now that many companies have migrated to e-commerce as much as possible, many SMBs are very dependent on Facebook and Instagram as a gateway to customers. It’s not unusual for some to spend tens of thousands of dollars a day on ads. Those companies saw their sales go off a cliff during the outages. No doubt the events of this past week will cause some companies to reconsider putting too much emphasis on digital marketing (or any other dominant channel) and to put more diversified backup plans, like enhanced email marketing and customer engagement events, in place.
It’s all yet another reminder of the importance of diversification—perhaps the most painful lesson of 2021. With supply chains in many industries still at a standstill, middle-market firms are doubling down on finding new suppliers and onshoring or nearshoring if they can, but at this point, they’re scrambling to catch up with market conditions. You’ve probably experienced the results as a consumer. Just try buying a new car or upgrading your phone and see what’s in stock. Or a new refrigerator, washer/dryer, pool heater – the list goes on and on. I know someone who ordered a sofa in April that’s still stuck on a container ship in Italy somewhere (and her cracked iPhone screen will just have to do for now).
What is the potential for disruption in your business, particularly in your technology channels? Maybe, it’s in the places you’d least expect. If you need someone to help uncover and address your risks, our Marcum Technology team can help you troubleshoot.
Mark Zuckerberg’s current problems will eventually resolve, with or without government oversight. But I have no doubt there will be another issue of this magnitude in the headlines sometime soon. None of us is in a position to anticipate every possible disruption in our businesses, and too much focus on risk can lead to paralysis by analysis. That said, making the effort to anticipate what’s coming down the pike and plan for it is critical. It can give any business a competitive edge and may even point you to opportunities to grow by providing solutions other companies need.
Happy birthday Tracy.