The cover story for the latest issue of Businessweek is The Rise and Inglorious Fall of Myspace.
There are a lot of reasons, obviously, for the massive decline of Myspace. But here’s something that especially stood out:
“There was lot of pressure to drive revenue. There were things that we knew would be more efficient for the user that we didn’t act on immediately because it would reduce page views, which woul dhave hurt the bottom line.” — Shawn Gold, Myspace’s former senior vice president for marketing and content
In other words, the pursuit of profit was placed ahead of the user.
Deadly. Just deadly.
There’s a lesson here, which I’ve blogged about often: You have to put your user/customer/constituents before revenue.
If your organization places higher priority on money than the people it serves, you are already on your way down.
Sometimes people say “but if we don’t put revenue first, we won’t make enough money to survive.” But this has it backwards. If you do put revenue first, you will likely undercut the very things that actually produce revenue — things like goodwill, generosity, genuine service, and remarkability. The way to ensure that you have enough revenue to survive and thrive is to not put revenue first.
Profit matters, obviously. But the best companies put something other than profit first — and, paradoxically, become more profitable as a result.