Since the May IPO, the stock price of Facebook has been on a bumpy ride. What should a dealmaker do when they are on the comeback trail? The one certain part of business is sometimes you will be up and sometimes you will be down. What you do to rebound from the down makes all the difference.
Facebook may have taken some lumps, but the social media champ has passed the 1 billion-user mark. You have to like that as an advertiser because that is more potential consumers than the combined population of the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil and Pakistan.
“The primary way we are monetizing Facebook is through advertising,” says Chris Cox, vice president of product for Facebook. “Providing a free service for 1 billion people represents a great amount of costs. The advertising model has always been the primary financial model for a content publisher.”
To put that advertising opportunity into perspective, one of Cox’s fellow VP’s at Facebook says it is like five simultaneous Super Bowls happening every day.
Cox has been with the company since 2005 when there were fewer than 100 employees. Once Facebook’s chief HR officer and still the person every new hire meets on their first day of work for an introduction to corporate culture, Cox is rapidly becoming the second face of Facebook.
Cox has been given the mandate to make big bets in mobile and is looking to make deals.
“The projection is 4 billion people will have smartphones by 2017,” said Cox at an October forum presented by The Atlantic magazine and University of California San Diego Extension (where Henry works as the assistant dean). “There will be a whole new generation of people who have amazing access to computing power through mobile devices around the world. These devices are a thousand times more powerful than the computers that put astronauts into space in 1969.”
The message is compelling, but that does not fix the humbling stumble.
How to Make A Dealmaker Comeback
Here are our friendly comments on what we like to see dealmakers do to make a comeback:
1. Admit something went wrong. Actually Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and primary face of Facebook, did this in September. He also bridged to the solution: mobile.
2. Handle communications face-to-face where you can. Zuckerberg and Cox have reached out to the analysts, the media, the advertisers and others. It pays to get away from the computer screen and show your face to the people who matter.
3. Create a clear roadmap on how you are going to fix things. Cox is spreading the mobile gospel. This is the way to the Promised Land for Facebook.
4. Plan the work and work the plan. A strategy is nice, but execution is even better.
5. Move on. No need to keep apologizing. Create positive results and spread the news.
Last spring Cox became the star of a tour and video to support the company’s initial public stock offering. In the days running up to the IPO, as pundits and Wall Street analysts expressed diverging opinions about Facebook’s business model and offering price, they were united about one thing: Cox himself is a very likeable guy.
Honest and unbridled passion—about social media, about people, and about relationships—Cox has earned near-universal regard from media and industry insiders. Cox’s conversation with The Atlantic will be available for free viewing at the UCSD-TV website (www.ucsd.tv) in November.