“There is a kinetic energy in Silicon Valley, which you can see everywhere. What’s missing in Britain is a real sense of dialogue,” Joanna Shields of Facebook told VC delegates at a BVCA lecture last night. “Any scheme that brings people together has to be supported.”
According to Shields, the UK is well positioned to benefit from the increasing importance of social technologies. Shields said that at the start of her career, the biggest tech breakthroughs were in semiconductor businesses.
That is no longer the case. Nine out of the ten fastest growing companies are based on social technologies, she said. Online gaming and networking business Zynga, she noted, is now worth more than Electronic Arts. Groupon, an online shopping club, is the fastest ever company to grow to a billion dollars in revenue.
“The most important word on the internet at the moment is ‘share’,” she added.
With its rich and innovative media industry, the UK has a chance to take the reins. “The playing field is levelled. There is a real chance to do something.”
Shields denied that Facebook’s success could only be achieved as an independent business. “It is not true that acquisitions caused the downfall of Bebo and Myspace. The most important thing is the ability of the platform to scale. The turning point came when Facebook’s system could be translated into 17 languages within weeks. After that, no-one could catch up.”
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