Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bay Area Facebook Meetup - Facebook App Valuation by Lee Lorenzen

I usually write about entrepreneur related stuff in this blog but have been writing a lot about Facebook because of the startup energy I see in the Facebook economy.

Last thurs Ont 25th 70 of us gathered at AOL in Mountainview over Pizza.

The Facebook Entrepreneurs:
We saw 2 cool Facebook App demos with very honest experiences shared by the developers.
Demo1 - Pumpkin App by Samit. He said he was learning viral play with getting a Pumpkin App as a quick test case.
Demo2 - Treat Someone by Sammara and Raymond. Virtual Gift App with appealing graphics.

Facebook App Valuation by Lee Lorenson of Altura Ventures, the first official Facebook Only Venture Fund (of $250M fund)
Its turned out to be one of those rare evenings where a speaker is smart, articulate and truly connected with the audience and engaged in an open discussion.

These here are what I personally gleamed out of the discussions, I have a habit to focus on what makes me think and connect with other stuff I read or come across.

1. Look at Lee sharing his excitement about why he thinks Facebook valuation is worth $100Bil really.

Lee was honest to admit he wants Facebook to buy as the universal shopping cart he is proposing as he still owns 20% of

2. Lee shared his guerrilla marketing tactics of how he built his facebook network to get Altura Ventures differentiated among the budding influencers of Facebook economy.

3. Bulk of his talk was centered on building valuation into a Facebook Application.
Lee is ready to talk to developers who have 10K users to broken a sale of their app.
He uses his Adonomics App (which he purchased along with the developer to form the consulting arm of his business), he'll evaluate the price based on this formula (link to his blog).

4. What was most thought provoking was his example of how he planned to go about finding buyers for Apps that interest him.

  • Most of Facebook developers who make real $$$ today make it based on Ads, some are making transient money by offering referral users for 50cents/click for new App developers.
  • Lee said he likes Apps like 'Treat Someone" which can link to real world brands.
  • He gave the example of "I am hungry facebook application" which was sold on ebay for $20K with 250K users. He said it was low.
  • Actions I take in a commerce setting are passive product endorsement.
  • He suggested morphing the App to match a potential sponsor and talking it to their Ad agency. He said " I am hungry" could have set a default restaurant as MacDonald or Steak House which the user could change if they wished and majority won't change the default. He would have taken "I am hungry" to McDonald or Steak house Ad agency for a sponsorship as a buyer.

5. Lee's Bullish Ideas about Facebook Economy:
  • Lee was very bullish about building Apps on Facebook. He said it was not like the California Goldrush, it was more like th Oklahoma land grab.
  • Fb is a chance to reinvent the web with a traffic cop around.
  • Reinvent the web on top of social web.
  • Messaging in Facebook is better than email with no spam. I love this part, see my past post about Social Email Graph and Facebook here.
  • Anything thats big on the web that can be re invented on FB
  • Facebook restrictions are the beauty of inventing the platform along the way.

6. Why FB will win, worth $100B valuation
  • FB identities are real. Myspace are fantasy form of who you want to be.
  • Fb is not a way to meet a bunch of strangers, its a way to bring your real relationship online.
  • BJ Fogg book on Influence says 'Fb genuis - Big ugly question mark, empty wall" when you get started.
  • Users teaching new users, making it engaging.
  • Import people who really know from AOL email account, coaching from friends, not fb telling me what to do.

7. Thoughts on other Myspace opening platform
Myspace can't do newsfeed, fb 7 times more tham myspace.
There are Adnetworks today. Facebook should give developer a fb monetizing tag (like an open adsense)

8. Advice to users on viral play:
What kills viral play - complexity, making users think, need user to type (show radio buttons)
Application fatigue - don't believe in it.

Lee shared a wonderful marketing book on Influence, which I hope to find and update here, anyone who knows the book or Lee's cliff notes please let me know.