‘Startup dynamic’ crucial to Internet market success, says Facebook official

The winners in the Internet market over the coming period will be those companies that focus on mobile, endeavour to understand real consumer needs and adopt startup dynamics, a Facebook official says.

Speaking at the AfricaCom conference in Cape Town on Thursday, Facebook Growth Manager for Africa Nicola D’Elia pinpointed three necessary factors which if sufficiently considered in companies’ strategies going forward will in his view lead to success in the market.

First, D’Elia says, companies need to shift their focus to mobile users in order to keep up with the demands of the current market. This is especially relevant in Africa, where the majority of Internet users connect via mobile devices.

In particular, companies need to enhance mobile access to the internet to encourage connection by the largest scale of users, D’Elia advises. Further, companies need to work on developing consumer-friendly smartphones that meet users’ demands and needs, and facilitate Internet use. Business entities also need to embark on a more intensive push for quality of handsets and services if they are to be successful over the coming period.

The second key piece of advice that D’Elia insists will lift certain companies above others in the mobile competition is to focus on understanding the end users of mobile products. “Design around people,” he says. “Try and understand what people want.”

He added: “People want to connect, OK, but the question is how, in what way?”

The final facet that D’Elia considers important to the success of mobile-oriented companies over the coming period is, interestingly, going back to a root-approach to business development. He advocates the restructuring of companies in a way that facilitates constant development and constructive change.

“As we say at Facebook, “Move fast and break things”,” advises D’Elia. Essentially, he argues, companies should revert to a startup style mentality which allows a direct reaction to user demands and is not confined by overly-restrictive policies which may hinder innovation and development.

In the view of the Facebook growth expert, the companies that follow these guidelines will be the winners in the next phase of the internet development story.

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