Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Thanks to mobile, we have accelerated disruption

Garry Tan of YCombinator shared a post showing the survey data of little over thousand teenagers.  He asked them to pick social networks that they used more than several hours per week.  On his top 5 chart, there were Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.  But there were also Instagram and Snapchat.  They showed up 21% and 19% of the answers respectively.

Social network usage among 13-18 and 19-25 yr olds.
Surprise! Say hello to Snapchat.
In case you are wondering what Snapchat is about, I was in the same boat until Facebook re-released their Poke.  It's a transient photo messaging service where you can send a photo (or video) with finger-scribbled annotation and the photo self destroys within seconds of viewing.  

Snapchat was launched in September 2011, and it's only available on Apple App Store and Google Play.  No website.  It has already broken 50 million snaps shared every day.  And it's a less than 2 year old network.  (Just as reference it took Twitter just about 4 years to reach 50 million tweets per day.)

If this sounds all unreal, yet familiar.  We've seen this with Instagram.  Photo sharing darling of many, which got snapped by Facebook in 2012.

My takeaways are

1. Social network fragmentation is not over.  We still have room for new social networks because context matters.

2. Speed of disruption has increased dramatically thanks to viral nature of social networking app and rapid adoption of smartphones.

3. Explosion of smartphones is truly changing the social network startup game, and everyone is thinking of mobile as the primary platform.

4. 13-18 year old segment is the most active age group in social networking.


  1. Great article. However I would have to disagree with this statement "The best way to implement a switched network is to design a hierarchical network model". Although it maybe structured and easy to troubleshoot when a network is built using the 3 layer approach, latency related application will suffer. I work in an environment where every microsecond counts and having the servers directly connected to the core is the best way to reduce latency. We are concerned about 8us that is caused by each layer 3 hop therefore all our time critical servers connect directly to the core.

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