Capitalize or be capitalized – Facebook Live and more…

One of my mentors, Opher Brayer alerted me about Mark Zuckerberg’s live broadcast on Facebook about live broadcasting on Facebook.

Here is the entire video for those who want to watch it:

I watched the broadcast, reflected on it a bit. What came to my mind was that while FB Live is a great platform, it is clear to me that only a small percentage of the users will capitalize on this, sometimes at the expense of a large percentage of people who will be capitalized on.

Note: This is not a post against Facebook Live or this is not a post in support of Facebook Live. Personally, I want to be one of those people who want to capitalize on this to benefit one or more of the projects I am involved with.

I got Mark’s live presentation transcribed and posted it below. I will add my comments, reflections and reactions

MZ: Hey, everyone. We are back live, again, from Facebook headquarters. We’ve moved to the Live Video launch room, where you can look around, and this is the core team who’s been working on Live for many months now to launch this out to the whole world. We’re pretty psyched, that was pretty subdued, but …

We’re pretty happy, we’ve been working on this for a while. People are watching all these live videos around the world.

RS: Hat’s off to the team. Building ANY product of this kind of scale is no joke. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the team.

MZ: The reason why we’re so excited about this is that it’s this new, really raw, personal, spontaneous way that people can share. Now, you don’t have to take a bunch of videos or photos and curate them and find exactly the most perfect one.

RS: The core message here is that we are dropping the barrier to entry for content creation and broadcast so low that even a kid can do it.

Here is yesterday’s model


The barrier to entry was very high. Because there were only a few outlets, the barrier to getting attention was very low. If you got  your content into one of the few media outlets, you were guaranteed a certain amount of attention.

Compare that to today’s model:


The barrier to entry became low. This resulted in lots of people entering the fray, and by design the barrier to gaining attention has become very high.

Look at the cost in comparison between the two:


Voila: It’s the same cost. 

What does that mean?

It means that a tool like FB Live does not make it any easy to get to stardom if you don’t have talent to make meaningful contributions.

MZ: You can just go live and fell like you’re really there with your friends, or people all over the world, and be able to just interact with people there.

RS: That’s awesome!

MZ: That’s what’s really special about what this new format is, is that it’s not just people taking a video and sharing it, it’s interactive. What I was hoping to do today is just take some questions, and hear how you guys are thinking about this from our community all around the world, and tell you how we’re thinking about this.

We’re really excited about Live, to bring it to everyone. We think about this as bringing the power to broadcast from a smartphone to anyone in the world. It’s like having a TV camera in your pocket all the time, and we’re excited to bring this superpower to everyone in our community.

RS: As they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Thanks to Mark and the team, FB Live will grant enormous power to those who can make the most out of it.

The problem?

It will also give the same power to those that have no clue what do do with it and all shades of gray from one end of the spectrum (totally clues) to the other end of the spectrum (masters of leverage)

I am not suggesting that it’s Facebook’s responsibility to teach the responsibility that comes with this kind of power. But, somewhere this discussion has to begin. You will see why this is important in the later part of the article.

MZ: So, what do you guys think? What are you wondering about?

All right. How do we think that live communication is going to change the world?

If you go back 10 years, a lot of how people shared and communicated and experienced content on the internet was text. Then we all got phones, and they had cameras, and we were able to take pictures, and the internet has become more and more visual. Now, I think because the technology is really ready, we’re entering this new golden age of video online. What we’re going to see is that it’s not just going to be the same kind of videos that you watch on TV, or YouTube, or the web before. There are going to be new kinds of interactive and social experiences, and that’s what we’re starting to see with Live, is the ability to broadcast, hang out with your friends, be there, present and direct, take questions from a community, and I think that that produces these much more raw and personal moments, which I think is what this community is all about. It’s spreading understanding about what we all care about and getting the word out about really cool entertaining and important things.

RS: There is no question we are entering the golden age of video online. YouTube, Snapchat, Google Hangouts are already using up a lot of “mental bandwidth”, disposable time and sometimes non-disposable time as well. But, that is NOT enough – we badly needed more content to watch with the time that we don’t have. 

I think today, in some of the Lives that I saw while I was just flipping through Live around the world is, I was talking to some of the folks in the launch room before, one of the Lives that everyone here is buzzing about is this Eagle Cam, in a zoo, where there’s these bald eagles, and these little baby cute bald eagles, and I mean, what’s wrong with a cute bald … Everyone loves that. There are just thousands of people tuned in, watching these cute little baby bald eagles, and wondering what’s going to happen. It’s kind of a new kind of thing. If it was a prerecorded video, you would’ve known what was going to happen, but because it’s live, you don’t fully know.

I was talking a little bit earlier today about, the other day I was watching Live around the world, and one of the videos that I saw was this woman who was skiing down a slope with her kids, and it wasn’t a particularly intense slope or anything like that, but it was this real, kind of fun moment to watch it and participate, and you see these little kids and you’re like, ah, I just hope that they have fun and really nail it going down the slopes. There’s just a really cool new experience.

RS: This part is where it started becoming closer to a celebrity endorsement of a product. I doubt Mark has any time to watch a Mom skiing down a ‘not so intense slope or even to watch bald eagles in a zoo. There are only a handful of people who are as rich and powerful as Mark. So, if common sense prevails, the rest of the world should not have time for trivial things because TIME is the biggest limiting factor to make something meaningful happen. If most of the disposable time (and part of the non-disposable time) is sucked up to watch videos just because you got notified that one of you connections liked or commented on it, it will be a crime. 

Let’s take a quick, but related detour and revisit my friend Nir Eyal‘s hook model that provides an archetype for building habit-forming products. You will immediately acknowledge how much thought has been put into making this product a habit-forming product

Here are the four key elements of the hook model:


Trigger | As the name suggests, this is something that will make you take an action. In case of FB Live, the trigger may be one or more of the following:

  • You are bored (internal trigger)
  • You get a notification about someone in your network liking or commenting on your live video.
  • You get a notification when someone responds to your comment
  • You were searching for something and related FB Live is on your search results group

Action | The behavior we engage in to get the reward at hand. In this case, just watching the Live video has a sense of mystery – you don’t know what possibly could happen next. 

Variable Reward | The nature of the reward is not completely predictable. As mentioned above, this is an in-built feature of the program due to the nature of live shows.

Investment | In this context, what we are referring to is an action by the user that will improve the offering for the next go around. For example, when you like, react or comment on the platform, a few notification is sent out to the related parties. This notification will in-turn acts as a trigger one or more members within the social graph of the person in question. 

Reflect on the above and you will notice that the system is intricately well-designed to create a new habit in you under the disguise of engagement, education, enrichment and entertainment.

MZ: Over time, we want to make it so that this can grow in a sustainable way that a lot of independent artists can make a living and make money, as well. I think that there are some pretty clean ways that we’ll be able to do that and support the whole artistic community, and we’re really excited about getting to that, but one step at a time.

RS: The keywords here are “over time” – for now everyone can broadcast and they will take the noise levels to a whole new level. 


Because, they can. 

If there was a bell-curve plotted on the quality of live shows, the awesomeness is locked up in the extreme right end of the bell curve. Not all people located here are early adopters. Those that are will also take time to plan and prepare.


There is an old saying – “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” The nonsense and mediocrity zone will explode in a way drowning the “real signals” in a sea of user-generated noise.  

MZ: Today, what we’re really excited about is just getting live video and the power to broadcast to anyone, out into everyone’s hands around the world. We’ll work on some of these business model pieces over the coming months.

So, what is the procedure to go live now on Facebook?

All right, I will show you on my iPhone. Here we go, come on over here. I have the yellow version of the Facebook app, which is our internal build. You can go to the Live tab, and here’s basically the experience I was talking about. You can see where people are live around the world, and I don’t actually know what these people are talking about, we’d have to go into it. Here, this is the eagle video that you guys were talking about, from, or at least it looks like some kind of bird.

RS: Simple, yes! As I mentioned before, Mark is showcasing how frictionless the experience demonstrating the negligible barrier to entry to play. 

Final Comments

(a) Facebook is doing exactly what a company of that size would do – explore every single chance to grab the members’ mindshare to the maximum so that they can sell more advertisements.

(b) You can capitalize on any new technology like Facebook Live. That takes thinking and execution. The alternate option is for you to be part of someone else’s plan and be capitalized. The choice is yours.

(c) What you consume online will hugely influence how you get shaped for growth. Choose with care.

(d) Any powerful tool comes with a responsibility for you to create meaningful value using the tool. Once this is clear, it’s hard to imagine getting carried away.

A few highlights to review and share are here below: