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Zuckerberg: HTML5 Facebook’s Biggest Mistake

2012 September 11
by David Eads


In Mark Zuckerberg’s first press conference today since Facebook’s IPO flop, the CEO wunkerkind pointed out some key learnings every company should take to heart:

1- “The biggest mistake we have made is betting too much on HTML5″

2 – “[Facebook] is now a mobile company”

Zuckerberg said Facebook is setting up mobile heads and multiple mobile roadmaps.

Sometimes it takes almost destroying a wildly successful company to teach software developers that the most elegant architectural solution is not necessarily the best business decision.

HTML5 — along with Apple’s iPhone-App Store-iPad ecosystem — is one of the most important, game changing technologies. However, it doesn’t solve every problem. Just because you CAN have one codebase, doesn’t mean your business is going to run better. Yes it saves in development and maintenance costs and helps get you to market faster, but it may not provide the best service to your customers and encourage them to engage with you rather than your competitors.

Betting your company on HTML5 is like a retailer deciding to have a one physical store. Retailers might enter a market with one store, but to truly thrive, they need stores closer to their customers and tailored to their individual needs.

Your mobile strategy should be like this.

Use HTML5 to make sure you can serve as many people as well as possible. Then provide native solutions — often as part of a hybrid strategy — to tailor a solution for targeted segments of your customer base. Start with your customers’ needs rather than YOUR needs.

Don’t be a Zuckerberg — at least in an HTML5 way.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. September 11, 2012

    @david: when you say hybrid strategy, are you referring to HTML 5 in native wrappers? ie. Sencha Touch?

  2. September 12, 2012

    Hi Branden. Yes, when I’m talking hybrid, I’m referring to using a combination of HTML5 and native technologies to provide the best experience possible. The HTML5 could use Sencha Touch or jQuery or any number of tools and that code connects to native technology as necessary.

    Many folks think of hybrid as just HTML5 wrapped with PhoneGap. That’s usually a poor user experience – and Apple is rejecting more and more of these apps. I suggest clients make their applications much more integrated than that. Usually the result is more a native application reusing HTML5 components – but every app is different.

    The key point is to start with the user in mind and provide the best user experience possible for each delivery channel regardless of what technology is required.

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