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商业 - 科技

Myspace转型失败的五大教训

Michael Jones 2011年10月26日

Myspace可能是大型互联网媒体公司转型最引人关注的失败案例。现在,Myspace前CEO迈克尔•琼斯现身说法,亲自撰文阐述了Myspace转型中的决策失误及其背后的原因。

    大型企业的内部变革必须以大刀阔斧的行动为中心展开。大企业的业务惯例是为了支持大型的组织机构而设立的,如果没有彻底的人事变动,大企业往往难以快速转型。在Myspace,我们也在人事和组织结构上进行了一些调整。我们发现每次变动都可以提高决策和产品研发的效率。但是这些变动还不够彻底,无法解决横亘在我们面前的艰巨任务。

    千万不要低估惯性的杀伤力,它在公司的流程和人员之中藏得很深,哪怕对人员进行了重大变动,也往往无法使效率提高到你所需要的程度。只有对体系进行重大的变革和完全的颠覆,才能刺激整个组织围绕着新的目标努力,才能使我们看到效率的提升。缓慢的行为变革只能带来缓慢的流程变革。与之相对,重大的行为变革却会造就彻底的流程变革。

    单一门户=单一故障点:许多大型互联网公司,比如Myspace和雅虎,都有一个单一的“品牌”门户,也就是只有一个进入网站的入口。用户可以在进入这个门户后发现多个产品线。不幸的是,一个单一的门户,在消费者看来就是一个单一的故障点——哪怕这个门户后面的产品线很强劲。

    Myspace改版后,许多主要的衡量数据稳定了下来,产品和用户参与的某些领域也出现了增长。我们发现新老用户行为之间出现了明显的分裂。虽然整个网站都出现了这种明确的势头,但由于我们只有一个门户,所以我们无法轻易地展现这种势头。

    网飞(Netflix)也面临着同样的挑战。老式的DVD租凭业务压制了消费者对流媒体业务和公司总体的感知势头,因此网飞对两条业务线进行了区分,并为两种业务分别建立了网站。虽然他们后来撤销了这个决定,但是从长期看来,分别建网站的决定可能是正确的。

    除上述五条建议之外,还有一些零星的想法,送给未来的转型期顾问、董事会和高管们:

    •在数字世界,建立新品牌要比扭转老品牌的颓势来得更容易。

    •一个大型的单一站点或单一门户如果行之有效,那的确很好。但最好能有一部分离线收入作为保障,如果可以的话,最好设立多个用户进入点。

    •没有拙劣的员工,只有拙劣的流程。要想理顺流程,就要进行彻底的文化变革,千万不要尝试缓慢的企业文化改革。

    互联网仍然是一个新兴的产业。在更为成熟的企业里,展示让老树发新芽的能力,对于长远的成功来说至关重要。这是我们所有人都必须面对、也必须解决的问题。在我们着手解决这个问题时,我相信我们会发现,在老业务之外打造新的业务,是实现迅速增长、吸引更多用户的最佳途径。

    本文作者Michael Jones是一名互联网高管,也是一名资深的企业家、投资家和顾问。他居住在洛杉矶。最近他曾担任Myspace的CEO,期间主要负责Myspace、Myspace Music和Myspace Mobile的全球业务战略与运营。任职期间,他负责了Myspace的改版,这次改版也是互联网行业最引人关注的一次转型之举。它稳定了长期以来一直走低的用户访问量,把运营成本削减了近90%,并且将Myspace由社交网络转型成一个社交娱乐门户网站。作为一个连续创业的互联网企业家,他也曾创立并卖出过许多企业,包括咨询公司PBJ Digital、应用平台Userplane(后被美国在线收购),Tsavo Media和Myspace等。他现在仍然以投资者、顾问和董事会成员等身份,积极参与许多早期初创公司的事务。

    译者:朴成奎

    Change within large organizations must be centered around drastic actions. Large companies with practices built to support large organizations are difficult to transform quickly without radical personnel changes. At Myspace, we instituted several shifts in personnel and organizational structure. We found that while each change brought greater efficiencies in decision-making and product development, they weren't radical enough to accomplish the enormous task in front of us.

    Do not underestimate how deeply muscle memory is embedded in the company's processes and staff -- so much so that even significant staff changes often do not result in the desired increase in efficiency. It was only through major change, a full disruption to the system, that we were able to galvanize the organization around new goals and begin seeing increased efficiencies. Slow behavioral change creates slow process change. Large behavioral change creates a drastic process change.

    Single front door = single point of failure. Many large Internet businesses, such as Myspace and Yahoo, have a single "brand" front door, in that users have one point of entry into the site. Behind the door, users will find multiple product lines. Unfortunately, a single front door means there is a single point of failure in consumers' minds -- even when the product lines behind it are robust.

    After the Myspace relaunch, we were able to stabilize many of the primary metrics and start to show growth in certain areas of the product and user behavior. We were beginning to see a clear split in old vs. new user behavior. However, because we had a single front door, we couldn't easily demonstrate clearly defined momentum that was applicable across the entire site.

    Netflix (NFLX) faces a similar challenge. Its legacy DVD business was weighing down the perceived momentum of the streaming business and the company overall. So Netflix tried to differentiate the two business lines and create separate websites for each. They've since reversed that decision, but it the long run, separate website may end up being the right answer.

    A few parting thoughts for future turn-around investors, boards and executives:

    • In the digital world, new brands are easier to create than fixing momentum issues with historically large brands.

    • A huge single site / single front door is wonderful when it works, but hedge your strategy with offsite revenue, and if applicable, multiple points of customer entry.

    • There are no bad people, only bad processes. To fix them, create radical cultural change, don't attempt a slow cultural shift.

    The Internet is still an adolescent industry. The ability to show new life in more mature businesses is crucial to long-term success. This is a problem we all must embrace and solve for. And when we do, I believe we will find that building new businesses on top of older businesses of scale is the best formula to rapid growth and audience renewal.

    Michael Jones is an Internet executive, a long-¬‐time entrepreneur, investor and advisor located in Los Angeles. Most recently, Mike served as the CEO of Myspace. In this role, Mike oversaw global business strategy and operations for Myspace, Myspace Music, and Myspace Mobile. During his tenure, he was responsible for the relaunch of Myspace, one of the most high-¬‐profile turn-¬‐around challenges in the industry. This included stabilizing a historically negative traffic and user trend, reducing the operational cost of the business by nearly 90 percent and pivoting the product from its legacy as a social network to a social entertainment destination. A serial Internet entrepreneur, Mike has founded and sold numerous businesses, including agency PBJ Digital, application platform Userplane, which he led from startup to its acquisition by AOL, Tsavo Media and Myspace. Mike continues to be actively involved with early-¬‐stage start-¬‐ups as an investor, advisor and board member.

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