I’m part of the organizing committee for the next Facebook Garage Montreal. The bilingual event is happening next Monday at [praized subtype="small" pid="96423266cd5145552decb67454b13e4e" type="badge" dynamic="true"] and is sponsored by Facebook and Intel.

We’ve just released a preliminary agenda.

  • 5pm to 6:30pm: buffet, socializing
  • 6:30pm to 6:45pm: opening remarks – Louise Clements, Head of Sales, Facebook Canada
  • 6:45pm to 7:15pm: first keynote – Hell’s Kitchen: Facebook comme plateforme de jeux vidéos, Emmanuel Delmoly, co-founder Social2U
  • 7:15pm to 7:45pm: Facebook Advertising 101 – speaker to be confirmed
  • 7:45pm to 8:15pm: break
  • 8:15pm to 9:15pm Social Marketing / Facebook Connect
  • 9:15pm to 10:00pm: second keynote – Matt Wyndowe, Facebook (Palo Alto, CA) – Topic to be confirmed

Should be an exciting evening. The event is free and you can register here.

I’m part of the organizing committee for the next Facebook Garage Montreal. The bilingual event is happening next Monday at [praized subtype="small" pid="96423266cd5145552decb67454b13e4e" type="badge" dynamic="true"] and is sponsored by Facebook and Intel.

We’ve just released a preliminary agenda.

  • 5pm to 6:30pm: buffet, socializing
  • 6:30pm to 6:45pm: opening remarks – Louise Clements, Head of Sales, Facebook Canada
  • 6:45pm to 7:15pm: first keynote – Hell’s Kitchen: Facebook comme plateforme de jeux vidéos, Emmanuel Delmoly, co-founder Social2U
  • 7:15pm to 7:45pm: Facebook Advertising 101 – speaker to be confirmed
  • 7:45pm to 8:15pm: break
  • 8:15pm to 9:15pm Social Marketing / Facebook Connect
  • 9:15pm to 10:00pm: second keynote – Matt Wyndowe, Facebook (Palo Alto, CA) – Topic to be confirmed

Should be an exciting evening. The event is free and you can register here.

FacebookCamp Toronto

Tomorrow night, I’m attending the fourth edition of FacebookCamp Toronto. It’s in the main hall of MaRS Discovery District at 101 College Street in Toronto. As I write this 444 people are planning to attend. You can see the agenda here and you can register here for free. If you’re attending and you’d like to connect with me, shoot me an e-mail ( seb AT praized.com).

I was interviewed yesterday afternoon on “Homerun“, the drive home show of CBC Radio One Montreal, about the new Facebook Pages and SocialAds products. The writer that prepared the interview was very well informed and had managed to capture a good portion of the blogosphere’s feelings about the new initiatives. A lot of the questions revolved around privacy. Will advertisers know anything about me? How does targeting work? What happens if I become fan of a business? Will my newsfeed be polluted by advertising? etc.

Wednesday night, I was sitting on a “Future of Facebook” panel at FacebookCamp Montreal. More than 200 people attended the event. I had the opportunity to talk to many people who are very passionate about Facebook. I quickly realized that, even though most of the attendees were hoping to use the Facebook ecosystem to do business (either through advertising or building apps), people were analyzing the Facebook announcement through their user eyes and many of them were worried the new ad products would break this great social platform.

Jean-Jacques Streliski, one of Quebec’s top advertising gurus and GM of Publicis Montreal, was sitting on a marketing panel. He admitted he was a complete Facebook junkie but he wasn’t yet prepared to push Facebook to Publicis’ customers. He talked about the fact that Facebook is a great social experiment and he does not want to corrupt the experience.

Forbes reports there is “fear among Facebook developers”, Saul Hansell from The New York Times wonders if Facebook’s SocialAds are illegal, and people are also coming up with ways to block the new Facebook beacon.

The whole ecosystem is worried and Facebook is not doing anything to assuage the fears. Facebook needs to put a stake in the ground and clearly explains the impacts of their new products.

Facebook, are you listening to your community?

facebookcamp Montreal

The first edition of FacebookCamp Montreal is now officially announced. It’s Wednesday November 7th at the SAT and it starts at 4pm. RSVP on Facebook here. If you want to present something, you can register on the wiki. I attended the first Toronto FacebookCamp in August and it was great!

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… :-)

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended FacebookCamp in Toronto on Tuesday night. It was well attended (over 400 people) and the room was about 50% tech-oriented and 50% business-oriented. Roy Pereira, one of the organizers seen below on the right (the other host is Andrew Cherwenka), told the crowd the objective was to encourage more Toronto-based developers and companies to use the Facebook application platform and further Toronto’s global presence in technology.

roy and andrew at FacebookCamp in Toronto

We then jumped straight into action with a very informative presentation by Meagan Marks from Facebook. Called “Best Practices around Product Design and Viral Marketing”, it offered multiple data points about the size of Facebook in Canada and some tips & tricks on how to leverage the site. The Facebook team asked that we do not videotape the presentation which made me thing their live presentations are walled gardens as well… :-)

Meagan Marks at FacebookCamp in Toronto

Data highlights:

  • Worldwide: 33M active users (people coming to the site at least once a month), 150,000 new users are added each day.
  • 90,000 application developers, 1700 applications with more 100 users.
  • #6 network in Canada with 11.3M unique visitors in June 2007 according to Comscore (close to 50% reach). Facebook claims they also have 8.5 billion page views per month.
  • They have 3.3M active users. 68% are daily users and 61% are out of college,
  • 75% of active users have an application installed.
  • 10% of all application developers are based in Canada and Toronto is one of the top 10 largest developer communities

Marketing highlights:

  • Facebook is all about identity, information and social context. It’s about connections between people, it’s powered by valuable social connections, and enhanced by network effects.
  • How do you get high growth, high users applications? By having deep integration in all channels: the newsfeed, the product directory, the profile page but there are other places where you can hook your app.
  • Profile integration: there are many places where you can embed your app including in the left navigation, under the user picture, in the upper right or in the middle of the page.
  • The best way to leverage the profile box is to show recent interactions, recently added content, social relevancy (who), the temporal aspect (what happened today and yesterday). The content is all about expression, not consumption.
  • News feed optimization (NFO): increase the relevancy of what’s pushed through the newsfeed ( for example, what the user did and the relationship with their friends) and utilize call-to-action buttons.
  • Additional integration points: the message, the profile actions, the wall, and the share button
  • An interesting marketing idea was to find other developers who have built complimentary apps to cross-promote your own app.

She also mentioned that Facebook was already seeing new business opportunities emerging from developers. Among them, she mentioned virtual currencies (ex: munny in Fluff friends), Ad networks, APIs on top API (for example, the Super Wall API).

She suggested app developers use the following metrics to measure success:

  1. Vitality metrics: installed base, outgoing impressions, conversion rate
  2. Engagement metrics: repeat sessions, canvas page views. She showed the following formula: installed users x impressions/installed users x acquisitions/impressions = new users acquired (see the following picture here from the Global Nerdy site)

Joey deVilla has an amazing summary of that session as well on GlobalNerdy.com, with even more details.

I was amongst the more than 400 people who attended the first FacebookCamp yesterday night in Toronto. You could feel the excitement in the room and there were many interesting insights for anyone interested in Facebook (who isn’t these days!) that I’ll cover in the next few days in this blog.

Before I get into specific details, and even though I’m very excited about the potential of using Facebook to build a business, I’d like to write about something that’s been on my mind about Facebook the company and its potential future strategy. With the launch of their F8 platform, they have become the playing ground for a lot of new social applications. Some of them have seen tremendous traction, revenues are starting to be generated and entrepreneurs are launching businesses that rely completely on Facebook. Some VCs are even funding companies that focus only on Facebook apps.

The real value for social apps developers is the fact that Facebook has a large existing user community. The viral tools embedded in Facebook make it easier to propagate an application within your network of “friends” and leverage the network effect. It’s obviously easier to build something in Facebook, build on the existing community instead of starting from scratch with your own destination site. But the fact that they are a closed network has pros and cons. The major pro is that you have access to a large community where everything is standardized and in a controlled environment. The major con is that you don’t control your destiny.

Why is that? It comes down to the following question: is Facebook a platform or a media company? I’m not sure they’ve clearly stated what they were and where they were going with this. From a strategy point of view, if they are a platform, they’ll continue to focus on making it easy to create apps and content within their site. They’ll build even better user-relevant viral tools. Their business model will consist of wrapping their ads around the various apps & profile pages and they also might charge a developers fee for usage of their site (pay-per-install, etc.). The fact that they’re shutting down Facebook Courses in favor of the developers community makes me think they might be embracing that vision.

But, if they are a media company, nothing prevents them from looking at the best money-making apps out there (remember, they own all the data) and replicating those themselves. Companies built on Facebook might crumble the same way that web sites built only on SEO and keyword arbitrage do as well.

Facebook should make a statement about who they really are before this things gets too big and businesses get hurt. Until then, as an entrepreneur, you want to make sure you hedge your bets and not live your life only on Facebook. To build sustainable businesses with a large partner, you need to trust them and I’m not sure we can fully trust Facebook yet.

I’m finally back from my vacation and caught up with my e-mails. Tonight, I’ll be attending the first ever Facebookcamp in Toronto (also called Facebook Developer Garage in Facebook).

Toronto was for the longest time the city with the most Facebook users but was recently overthrown by London. “Canadians account for more than 10 per cent of the site’s total population and according to web measurement firm ComScore, in June 2007, 11.4 million Canadians logged onto Facebook, compared with only 343,000 in the same period last year.”

Initiated by my friend Colin Smilie, who recently left Trader Media Canada to start his own business, the event has now grown into humongous proportion with 383 confirmed guests signing up by word-of-mouth in the last few weeks. The un-conference is at MaRS Discovery District. BTW, my friend Sylvain Carle is organizing a Facebookcamp Montreal this Fall.

What it means: yet another proof of the strength of social media. By starting the event, Colin managed to get the attention of the Facebook people (who will be presenting tonight and are sponsoring the conference) and signed up almost 400 people, a large crowd by any measure. If you’re attending and you’d like to connect with me, shoot me an e-mail ( seb AT praized.com).

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