Meta’s Workplace and Microsoft Teams are joining forces, but the head of Facebook’s tool, Workplace, is leaving after 11 years. Julien Codorniou, helped Workplace grow to over seven million users since its birth in 2015. In his interview with Protocol, Julien discussed the successes and struggles of Workplace which provided insight into how we can learn from those experiences.
Here are 3 key takeaways from the interview with Julien Codorniou to better evaluate your own business going into 2022.
- Think bigger.
Codorniou had to work hard to build credibility for the Facebook tool, Workplace. How a social network can be trusted as a workplace tool was a common question floating around. They grew at a relatively fast pace by focusing on larger corporations to market and sell their new tool. Codorniou says, after bringing on two million Wal-Mart employees in 2017, they were finally seen as a serious contender in the work communication environment. Instead of going the traditional route, Codorniou relates, “Most of the SaaS startups these days, they go bottom-up, land and expand. They go after the SMB market, and then they try to go up-market. I think with Workplace, because we wanted to prove our credibility and earn it, we went the opposite way. We started direct sales. We went after the biggest or the most respected companies on the planet.” The result? They thought on a bigger scale. You’re probably thinking- Sure, it’s easier for a larger company to think bigger, they are bigger! This is true, they have more resources. But you can evaluate your consumers and consider how you can reach larger markets to grow your business.
- Re-evaluate who can use your products or services.
What wasn’t considered by the critics were frontline workers or workers not attached to a desktop or laptop computer all day. Companies like Wal-Mart, Starbucks and others began to ask Workplace to fill the gap that their employees faced in terms of communication and connection. In his interview Codorniou states, “We thought we would have to compete against Slack or Microsoft. We didn’t realize we were going after a market where there was no competition, which is the frontline market.” Re-evaluating your market can promote creative ideas and new streams of revenue. Take time to consider who is not your customer and why they aren’t.
- Leverage what you already have.
Workplace succeeded by using the existing Facebook UI creating recognition and a smooth user experience compared to others, such as Slack and Teams. The takeaway? Reconsider the user experience and really listen to what your clients and customers say. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Codorniou tells us in his interview, “we try to use Facebook superpowers like the familiarity, the importance of video, the newsfeed groups and chat, but also to go after next-gen IT deployments[.]”
This isn’t an article touting how great Facebook is. After all, they don’t protect our information or our children, they allow questionable sources to create news-like propaganda, and they use our information against us for financial gain. However, even with all the negative ramifications of Facebook, there is something we can learn from interviews like this one on how to reconsider your own business and the goals you have for the new year. Don’t be like Facebook, be better.