Recently, I have started re-thinking about connection and networking. Many companies developing social network apps proclaim their products are connecting online to offline world. Even such business jargon as O2O has been commonly used in the IT field. What is more, some entrepreneurs try to lay more value on their product in that specific light.
Does O2O business have a bright future and should it be considered a standard value of SNS business? To answer this question is not quite easy, when thinking about software products that have achieved outstanding success so far. Let me take only two examples here, first of which is online game. Gaming products don’t support any connection between online to offline world. While some features might mimic the real world, fantasier features draw more attention from young consumers–and the fantasy is another name of the unrealistic.
The second example coming to my mind is a series of licensed softwares such as documentation tools. Again, these don’t offer any connection between online to offline, but only making feasible the things difficult to be carried out in the reality.
In fact, I think, for a social network business to be successful, we need to focus more on what can be only conducted online and not realized in the offline world. What is really difficult to be envisioned in the real world and what makes people indulge themselves only in the online world? A bit of disconnection between online and offline worlds, put differently. Indeed, what has made a social network like Facebook successful is not O2O connection but the fact that people wouldn’t have been able to have such a vast connection with others without the social network platform. People may starve for something that they would never be able to do in the offline world.
In short, I won’t do a social network business trying to connect taxi, beauty shops, movers and porters, accommodation, and various kinds of service sectors to individual users, given the foregoing speculation.