The Future of HTML5
Like many in the mobile and apps industries, I subscribe to many newsletters and RSS feeds and visit key sites every day. The big news item (well, before the Apple announcement) was about Zuckerberg/Facebook admitting that HTML5 was a mistake at TechCrunch Disrupt in SF.
I know journalists like controversial story lines—but the entire story isn’t quite being told. Here is Mark Zuckerberg’s broader statement, “When I’m introspective about the last few years I think the biggest mistake that we made, as a company, is betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native. Because it just wasn’t there. It’s not that HTML5 is bad. I’m actually, on long-term, really excited about it. One of the things that’s interesting is we actually have more people on a daily basis using mobile Web Facebook than we have using our iOS or Android apps combined. So mobile Web is a big thing for us.”
The mistake was more on timing, not HTML5 as a technology choice. It can be tough for new technologies to ramp up—and everyone must remember HTML5 is still not a full standard yet. For those familiar with the technology hype cycle, all technologies go through the Trough of Disillusionment. That means that after a technology is over hyped, there are some issues and difficulties before it becomes accepted. Can anyone name a technology that has not gone through this process?
Here it shows how difficult it can be to push technology forward when even a company like Facebook cannot accelerate this curve. But also important is for companies to make these types of bets and keep pushing those technologies. Technology companies should get bloody noses every now and then or they risk the bigger concern of being too conservative and late with technical innovations.
Finally, wasn’t it kind of refreshing that Zuckerberg admitted a mistake? Not many CEOs do, particularly so soon after the big news surrounding dropping stock prices. It is more likely to occur in their memoirs or something to that effect. I cannot imagine what I would do if I had a movie like “The Social Network” made about me when I was under 30 or if I saw my stock drop. Showing that you are willing to admit mistakes is a good step towards changing public opinion. (By the way, if there was a movie about me before I was 30 it would mainly be about eating pizza and watching TV.)