The saying goes “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime”. Everyone knows this. Apply this to company acquisitions, and this is exactly what Facebook has done in buying Sofa, a design-interface-software company based in (i.e. till now) Amsterdam, best known for Mac apps like Kaleidoscope and Versions.
“The Sofa team will be moving from Amsterdam to Palo Alto in the coming weeks – and we’ll make sure to infuse some of our particular flavor of Dutch culture at Facebook” – says Sofa on its blog
The news broke already late last week, especially the dutch media seems thrilled with this acknowledgment of dutch design prowess. I thought and wondered… here’s a team of design talents letting go of its past work, uprooting and shipping themselves across the oceans. There must be more than exciting opportunities, there must be creative space! At least I sure hope so for the Sofa team.
Indeed, the Facebook acquisition of Sofa is not about buying the software products in the company’s portfolio. Products are specifically left OUT of the deal. It’s all about buying the Sofa Team, the team that creates not only great working software, but also great looking software – it’s the experience they create. “Buy a great product; you have a product for today. Buy an awesome team; and you have awesome products for a lifetime.”
“The team will contribute to a wide selection of the products that the design team works on. Typically, each Facebook product has a designer who is a core part of the team.” – says Facebook in a statement
With social media as hot as it is, competition from Twitter following right on their heels and Google fuming green with envy, Facebook is upping their game with hyperactivity - changes and new features like Happening Now, FriendFeed, Facebook Lite etc. In a time where User Interface shapes user behavior, this is a truly timely acquisition.
Will Facebook start looking and feeling like Twitter? Will Twitter start looking and feeling like Facebook? Will I be Twittering from Facebook? Or Facebooking from Twitter? Or will I Facebook/Twitter in Google or iOS? The kettle is boiling as we speak and the landscape is about change.
Where will they put their brand new Sofa shipped in all the way from Amsterdam? Or will each and every programmer, developer, marketer and all get to rest their creativity bums on their very own dutch-flavored Sofa? Or will the Sofa simply be left in a corner in the recreation room? Time will tell how much Dutch user interface and design signature we will see.
As a user, I’ll be looking forward to enjoying a Facebook on my dutch Sofa.
Good luck, goede reis en veel succes!