We’d like to congratulate Alex Schultz and the Meta team for the phenomenal growth of Facebook.
As of the last quarterly report, Facebook has almost 2 billion daily active users (DAU) and almost 3 billion monthly active users (MAU).
The company also hauled in more than $33 billion in revenue, topping analyst estimates. And sales will grow somewhere between 3% and 11%, year-over-year.
And Alex Schultz had a lot to do with that success.
Alex Schultz’s Journey with Meta
Schultz has been with Meta since long before it was known as Meta. He’s a 14-year veteran with the company.
He started off as an analyst (2007 to 2009), then became a manager (2009 to 2011), then a director (2011 to 2014), then a VP (2014 to now), and a CMO (2020 to now).
Schultz is also the executive sponsor for Meta’s global LGBTQ group, Pride@Meta.
“I got involved originally as a junior IC when Jason Min and Clifton Tay set up the first version – an anonymous mailing list – in 2007/2008 and I wasn’t openly gay at work,” he says on his LinkedIn page. “I feel this community has done a lot of good for LGBTQ users of our service by bringing the perspective of our community to the company and I hope (and believe) I’ve played a role in that.”
Managing Meta’s Rebrand
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, last October the company formerly known as Facebook became Meta.
The new name is a nod to the metaverse, a high-tech term referring to cyberspace enhanced by augmented (or virtual) reality.
It’s also a reference pulled from the 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash. And that’s a reminder that we live in an era when science fiction routinely becomes a science fact.
Schultz says that his company began the rebranding process in March of 2021. It took a couple of months before management developed a shortlist.
By July, that team settled on the new name: Meta.
It wasn’t just a name change, though. Facebook took down its thumbs-up logo and replaced it with the Meta logo.
That logo, unsurprisingly, looks like an infinity sign.
Meta and Virtual Reality
The news about Facebook’s rebranding dropped about a week after the company promised to make an investment in Virtual Reality.
A $50 million investment, to be precise.
And that move, by the way, is the underlying reason for the rebrand. It has nothing to do with the various problems that plagued Facebook last year.
That’s a fact emphasized by Schultz himself. He says the rebrand isn’t an attempt to run away from anything.
When Facebook made the announcement about the Meta rebranding, the company faced whistleblower allegations about how it handled misinformation.
So that would have been the worst time to run away.
But Meta also faces copycat claims on its rebranding.
You might recall that Google changed its name to Alphabet back in 2015. Google itself became a subsidiary of Alphabet and the new company’s main source of revenue.
When asked about that by Forbes, Schultz said his company’s rebrand points to its investment in the metaverse and not an effort to “do a paint job.”
“I think the key thing is clear is brand names—you can’t change a company’s reputation with a brand name,” he says. “Brand names have to represent something. And I think a lot of those didn’t necessarily represent something substantive and so even some were mocked.”
Schultz’s Answers on Meta
Schultz also has an answer for people who question the new name: Meta.
In addition to the name being a “nod and wink” to the metaverse, he says that other companies have already used the term. Among them: Epic, Robloc, Unity, and Minecraft.
But how will Schultz market the metaverse?
“We have to category make,” he told Forbes. “We have to bring the metaverse concept to global awareness and to be in people’s minds and have them asking what this is.”
Further, he said that the company will start with promotions around games. But he also recognizes that plenty of people are already using VR for social purposes.
And there’s the connection to the company’s history. From social media as it’s understood today to social virtual reality in the future.
Schultz believes that virtual connections are the future of social interaction.
Critics claim that Meta jumped on the VR bandwagon too early. But that just means that the company is getting into an up-and-coming tech space well ahead of its competitors.
Meta is a VR pioneer.
And that could make all the difference when it comes to market share five or ten years from now.
I think Alex Schultz demonstrates amazing foresight. I look forward to seeing where Meta goes from here.