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When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

A quote

A wise man once said:

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

Have you heard of it? Well, it’s relevant to the current environment.

What’s our current hammer?
Oftentimes, you’ll hear the following conversation:

Nerd 1: Hey, what are you working on these days?
Nerd 2: I’m working on [insert random web project here]
Nerd 1: Are you going to put it on Facebook?

See, the funny thing about this conversation is that it DIDN’T MATTER what Nerd 2 was working on – the first guy was going to ask about Facebook one way or the other! That’s our hammer.

Sometimes this conversation actually ends with:

  • Are you going to build it in Ruby on Rails?
  • Is it going to have a Google Maps mashup?
  • Are you buying search ads?
  • Is it going to be a MySpace widget?
  • etc.

Basically, whatever is hot and really hyped up, you’re going to ask just because. Not because it has any relevance, but just because it looks like a nail.

What do you really mean?
So what do people really mean when they ask, "Are you going to make a Facebook app?" I think they really mean, "What’s your approach on getting lots of people to use the site?"

There are many great answers to that question, and a Facebook app might even be a great answer – but it’s not the only answer.

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