Facebook is not an elite tech company In Silicon Valley tech companies, typically top engineers - who have an understanding of the product recorded only in their vast brains - and one or two executives make the list. [...] with the way tech has enmeshed itself in our lives, I've wondered if a sort of bus number existed for tech companies themselves. How many, if they were to magically evaporate, would bring the average person's life to a significant halt, or throw a monkey wrench in the daily fabric of technology? For the sake of this scenario, we're not talking about behind-the-scene all-stars like Nvidia, IBM and Intel, but the companies that people interact with every day. The Economist featured the first four on the cover of a December issue on the "Battle of the Internet giants," and gave honorable mention to Microsoft in the article. Even with strong revenue from advertising - which is under increasing scrutiny for efficacy - on the Internet being a walled garden does not build competitive strength. [...] just because Facebook claims that one-sixth of the planet has an account does not mean the company is a scorching business. A closed systemConsider even that most times you interact with your Facebook account, it's through a product made by Google (Chrome/Android), Apple (Safari/iOS) or Microsoft (Explorer/Windows). If Apple hadn't committed the unforced error of releasing a terrible Maps app, Google would have been in big trouble losing those iPhone Maps users. Facebook sits in a similar position of weakness, as it depends on all these other platforms to pass it traffic - just like any other app developer.