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Mark Zuckerburg: Speed and Strategy(2008)

  • Importance of development speed
    • Development speed → effectiveness of executing.
    • Great strategy + Slow implementation ≠ Success.
    • One way to move quickly — everyone on the team should understand the strategy behind major product areas.
  • How the usefulness of Facebook was perceived back then:
    • People get value from Facebook in 2 ways:
      • By getting and sharing information with friends;
      • By building trust and more valuable relationships with the people they know.
    • “Getting information and keeping up relationships are core needs that everyone in the world has, so if we do a good job then we should be able to get everyone in the world to use Facebook.”
  • On making the website faster:
    • Front-end of the site is very slow; takes around 3 seconds to render pages on average.
    • Faster the site → More activity.
    • If the site is made 1 second faster → 20% more activity.
    • Slower speeds subconsciously lead the user to do fewer page views and less activity.
    • “Even if making the site 100ms faster doesn’t seem as cool as shipping something shiny and new, this is almost certainly more important and if you can successfully do it then you’ll earn a lot of respect within the team and from me and D’Angelo.”
  • On building network effects:
    • No. of friends a user has is the most important factor for a user’s activity.
    • The relationship is almost linear, i.e, if someone has twice as many friends as someone else, on average they’ll be about twice as active as that other person.
    • Right now we have an issue that even though a lot of new users are signing up for Facebook, many are also becoming inactive because we don’t make it easy enough for them to find and add their friends. … This is a major area for improvement and we need more people to work on this.
  • On differentiating the core product — Facebook Platform
    • The Facebook Platform is the set of services, tools, and products provided by Facebook to third-party developers to create their own applications and services that access the data(more specifically, he Social Graph) on Facebook.
    • The platform is key to our strategy because we believe that there will be a lot of different social applications and ways that people communicate and share information, and we believe we can’t develop all of them ourselves. Therefore, even though it’s a challenge for us to get this right, it’s important for us to focus on it because the company that defines this social platform will be in the best position to offer the most good ways for people to communicate and succeed in the long term.”
    • Right now there is a major evolution of Platform underway that will redefine what a “good” application is and how apps get distribution through our network. The basic idea here is that we want to reward apps that are trustworthy and are doing things that people want and that people are actually engaging with. The first thing we’re going to do to make this happen is get rid of the concept of adding an app, so anyone can just use any app without having to worry about getting that screen that asks you to add the app and put a box on your profile. So there also won’t be as many boxes and as much clutter on profiles, although there will still be a way for users to add profile boxes if they want them. The way we’re going to enable a lot of information flow is by letting apps give us potential feed stories for anything that a user does within that app. If an app gives us lots of stories with in information that users find interesting, then we’ll show more of them and that app will get more distribution. If an app gives us stories that aren’t interesting or that users report to be deceptive or spam, then we’ll show fewer (or none) of the stories from that app. The same will be true for requests and notifications. This way the amount of distribution, and therefore the success of an app, depends on its ability to generate real activity and information that users find interesting and trustworthy.


Shreesha S
Shreesha S

Shreesha is a Qualified Certified Management Accountant(CMA) and Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis(CSCA).

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