Book Review: The Facebook Effect

by Ian Rosenwach on 3.7.2011

This weekend while in Florida I read The Facebook Effect, by David Kirkpatrick. Overall it was a great read. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in what qualities are found in companies that get big fast.  Maybe even more so it’s a book about what makes great Technology and Internet Company leaders.

This book is about Mark Zuckerberg the leader as much as it is about Facebook the Company.  The reader gains insight into Zuckerberg’s thinking, and how that has driven the massive user base growth (an oft repeated phrase) of Facebook –

  1. Clarity of Vision – Mark is in touch with the psyche of his generation. Going to Exeter and Harvard gave him a keen sense of the types of social pressures that exist in high-performance groups of people. Not only is he in touch with it, but he wants to create a product which lets people experience it.
  2. Ethics – one telling episode is how hard it was for Zuckerberg to accept money from Accel early on while he was talking to Don Graham at the Washington Post. This speaks to a highly admirable quality of character.
  3. Long-Term View – People who have worked with him stress that Zuckerberg has a long, LONG term view.  Not only does he have the view but he is completely focused on following it.  I can’t imagine how difficult it was for Zuckerberg to continually convince his shareholders not to sell. In his early 20’s he had to deal with incredible pressure to sell from seasoned investors, but he always made clear it was simply not an option.
  4. Passion for Product – All of the early FB employees are product-focused people. The team pored over data to understand site usage and improved the service based on a combination of data and strategic vision.

Facebook is a mission-driven company. As long as they continue to hire the best and the brightest and stick to this mission, I don’t see what could stop them!

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