I just finished reading The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick. I enjoyed it a lot. It is very thorough, both on the inside scoop but also in terms of analysis. Since not everyone may be as interested in every last detail about Facebook as I am, i thought that I’d post a brief summary of the highlights. Cliff notes, if you will.
– scalability was perhaps the central concern in the early days. Zuckerberg clearly understood the lesson of friendster
– Zuckerberg was very explicit about having profiles represent real people. Identity warranting is a key value of Facebook today IMO
– the launch of the photos application within Facebook is fascinating. Two core features of photo sites were — and still are — left out: high res versions and the ability to order prints.
Zuckerberg bet that social photos with tags were what people really wanted and he was right. More photos are viewed on Facebook thten all other sites combined. Photos are truly the killer app.
– the newsfeed was incredibly controversial. Zuckerberg bravely stuck to his guns because he saw the site engagement skyrocket even as 10% of the site protested the new feature!!
– Zuckerberg is supremely confident. He is not swayed but money — he turned away a $10mm offer only 4 months after founding Facebook at age 20 and has since turned down multi-billion offers. He marches to his own beat, and has control of the board of Facebook.
– Zuckerberg is ambivalent about ads and it shows. The second half of the book is blah, because Facebook has neither been wildly successful nor a complete failure at making money. This story remains unfinished IMO.
I am immensely impressed by Mark Zuckerberg. He has gone ‘all in’ perhaps 3 times with innovative and controversial features that have revolutionized the web and society. He has executed extremely well where many others tried and failed.
I eagerly await the next chapter as it unfolds! As well as the movie soon to be released, ‘the social Network’, with its fictionalized account of the human drama behind Facebook. UPDATE: It sounds that the movie is a start contrast to the book. The movie is entertaining but totally misses any of the real points of Facebook.