Facebook Domination – How did Facebook become the Behemoth that they are?
This is a two part series and to read the first part – Facebook Domination : How did Facebook beat Orkut and FriendFeed
Facebook is a company to do a lot of firsts. They were the first company to think of creating a Growth Team that could rapidly scale their user base. To support that, their development team have built multiple systems like HipHop for PHP, Haystack , BIGPIPE. For example HipHop for PHP helps convert PHP code into C++ code for faster compiling. A team of 3 took 18 months to build this framework.
It’s innovations and thinking like this that keeps Facebook on top. To get into more detail, let’s see some strategies used by Facebook to stay on top.
The Purchase of Friendfeed
Orkut was never user friendly, you could never do anything on Orkut other than leaving sycophantic testimonials and asking one in return from your friends. A good function of a good website is to show updated and new content when a user logs in. Its obvious now, but wasn’t obvious back then. Orkut did not have anything new to offer every time their users came on to the website. Friendfeed did, and this feature was blatantly copied by Facebook, they went one step further and bought the whole company. What did Friendfeed give Facebook? They gave them the ‘News Feed’ and the team that created that. This immediately made Facebook a real time website with constantly updated content. Humans are looking for something new everytime and Facebook gives it to them. This is one of the biggest product moves that established Facebook as a social leader.
The Purchase of Octazen
Facebook went shopping for a company where they wouldn’t normally go, Malaysia. Facebook purchased a company from Malaysia and even Techcrunch were like “What the heck did Facebook buy Exactly?”
Facebook tried to mask the acquisition as an acqui-hire, but there was something more to it.
Octazen was a scraping tool that could scrape from any website, undetected. This would mean, it would scrape out all the potential contacts from Gmail, Twitter and everywhere. And with their smart algorithms, they would suggest friends you could connect to. It was a great strategy to get people in other platforms who were not in Facebook yet.
Only the Paranoid Survive
Andry Grove, the ex-CEO of Intel had written a book called “Only the Paranoid survive”. Paranoia can be good when you think of all the details and possibilities. Facebook did exactly that when they listed Orkut as a competitor and a potential threat to their business. When Facebook filed their IPO, Orkut was almost dead and not even close to being a competitor to Facebook. It’s this kind of obsession and awareness that keeps Facebook alive. Their constant changes to the newsfeed to keep it interesting for users, their constant testing of products to keep users hooked in every platform is their strategy to stay alive and grow. This is an obsessed company.
Every Facebook employee gets a book when they join that talks about the company’s ethos and culture. It’s aspirational, inspirational and talks about the qualities that is required by every member of the Facebook team. This book gives a great Idea of the way Facebook thinks and the impact they have in the world. In ten years, they’ve built so much value and these are some of the pictures from the book about this great company.