Facebook Effect

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* Book: David Kirkpatrick. The Face­book Effect


JD Lasica:

"Kirk­patrick spends con­sid­er­able time paint­ing a por­trait of the some­what imp­ish col­lege stu­dent Mark Zucker­berg, his mat­u­ra­tion into a world-class, far­sighted and shrewd CEO, his fas­ci­nat­ing dance with the Wash­ing­ton Post as Facebook’s prin­ci­pal investor before turn­ing to a more tra­di­tional invest­ment firm, and the utter may­hem of grow­ing a com­pany from zero to a user base of a half bil­lion in six short years.

Kirk­patrick cor­rectly iden­ti­fies the inflec­tion points — and Sil­i­con Val­ley pen­chant for iter­at­ing and turn­ing on a dime — that led to Facebook’s aston­ish­ing suc­cess, par­tic­u­larly Zuckerberg’s deci­sion to open up Face­book to out­side devel­op­ers and his focus on long-term ubiq­uity rather than short-term prof­its. I loved the lit­tle vignettes about the unfore­seen con­se­quences of the Face­book team’s actions. For instance, after Facebook’s code jock­eys threw the switch and opened the plat­form to out­side apps, the founders of iLike “drove around Sil­i­con Val­ley bor­row­ing servers from var­i­ous tech com­pa­nies so they could han­dle the load.” Within two days, 400,000 peo­ple had down­loaded the iLike application.

The author spends a lit­tle bit too much time on accounts of the company’s val­u­a­tion and nego­ti­a­tions with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer that came to naught. But he hits the nail on the head when he iden­ti­fies Google, not Microsoft, as the biggest chal­lenger to Facebook’s supremacy in the tech world and won­ders if Google’s “information-organizing” algorithm-driven busi­ness model can stand up to Facebook’s people-powered par­a­digm. “The Face­book Effect” shines a light on how far we’ve trav­eled these past six years, how fast things have changed and how we need to exam­ine with scrutiny the changes that are being foisted on us whether we like it or not." (http://www.socialmedia.biz/2010/09/03/here-comes-clay-shirkys-cognitive-surplus/)