It’s time for this week’s book. Last week on my trip to Chicago I read (listened to) the “Facebook Effect” by David Kirkpatrick and I really enjoyed it. After seeing the movie “The Social Network” it was a very good idea to learn more about the Facebook phenomenon through this book.
Cool, but definitely not truthful
I totally agree with Michael Arrington’s review of this book where he states that David is so much in love with Facebook that his objectivity is totally questionable and that his Facebook story sounds a lot like an authorized biography rather than a truthful narrative. I agree. But despite that, it’s still a great read.
The way great products are made - with passion
Although we can question Mark Zuckenberg’s (Facebook Founder) ethics when dealing with several individuals on his way to making Facebook what it is today, but it’s hard to question his passion for creating a great social network. Many other networks have tried and failed (Friendster, MySpace, Classmates, etc…) and the author of this book gives good reasons why they haven’t succeeded while Facebook has.
Mark’s continued passion and drive for creating great user experience for his users to make sharing their stuff (photos, info, thoughts, whatever) as easy as possible proved to be a great business model. He made lots of mistakes (and some very grave, too) on his way, but the goal remained the same.
This book gives great insights of how normal people vs industry experts perceived Facebook and Mark’s ideas. How he very often was thinking too much ahead and sometimes deciding he knew better what the users wanted… and all this despite criticism, backlash and name-calling by many. Mark’s vision stayed the same.
From a “crazy teenager prodigy” to a “global leader”.
Again, I don’t approve many of Mark’s moves and I question his ethics in many points of his career, yet I admire how this 19-year-old boy changed and grown up to become one of the leaders of today’s Internet era.
He took advantage of great opportunities that has been presented, like the fact that most companies CEOs wanted to talk to him. Despite his team disapproval and his hectic schedule, he always made time to meet with industry leaders and learn from them. This helped him build a network of mentors every business owner would wish to have.
Of course, as Facebook was getting bigger everyone wanted to him and he could’ve turned them down, but he didn’t - he kept on having meetings to learn from the best. He didn’t act like he knew everything. And he learned a lot. And it shows.
It’s hard to question Facebook’s success
Facebook became a de-facto standard for online communication and social life and it’s really hard to question that. What is a little scary is the fact that one company will know all about Internet users and will become their data hub. David even writes he believes that being on Facebook will be “automatic” in the future just like “being online” and that Facebook’s social graph will set the standard for our entire online communications. Let’s see how this develops.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Especially if you have hard time understanding the Facebook phenomenon or if you’re a startup/business owner and are up for some great inspirational lessons from Mark. Plus the Audio-version is read by the author (which I like) and adds a bonus of author’s interview with Mark’s sister, currently Facebook’s spokesperson and employee.