To have an understanding of Facebook business strategy, it is essential to go back to Mark Zuckerberg‘s Founder’s Letter of 2012, to look at the key elements of Facebook‘s vision, mission, and key pillars.
It is important to notice that while Mark Zuckerberg emphasized this letter back in 2012, Facebook isn’t anymore one of the fastest growing tech startups. But one of the largest tech companies.
By default, I don’t think there is an intrinsically lousy business model. What might make it go awry is the scale of that model, and the fact that might relies too much on a single monetization strategy, even when it reaches a massive scale.
Let’s dive into the key elements of Facebook business strategy.
Facebook vision and mission
Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.
At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together…
…Even if our mission sounds big, it starts small — with the relationship between two people.
Facebook’s growth framework
In another part of the letter Mark Zuckerberg highlights another critical aspect, and also one thing that I try to stress over and over:
Most great people care primarily about building and being a part of great things, but they also want to make money.
Through the process of building a team — and also building a developer community, advertising market and investor base — I’ve developed a deep appreciation for how building a strong company with a strong economic engine and strong growth can be the best way to align many people to solve important problems.
Understanding the hacker way
The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.
It is important to remark that this hacker way was born in the software world, and it thrived in the digital economy. That’s because in the bits world, by definition, releasing something might carry a lower cost, when done at smaller scale.
However, as a company grows, and it acquires scale, it is vital that it moves away from a minimum viable product to an exceptional viable product.
Indeed, the hacker mindset it might be critical to challenge the status quo. But when you’ve become the status quo, the cost that a failed product might have on your brand might be greater than the benefits of iterating that product with its users.
That is also why in one way Facebook moved from “move fast and break things” to “move fast with stable infrastructure.” The cost of making mistakes increases exponentially with scale. And cleaning up after the mess created by a failure might be too large to deal with.
Conclusions and the pillars of Facebook’s business strategy
To conclude, Facebook business strategy pillars move around five key elements:
- Focus on impact
- Move fast
- Be bold
- Be open
- Build social value
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- The Advertising Economy: Inside Facebook Money-Making Machine
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