Becoming Facebook

The 10 Challenges That Defined the Company That's Disrupting the World

 Becoming Facebook

Author: Mike Hoefflinger
Pub Date: April 2017
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437964
Page Count: 256
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437971

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For many of its more than 1 billion daily users, life before Facebook seems unimaginable. The personalized News Feed is the first thing people check in the morning, and the lens through which they experience their day, tapping media reports, updates from friends, videos, celebrity musings, ads, and offers from local businesses.

A powerful vehicle for connecting the world, Facebook is unquestionably a game-changing company, but its success was never guaranteed. Its unprecedented rise depended on vision and conviction.

When Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard buddies created a social networking tool for college students, the experiment could have ended there. When Google attacked with its own social media platform, Facebook could have buckled. When Facebook’s IPO flopped in 2012, the company could have faded into obscurity. At each juncture, Zuckerberg and his team overcame obstacles and remade the company to be stronger, more durable, and more essential to people’s lives.

This is the story of Facebook’s hard-fought rise to prominence, told by an insider who played a key role through years of fierce competition, stumbles, and reinventions. Silicon Valley veteran Mike Hoefflinger worked alongside COO Sheryl Sandberg as an engineer turned marketing innovator. He relives the experience, identifying ten business challenges and lessons learned, including:

• How Zuckerberg knew that Yahoo’s $1 billion acquisition offer in 2006 was undervalued, though Facebook was still just a $20 million annual revenue company

• How Facebook turned around its troubled News Feed and created an indispensable tool for people’s daily lives

• What resulted when Facebook centered every aspect of business around its North Star Metric—engaged users

• Why the introduction of advertising into the News Feed created a democratizing element and lifted the company’s value to the stratosphere

• How smartphones catapulted Facebook into an era of infrastructure building, including software, hardware, networking, buildings, and energy

• How a “disrupt yourself” ethos propelled Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp, steeling the company to withstand competition

Becoming Facebook goes into the Menlo Park meeting rooms and coffee shops to profile its visionaries, tech gurus, and business mavens, including Chief Product Officer Chris Cox, People Vice President Lori Goler, and Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, as well as Sandberg and Zuckerberg.

Both a coming-of-age story and hard-hitting case study, Becoming Facebook looks back at the people, products, business decisions, and technology jumps that propelled Facebook to greatness, and offers glimpses at where the company will go in the future as it works to connect the world.

Mike Hoefflinger has 25 years’ experience in Silicon Valley. After working directly for Andy Grove and as general manager of the Intel Inside program, he moved to Facebook in 2009 to serve as Head of Global Business Marketing. During his nearly seven years with the social network, he helped dramatically grow its advertising business. He is now a Silicon Valley–based entrepreneur-in-residence at XSeed Capital.

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