Sunday, October 4, 2009

VentureBeat Explores Changes at Facebook

A new story in VentureBeat looks behind the scenes at Facebook and recent decisions by its chief, Mark Zuckerberg. The article by Matt Marshall considers whether all the leadership changes at Facebook reflect chaos or a maturing enterprise (and a maturing 25-year-old billionaire CEO).

Among the juicier nuggets:
If you look closely enough at Facebook, for all the chaos that still reigns at the company amid the frantic product launches, there is emerging a paradoxical appreciation for order and process. The company’s new digs exemplify this: Zuckerberg has placed his desk at the geometric center of the new building — located at the shortest walking distance form any point in the building.
Despite the signs of Zuckerberg’s personal development, insiders say he has always displayed qualities that make him a leader. He is relentlessly competitive. Last month, he and other engineers challenged each other to do 5,000 pushups in a week. Zuckerberg vowed he could do it, but others doubted him, placing 30-to-1 odds against it. ... Zuckerberg insisted the goal was easily attainable. He took regular breaks throughout the day to do 10-15 pushups, even if he was in the middle of a meeting with visitors. He completed the 5,000.
Recently I had a chance to read "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook - A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal" by Ben Mezrich. It echoes many of the observations in the VentureBeat article, especially Zuckerberg's unpredictable yet mercurial nature. Although less insightful than I had hoped (lack of access to Zuckerberg being the primary shortcoming) it's a fast read and interesting enough to recommend to students in my Media & Society class.


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