Book Review: Becoming Facebook—The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World


Reading time ( words)

Becoming Facebook: The 10 Challenges that Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World
Author: Mike Hoefflinger
Amacon, 2018
Price $ 24.95

This book has everything you wanted to know about Facebook and were afraid to ask…well almost afraid to ask! Okay we’ll let’s start with those 10 challenges as described in the title of the book:

 

  1. Knowing whether your next thing is your last thing.
  2. Add by subtracting.
  3. Know your North Star Metric, Magic moment and core value.
  4. Everybody wins if you democratize something for customers of all sizes.
  5. Speed is a feature.
  6. Crossing the chasm is the best defense.
  7. Disrupt yourself before someone else does.
  8. Some long games are worth playing if you take care of business in the meantime.
  9. Employee engagement is everything. Fit to people’s strengths and ignore weaknesses.
  10. Care more.

As you can tell these are more guidelines than they are challenges, by which I mean they are the answers to challenges that Facebook has had to face over the years.

Besides being an excellent history book into one of the most fascinating companies in the world, it is also a great business book. Full disclosure, I wanted to read this book because I wanted to know the Facebook story. I did not expect any of the lessons in this book to apply to me and my own small business or the small businesses that I work with, but I was wrong. The book is filled with valuable lessons that can be applied to any company, no matter the size.       

Here are a few:

  • The value of self-disruption: If things are going okay with your company, it takes a great deal of courage to decide when you have to change things, especially if you are taking a risk that the change might not work or be for the better. It still must happen sometimes.
  • People: It’s all about the people, no matter how technology-driven a company is you still have to remember that any business, as in life, is people dealing with people. And when managing people, it is always better to figure out what they do best and work with that.
  • Not all investments in your company are good. Although the money might be tempting, especially when you really need it. But if the people offering to partner with you are out of alignment with you…only bad things will happen. Therefore, it is often better to move on.

If you want to know about Facebook, this is an excellent place to start. If you want to know about how a company grows to mega-size, this is a great story. If you just want to learn more about how to successfully run our business, surprisingly, this book will work for you as well.

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