Make money to build better services, the hacker way

So Facebook is hitting the headlines again – for good reasons: 800+ million active users, USD 3.7 billion in revenue. And growing! In eight years! The Internet is a fantastic fertilizer. However, it’s just a fertilizer. At the core of Mark Zuckerberg’s and the Facebook organization’s success is a culture and process that made those results possible, as Eric Ries points out. At Facebook they don’t build services to make money; but make money to build better services – and they refer to the internal approach to continuous improvement and iteration as ‘The Hacker Way’.

Facebook’s S-1 filing states that…

“… hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done…

Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once. To support this, we have built a testing framework that at any given time can try out thousands of versions of Facebook. We have the words “Done is better than perfect” painted on our walls to remind ourselves to always keep shipping.

Hacking is also an inherently hands-on and active discipline. Instead of debating for days whether a new idea is possible or what the best way to build something is, hackers would rather just prototype something and see what works. There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments.”

Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”

Facebook have distilled these principles into five core values for how to operate:

“Focus on Impact: If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems.

Move Fast: Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they’re more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly.

Be Bold: Building great things means taking risks.

Be Open: We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact.

Build Social Value: Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company.”

See Facebook’s S-1 filing.