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Zuckerberg finds it's not easy to tame Facebook's growth path



When Mark Zuckerberg does not react to the latest scandal of his company, he actually tries to fix Facebook: he tries to focus his obsession with the growing users and the time they spend on Facebook, whether these users have good experiences on the platform. The problem is that he would prefer that the world does not know exactly how obsessed with these metrics his company is. And the world does not cooperate.

Facebook's growing enthusiasm goes back about ten years to create a team of hundreds of people to scientifically research and manage growth. Over time, growth goals played a large part in how many employees were paid.

The final graphic evidence of how deep this philosophy was embedded in Facebook's DNA came on Thursday when BuzzFeed received a 201

6 memo from Facebook VP Andrew Bosworth in the hands of one day after the shoot wrote Death of a Chicago man on Facebook Captured live. Bosworth called it "The Ugly," and he did not exaggerate.

"We often talk about the good and the bad of our work, I want to talk about the ugly," he begins. "We connect people, it can be good if they make it positive, maybe someone will find love, maybe even save someone's life on the verge of suicide, so we connect more people, which can be bad if they make it negative . " Maybe it will cost a lifetime to expose someone to a bully. Maybe somebody dies in a terrorist attack that is tuned to our tools. And yet we connect people. The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply together that we more people can connect more frequently de facto well, it may be the only area where the metrics tell the true story for us, we do not do that for ourselves. Or for our stock price (ha!) It's literally exactly what we do. We connect people. Period.

"That's why all the work we're doing is justified," he said. "All the questionable contact import practices, all the subtle language that helps people search for friends, all the work we do to create more communication, the work we're likely to do in China one day, all of it The natural state of the world is unconnected, it is not uniform, it is fragmented by borders, languages ​​and increasingly also by different products – the best products do not win, those that use all, win. "

On Thursday gave Bosworth made a statement on Twitter saying that he does not believe these comments today that he did not even believe them when he wrote the memo, but sent it provocatively to him. "Debating issues like this is a critical part of our process, and to do that effectively, we need to be able to take bad ideas into account." When asked on Twitter why he would ever send a memo, with When he disagreed, he replied, "This was one of the least popular things I have." We have always written internally, and the ensuing debate has helped to shape our tools for the better.

The following review led Zuckerberg to say: "Boz is a talented leader who says many provocative things. This was one that most people on Facebook, including myself, disagreed with. We never believed that the goals justify the means. We realize that it is not enough to connect people together. We also have to work to bring people closer together. We have changed our overall mission and corporate focus to the past year. "

But anyone who knows Facebook knows that many employees and executives thought so much for years – Zuckerberg and Facebook always did – they hated their ambitions – about a decade ago, as few of the company He and his troops concluded their weekly Friday All-Hands meeting with one word admonition: "Domination." The word grew as Facebook grew, this determination showed itself in dozens of other ways. For years, Facebook's default settings encouraged that Users, sometimes unknowingly, share more information than they might have preferred. Zuckerberg opened Facebook to application developers and gave them access to huge amounts of user data until they closed most of those access points in 2015. As part of Cambridge Analytica Scandals he said, Facebook would close even more of t

Most importantly, he was F acebook urged to think about user growth, not just as something that came from good marketing, but as something that could be scientifically studied and controlled, like a wall of dials in a machine room.

About 10 years ago, Facebook founded a team of engineers, product managers and quants whose sole job was to identify all the things that could convince users to spend time on Facebook and tell their friends about it. Facebook was proud of it, and soon its systematic growth approach was copied throughout Silicon Valley. It helped popularize the term "growth hackers" to describe the steps that marketers could use to increase their campaigns to reach more users.

When user growth on Facebook first exploded over 1 billion users and then over 2 billion users, the Growth Team was said to have grown by the hundreds. It has been widely known as one of the most powerful units within the company.

"They are like a SWAT team in the company," a former executive said last December. "They can use any product team that does not generate enough user interaction and say," Let's do that and do it to increase your numbers. "Everyone knows you will not resist them" because their leaders – originally Naomi Gleit and now Javier Olivan – are near Zuckerberg. There was also little incentive to resist: until recently, metrics such as user growth and time spent on the network were critical determinants of employee ratings and bonuses.

Everyone in the company will tell you that changing a company mission is one of the hardest things a leader, especially a founder, can do. You must discard the tried and tested approaches that you have brought there and use new unchecked ones. Zuckerberg is now learning exactly why it is so difficult.

Face the past


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