Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review of "Becoming Facebook: The 10 Challenges That Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World," by Michael Hoefflinger

Review of
Becoming Facebook: The 10 Challenges That Defined the Company That’s Disrupting the World, by Michael Hoefflinger ISBN 9780814437964

Five out of five stars
 While they are always interesting, books that document the history of the rise of a powerful technology company sometimes reach the point of elevating a founder to cult status. That is not the case with this book as it looks at Facebook and the founder and primary architect Mark Zuckerberg. Although it is clear that the success of Facebook is largely due to the vision of Zuckerberg and his willingness to consider the long haul, other people that were important in the development of the company are also given some ink. There are times when you read about Steve Jobs, the impression is that he did it all himself.
 The number of stories about the rants carried out by tech titans such as Jobs and Bill Gates are legendary in the literature, not so with Zuckerberg. While he is hard-nosed, there is little mention of him belittling or being verbally nasty to others working for Facebook.
 One of the most impressive characteristics of Zuckerberg is that he has become fluent in Mandarin to the point that he has lectured in Chinese to audiences in China. This is at a time when Facebook is almost totally banned from Chinese territory. This is behavior almost unheard of among American heads of companies, taking the time to learn about the cultures of the markets they hope to penetrate.
 This is a great book about one of the most powerful companies on the planet, one willing to spend whatever it takes to expand. Furthermore, unlike some other technology companies, Facebook still has room to grow, with massive populations still not wasting company time by accessing Facebook at work. In many ways it is clear that the smartest business person in America in the last twenty years was Zuckerberg. After reading this book it is hard to argue against that position.

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