Careers at Facebook
For its users, Facebook's mission is to provide an online platform where they may share their lives and interact with friends and family. Through this, Facebook seeks to create a more open and connected world and to maintain its status as the world's largest social network.
For the advertising partners, Facebook's mission is to offer advertising with increased rates of user response by targeting its users with adverts that are directly relevant to their individual interests.
In 2003, Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard sophomore with a talent for programming. Among his earliest projects was facemash, a service that enabled Harvard students to rate each others' physical attractiveness.
It was soon closed down because he had acquired all the pictures on the facemash database through illicitly hacking into Harvard's id database. Despite this ignominy, facemash was a minor success, attracting 450 visitors, and 22,000 photo views within its first four hours online, causing quite a buzz on campus. It became clear that Zuckerberg had a gift for designing web services that people could get excited about, and he soon turned his talents to the development of less controversial products, eventually releasing “thefacebook.com” the following year.
Originally just for Harvard students, it proved much more successful than facemash. The site grew rapidly by word-of-mouth, with over half of all the university's undergraduates signing up within a month. Although he had not invented the idea of the social network, with sites like MySpace already enjoying substantial popularity, people seemed to be drawn to thefacebook's elegant and user-friendly design. Zuckerberg realised his idea had potential, and he knew that if he could expand his user base, then the advertising revenue could be vast.
To assist thefacebook's expansion, he brought on board some of his roommates. Eduardo Saverin would manage the business-end of things, while Dustin Moskovitz would assist with programming. Andrew McCollum offered his graphic design skills to the project, while Chris Hughes would help with promotion. The site quickly grew to offer its services at most universities in North America.
In June 2004, Zuckerberg and his partners dropped out of Harvard and moved to Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. Sean Parker, a tech-entrepeneur who founded Napster, had mentored Zuckerberg through the early stages and was appointed the company's first president.
In the course of the next year, thefacebook became simply “Facebook”, and broadened its membership eligibility to include employees of a number of large tech companies. It quickly acquired millions of dollars in investment from some high profile entrepreneurs and venture capital firms, including Jim Breyer of Breyer Capital, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, and Accel Partners.
In late 2006, Facebook broadened their customer base by opening to the general public. Now, anyone could have an account, not just students and tech employees. Within a year, Facebook received $240 million in investment from Microsoft, and had an estimated value of $15 billion. By 2009 Facebook was finally turning a profit and was the most used social network in the world.
Growth, in both number of users and investment, continued exponentially, as Facebook established itself as not only a world-famous brand, but an integral part of millions of peoples' lives around the world. Facebook owed its success to its constantly growing and highly dedicated user-base, many of whom would log-in to facebook every day.
By 2010, before becoming a publicly traded company, Facebook was estimated to be the third largest American internet business, beating eBay but ranking behind Google and Amazon. By the end of 2011, Facebook was behind only Google as the second most accessed website in the world.
2012 saw Facebook finally go public, with an initial stock offering in January, and trading on the NASDAQ commencing in May. With an estimated valuation of $104 billion, Facebook smashed all records to become the most valuable newly listed public company in history.
By October 2012, Facebook could boast a billion monthly users, a growing number of whom were accessing it through the Facebook mobile app.
Facebook has engaged in a huge number of acquisitions as it has grown. As Facebook's growth has slowed in recent years from its initial meteoric rise, some of these acquisitions, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, have exhibited much higher levels of growth than their parent company.
Benefits at Facebook
Business model of Facebook
Facebook depends on three customer segments: internet users, developers, and advertisers.
Facebook has over a billion monthly users whose traffic drives their advertising revenue. These users value Facebook as a convenient platform on which to interact with friends and family. Increasingly, users also use Facebook as a source for news.
For advertisers, Facebook is a valuable partner because they can offer more reach, social context and an increased chance of advert engagement than most other channels of advertising. This is because Facebook has a lot of data about their users and they have developed algorithms that use this data to target individual users with adverts that they are more likely to engage with.
Developers are drawn to Facebook because it offers tools and APIs which can be easily integrated into the site, making it an ideal platform for apps and platform-integrated websites. Facebook also provides an easy to use payment system to ensure developers may profit from their work.
Regular Facebook users access the site through two main channels. Web browsers and phone apps.
Facebook provides a key advertising channel for innumerable businesses who pay to have their ads targeted at users of the site.
Marketers on Facebook may also use the website to set up pages and run advertising campaigns to promote their products.
Channels available for developers seeking to integrate their products into Facebook include a number of tools and APIs provided by Facebook.
To maintain a good relationship with regular users, Facebook tries to ensure that the platform is as secure, customizable and reliable as possible. They continually introduce new features to improve the user experience and allow users some control of their privacy settings so the user feels in control of their data.
The precise legal details of the relationship Facebook has with its customers and the rights Facebook has over the data they collect from them are outlined in privacy and data policies available on the website. Users tacitly agree to these policies by using the site.
Facebook invests heavily in continually updating the platform, hiring large teams of developers to regularly offer new features such as voice chat and personalized time-lines.
Facebook has massive computing needs to host the gigantic amounts of photos and videos its users store on their profiles. Facebook therefore invests heavily in the data centers used to that.
Facebook has partnered with many other web companies such as Hulu, Netflix and media outlets such as the Washington Post so that these sites' content may be integrated on the Facebook platform.
One key resources is the Facebook platform itself. Over the years Facebook has invested a lot in hiring large numbers of world-class software engineers to build their platform and it remains a valuable resource.
Technological infrastructure is another key resource. Facebook's data centers house several hundred petabytes of data, and this is only a part of Facebook's growing sophisticated and expensive technological infrastructure.
Another key resource is the Facebook user base. Facebook harvests data from its users in order to better target them with adverts. The userbase is, therefore, a key resource in and of itself. Facebook has a massive 1.7 billion users so this is not a resource to be underestimated.
Facebook spends large amounts of money on maintaining its massive data centers, and on the development of new services to add to its platform.
They also spend substantially on marketing and sales teams, who comprise a large portion of their 12,000 employees globally.
Facebook makes in excess of 80% of its profit from ad revenues, but an increasing amount comes from payment revenues received from third party developers.
info: After some early forays into web programming from his Harvard dorm, Mark Zuckerberg dropped out during his sophomore year to found Facebook in 2004. He became a millionaire at 22 and a billionaire at 23. He currently retains a 24% stake in Facebook, is worth an estimated $54.9 billion and is thought to be the fifth richest person on the planet. He has pledged to eventually donate 99% of his shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation – a non-profit organization he founded with his wife dedicated to “advancing human potential and increasing equality”. As of 2016, Zuckerberg personally holds majority voting control over the board. There has been speculation as to how long it will remain a founder-controlled company.
info: After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, Sheryl Sandberg held various management consultancy roles before joining Google in 2001 where she was Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations. She has been Facebook's COO since 2008, and has been instrumental in overseeing the site's transformation from a hugely popular site to a hugely profitable one.
info: David holds a Masters in applied physics from Stanford and held various roles at Monitor Group and Hambert & Quist before joining Facebook in 2012 as Vice-President.
info: After earning his Masters in Computer Science from Stanford, Mike Schroepfer built his name as a software architect working for CentreRun and Sun Microsystems, before becoming Vice President of engineering at Mozilla. Since 2008 he has worked at Facebook, serving as Vice President of engineering before assuming his current role.
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