This is a transcribed video for CS183B, the YC startup class at Stanford.
This is a reading for Alex Schultz's talk. Alex is the VP of Growth at Facebook. Facebook is hiring! https://www.facebook.com/careers
The transcript hasn't been cleaned up.
Chamath: I want some intro music from Ignacio. Where is Ignacio? First of all I was playing poker until really late last night so I’m a little rough around the edges. I got my slides to you at midnight. I was at the table doing the slides. I’ll just start with a little bit about myself. I’m actually going to give you a somewhat cynical view of this entire space of what it means to be a growth hacker. So don't be offended.
A little bit about me. I think Aaron just touched upon this. Actually, I graduated from EE and in the midst of trying to find my way I ended up working at an investment bank for a year trading derivatives. It was probably the most insipid idiotic use of my time. The biggest thing that I realized was that bankers are smart enough to be greedy but not smart enough to be useful.
So I quit and I applied to all these jobs online and I got one at Winamp accidentally. We actually build something really cool. But the thing that I learned at Winamp, and all of this ties together so I apologize the rambling, but we actually had one of the most important and early consumer platforms available, which was this set of abstractions that we had build to allow people to customize our product. You build skins, you build plugins, and what it actually did was start to refine my understanding of how when you develop things that appeal to specific sets of consumers you start to get this operational leverage in your product.
We were seven people. The things that we did as a seven-person group were pretty impressive back in the day. 100 million users is not as impressive as it is today as it was back then when the internet was a lot smaller but it was still quite an interesting product and really defined a lot of the characteristics of how I actually approached things when I was at Facebook. Winamp was acquired by AOL. At AOL I bumbled along into a bunch of different jobs and ultimately was able to a run AIM and ICQ which was the instant messaging product.
The takeaway from that were two things. One, and I'll get to this a little bit later, most people at most companies are really shit. That was manifested in large degree at AOL. I learned all the things not to do, one, and that was probably 90 percent of my learnings to be quite honest with you. Then 10 percent was reinforcing some things that I learned at Winamp which is really about core product value. What it means is create a real connection with someone. I think now we all euphemistically call it the “Aha” moment with the consumer. But also the power of how these communication networks when they develop create real entrenched usage and scale, and how these things can just dramatically accelerate adoption and engagement.
Then lastly I spent a bunch of time at Facebook. The Facebook story is actually really interesting and I'll tell it sort of interleave it as I go through the rest of slides. I spend most of my time investing and playing poker to be quite honest with you. Some of the big ones that I was fairly large stakeholder in Playdom, Yammmer which we sold for about two billion dollars in combined value. I’m a fairly large investor in Box, Palantir, and a bunch of very small companies now, some of which where I act as a cofounder, some of which I don’t.
A lot of people like to tell every return that they have on their blog. I don't blog or use the Twitter, but the track record here is pretty good. I'm a dad, I have two kids, another one on the way in January. I play a lot of poker and I own the Warriors. That’s what I mean, baller for all of you. For all you people don't use your open dictionary, just use this one, okay?
All right, so let’s talk about growth. Everyone asks me because this is like the topic du jour, it's what everyone wants to know, it’s like what was the secret, it's almost as if we’re the NSA and we've developed something and nobody knows, or some secret backroom negotiations between us and government. It's none of that shit. We did three really obvious brain dead things and the reality was we lacked enough self-awareness and ego to frankly just continue to do these very simple things over and over and over again, repetitively, monotonously to a point where every time we used to see things move in one direction or another we would either keep doing them or stop doing them and not second guess ourselves.
I tell people, “You know, look, we actually just looked at a lot of data, we measured a lot of stuff, we tested a lot of stuff, and we tried a lot of stuff.” Now that masks over a lot of more nuanced understanding but at an extremely high level that's really what we did. What's shocking to me is when I see a lot of products out there it’s unbelievable to me that people are trying to shroud products in this veneer of complexity that makes themselves seem like so good and so smart and, “I’m this fucking hipster,” and, “I’m riding the Muni in San Francisco,” and, “Look at my Oolong green tea that I bought organically,” and, “Look at these rip tight skinny jeans that I bought.”
It’s like you’ve got to get over yourself. Measure some shit. Try some shit. Test some more shit. Throw the stuff that doesn't work. It's not that complicated. I see app after app after app and I get inundated. When I download and I try them I’m like, “Did you even spend eight seconds using your own product?” It’s unbelievable the lack of dogfooding that happens.
So most people when they think about growth they think it’s this convoluted thing where you're trying to generate these extra normal behaviors in people. That's not what it's about. What it's about is a very simple elegant understanding of product value and consumer behavior. When you shroud yourself and all the bullshit veneer, and this is the single biggest problem in the valley today, you will miss the mark.
The problem is we're in this massive long tail where you've had these seminal huge successes occur and now you have all these people who have two choices and they’re extremely difficult choices. Choice number one is you do what you think is right, independent of what the external feedback tells you. Choice number two is you do what you read about, and what you get credit for, and what people tell you is interesting. That second-class of things destroys products and it destroys people's ability to build something interesting.
t doesn't matter how good you are at your job if that specific set of values isn’t imbued in what you're building. You will fail and it doesn't matter. Right now that is the one most important thing that if you’re going to leave away with this is just don't believe the hype and the bullshit that we're in right now.
How do we do this? We didn’t even come up with this framework. A guy worked for me. I’m not going to say who it is because I was literally like nine times I was going to fire this numb skull. Once he came to me and said, “Chamath at eBay we had this framework.” EBay, this is 2000. I’m like, “EBay, eBay sucks. What can I learn from eBay?” He said, “Well, we had this framework we used at eBay.” We tweaked it a little bit and what I realized was, “Oh my gosh, you know, there's this massive amount of complexity when expressed in simplicity can be extremely useful.”
The tweaks that we made, eBay is a different product and eBay now is a wonderful company doing really, really well. What? Come on, it’s doing really well. Was we created a framework in which we applied those three very simple principles of measuring, testing, and trying things. We said, “Okay, the biggest risk that we had is we’d alienate the people that trust us today and use the product.” When you alienate someone what happens is it's actually not palatable generally in top level metrics but there's just this extremely long tail.
Anecdotally you can look at companies, and not to pick on HP as an example, but you look at HP. You’re signaling me? 10 minutes? I have 10 minutes left? Jesus Christ, okay. You ask yourself. I know Meg Whitman. She's actually a really great CEO. So what happened? Well, there's no product innovation right now and we have to figure out where their growth comes from. When you trace that thing back it's a decision that was made maybe five or six years ago when it was all about cutting costs and optimizing for structure revenue. So you realize, “Okay, well that's the long tail. That's how long it takes these things to manifest.”
Similarly my biggest fear was we spam our users and we trick them and it will alienate these people. You won't see it today but you'll see in three years from now or four years from now, and it accelerates when you compound that with a competitor who actually builds a better product that doesn't alienate people. The most important thing that we did against our framework was I teased out virality and said you cannot do it. Don't talk about it. Don't touch it. I don't want you to give me any product plans that revolve around this idea of virality. I don’t want to hear it.
What I want to hear about is the three most difficult and hard problems that any consumer product has to deal with. How to get people on the front door? How to get them to an “Aha” moment as quickly as possible? And then how do you deliver core product value as often as possible? After all of that is said and done only then can you propose to me how you are going to get people to get more people. That single decision about not even allowing the conversation to revolve around this last thing in my opinion was the most important thing that we did.
When I look again in the landscape, things that scale understand that principle, whether it's explicitly or intuitively, and things that don't and also things that have this amazingly steep rise and then fall off a cliff and there are really visible examples of that today also ignore that principle. It’s the discipline to not optimize for the thing that gives you the shortest and most immediate ROI because that is never the sustainable thing that allows you to build something useful.
So when you boil that all up the most important two high-level takeaways that we had and after all of this stuff was we got to eliminate ego. Ego manifests itself every day. I talked about it earlier. It's the ego of basically living a lifestyle and a vision and like a Twitter stream than it is actually like living the life of an entrepreneur building good product and trying to deliver core product value. That takes ego, meaning you have to be comfortable not being rewarded in the short term.
Then the second is to invalidate all the lore. In any given product there's always people who strut around the office like, “You know, I have this gut feeling. It's all about gut feeling.” Most people with gut feeling are fucking morons. They don't know what they're talking about. They just don't. If we lived on gut feeling you can look at what happens when you live on gut feeling. Look at the financial markets, look at how government works, look at how all of these industries that are completely broken. Gut feel is not useful because most people can't predict correctly. We know this.
One of the most important things that we did was just invalidate all of the lore. As much as we didn't do stuff all we did was disprove all of the random anecdotal nonsense that filtered around the company. “Well I think it's this, and people are using it because of that, and I want do this.” It's like, “Where did you pull that out of?” You know where they pulled it out of. Again, you want to do it, to go back and reinforce a sense of ego.
A lot of people don't have a culture within a company that allows these two things to happen. If you can't be extremely clinical and extremely unemotionally detached from the thing that you're building you will make these massive mistakes and things won't grow because you don't understand what's happened.
It takes a really special type of person to not believe the bullshit, and an even more special person to not conflate luck and skill. You have to be, if you're in this type of job in my opinion, relatively cynical. You can be confident. Fuck, you can be arrogant, it doesn’t really matter. But you can't believe your own BS, because when you do you start to compound these massively structural mistakes that again don't expose core product value and then don't allow real engagement and real product value to emerge. You don't listen to consumers because you think it's all about your gut. You don't bother doing any of the traditional straightforward obvious things that would allow you to answer very straightforward obvious questions, and you lose yourself.
Most people unfortunately just don't know what they're talking about. I hate this letter. This letter is the dumbest letter in the alphabet. Y
ou people are doing more when you focus on this to ruin the internet for the entire human race. Don't talk about this anymore. Just stop. Talk about being in the weeds and not understanding what you're doing. There's no context when you talk about this. None whatsoever. You are spammers, and spamming is pathetic, and it ruins the experience. Don't do it.
We never talked about this once. It never came up once. I didn’t have some little guy tickling the ivories on his little Excel spreadsheet, telling me what k values were. Tell me how I’m acquiring people, tell me how we're doing getting them into their “Aha” moment, and tell me core engagement.
Don't give me these low-level abstractions that allow you to validate, get short term results in ROI that don't mean anything. Don't focus on things that destroy long term value. Don't give me stuff that allows you to trick yourself into thinking you know what you're talking about. I'd rather you say you don’t know and I'd rather us to figure stuff out together.
What I don't want to have happen is a culture where you take these short term things, you start working on it in the absence of context, and you have these meteoric rises and what you have is massive turn fall off and everyone's looking around with their hands in the pockets thinking, “Well, what just happened. I thought I was doing a really great job.” You're not doing a really great job. You optimized a variable. Now there maybe somebody on your team that should be doing that, but they should be doing that in the context of something much more important. So you destroy a lot of value when you abstract away that high-level goal to something so ridiculously stupid.
I’m raining on everybody's parade today. Core product value is really allusive and most products don’t have any. I actually fundamentally believe that. But I also believe that most products can have some value. So when you put those two things together, again you go back to the discipline of do you really know what your building and why? Do you really understand how to marry things that maybe non intuitive for people, but really are the important things that people need?
I remember when we were launching in Asia. We created a team. The history of Facebook just very quickly. I started Facebook. My team launched Facebook platform, huge success. Then we do this big deal with Microsoft, we raise a huge round. At the tail end of that around it’s like, “Oh, we're going to launch a bunch of ad products to validate this valuation, and we're going to do all this stuff.” My team goes out and we built three products.
Again, talk about conflating luck and skill. I had all these people, all of our best guys working on this product with me which we called Socialize and [Beak 17:15]. Then we had another thing doing sponsored stories, and then we had another team focused on an online self-service ad product. Most of the resources in mindshare, none of the resources in mindshare. Eight people our best engineers, product managers two people.
Fast-forward to today, all of the revenue, billions of dollars, scaling inordinately, lawsuits. FTC suing us. People telling me on the New York Times I lied about how cross-site scripting worked. I’m not going to lie about cross-site scripting to the New York Times. New York Times, okay, guy, I mean really? That’s I’m going to lie to you guys about? So stupid. It just goes to show you at that point we were seeing this what looked like monotonically negative growth and we're like, “Oh my god, what's happening?” That’s like 25, 30 million people. We came up with this idea, “Okay, we're going to focus on growth.” We went created a team.
As part of that we said, “We're going to internationalize, we're going to launch, and we're just going to go everywhere all over the world.” Again, we dogfooded our own product and we used Facebook platform to create this crowdsourcing translation which was really successful. But long story short we get to Japan, Korea, and it's a constant refrain. I go around the valley. I talk to some folks who have done this before, the guys at Yahoo, the guys at Google, the guys at eBay, just to get a sense of how did you think about it. All these people had the same answer. “Well, we take these MBA's who really want to live on an expat package and we send them out there.” You're just like, “Okay, well that’s not the right answer.”
First thing we did was we hired only native people in those native markets. I had these guys trying to be, “I have an MBA from Harvard. You know, I really want to spend time.” I’m like, “Get the fuck out of my office. Go to ba.com buy a ticket, get out of my face. You're not going to travel on the company dime.”
But you hire all these people natively. We had this amazing guy that we hired in Japan. [Inaudible 19:11] said, “You know, it's really important to actually have specific elements of the profile be different because in Japan the culture dynamic is different.” We said, “Well, what does that mean to you?” He said, “Well maybe it means you know, putting your blood type on the profile.” You're like, “That makes no sense.”
But it makes no sense to us. But it makes sense to him. So we developed this flexibility where were like, “Okay, well, maybe the connections we’re trying to make in that market are a little too allusive.” This product that worked here just didn't have any context here. You would say, “Well, Facebook has clear product value,” but in Japan at the time it didn’t.
So having the courage to reset and redefine what it means in any given market again takes a lot of courage. We did it, and now it's massively scaling. Then all of the sudden the light bulb goes off and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, it's like we don't know what we don't know.” In every single market people react differently, they behave differently, they speak different languages. Guess what, Spanish is not Spanish. Maybe they know that. Five minutes. I got it. I’m on it.
The point is even when you think something works it probably doesn't work for everyone, and finding a framework that allows you to actually restructure and reorganize the
things that you're doing to expose value in different ways to different people in different situations is an extremely important thing. Again, it goes back to how do you live in a world where you’re willing to redefine and reset the things that are independent of what the short term feedback loop is telling you. It’s a very difficult proposition.
We knew we were going to beat MySpace when we had 45 million users. They had 115 million. We just knew. We used to just like, “That was not what we celebrated.” We celebrated at 45 million. It was like a high five. We’re like, “All right, let's get back to work.” The reason was because we had started to do enough things right where we could just see now we understood what we're doing. After all the testing, all the iterating, all of this stuff, you know what the single biggest thing we realized? Get any individual to seven friends in 10 days. That was it. You want a keystone? That was our keystone. There's not much more complexity than that.
There’s an entire team now, hundreds of people that have helped ramp this product to a billion users based on that one simple rule. So if you were looking for a lot of complexity I couldn’t give it to you. But we were able to reframe the entire experience around that one simple premise, a very simple elegant statement of what it was to both capture core product value, to define what it meant to be able to onboard into a product that allowed you to communicate, to get into a network, to find density, and then to basically iterate around that.
Then what we did at that company was we talked about nothing else. Every Q&A, every all hands nothing was spoken about other than this. Monetization didn't really come up. Platform came up but again in a secondary or tertiary context. But it was the single sole focus. But because we had defined it in this very elegant way that expressed it as a function of product value it was something that everyone could intrinsically wrap their arms around.
Again another reason why focusing on abstracting growth down to these low-level things is not right. The person that runs growth on any team has to be strategic and capable enough to engage on the core strategy of the product. Because then you allow yourself to up level the conversation and have it become the most important framework in which you organized an entire company, how equity is given, how expenses are generated, how things are focused on, who gets hired, who gets fired.
But when you understand core product value and then you could basically pivot around it and create these loops that expose that over and over and over again this becomes the most important and obvious thing to do. In the few companies that I help now with this context, when they do that and when it's the CEO or when it’s the cofounder who are living in that world and living in this context they've consistently systematically every single one has been successful, every single one of them.
I've also meet a lot of people who ask all these questions. They’re like, “Hey, I’d love to really …” I meet them and they’re kind of d-bags. They're like way too quantish and way too passive aggressive and
a little agro. It reminds me of something that's actually again a lot more important than the short term ability for people to focus on short term results, which is in this battle between culture and capability culture wins every time. What you value is really what you achieve. So when you see these companies again today that had these massive apexes like rocket ship growth and now some are public and now are going through just unbelievable wrenching, gut-wrenching change, negative spiraling turn downwards, what you realize is that's not a growth problem, although it seems numerically a growth problem. What that is is a product value and culture problem.
When you're focused on again K K K K K K K. Well, not KKK but you get the point. Another reason why K sucks, right? I mean use it three times you're racist, like Jesus. But the point is that's the type of stop that always comes back and it gets you. To short term optimization it never works. You have to work backwards from what is the thing that people are here to do, what is the “Aha” moment that they want? Why cannot they give that to them as fast as possible? Measuring that in days is unrealistic. Measuring it in hours is unrealistic. Measuring it in minutes is necessary but not sufficient. But like, “How do you get that to seconds? How do you get that to hundreds of milliseconds?” That's how you win.
If you even can’t understand what the thing does optimizing all of this stuff over time I think it just creates these really bad crappy companies that all they do is just spam and destroy the internet for everybody else.
To this end this is really what I want to leave you with, which is you probably expected a bunch of formulas and stuff. You have to really understand this. Go back to that first slide, detached, egoless, focused on what's important, not living the hype, not trying to follow some lifestyle, but doing what you think is important, focusing on core value, ruthlessly prioritizing, and getting people who believe in these things. These are the values that we originally wrote in terms of how we recruit.
Again, it may seem like a crazy thing but for all the CEOs here all of you people should be writing this down. This is how you should recruit. It worked for us. I give this to every single company I invest in. It works for most of them. These are things that in my mind are so obvious, blindingly glaringly obvious. People make mistakes around these things all the time.
A very high IQ, self-explanatory, a strong sense of purpose are people that will not buckle under short term pressure, a relentless focus on success just so competitive that you will do whatever it takes to win, aggressive and competitive people who always respect the person but constantly challenge the idea, a high quality bar that borders on perfectionism, just nothing is ever good, you win, something improves by 10 basis points, now it needs to improve by 20 basis points, now it needs to improve by a percent. That living in that world is just a really great dynamic. People who are comfortable taking something that works and saying it doesn't work here unless just reset start again. It just takes a lot of courage.
When that guy came to me Japan and said, “Hey, I think we need to introduce a blood type,” or our team in Korea came with a bunch of different ideas, or our team in India came up with this really clever way of engaging with Facebook over a phone, you have to be willing to take yourself out of your own biases and find people who are willing to come up with things that again are unconventional, another reason why you can't live in the bubble that is the valley.
There are too many problems and too many products that are focused on solving the needs of the one percent of the one percent that live here. The reality is there are seven billion people in the world. Most have never even used the PC. Most are coming straight into a world of phones. They’re living in entirely different context, they have completely different socio-economic paradigms, and you have to be able to be sensitive enough to empathize with where they're coming from.
High integrity I think speaks for itself. It's really easy to focus on short term results. I just don't think there's enough of the long term thinking, being able to take some arrows along the way in the short term because you're trying to build something for the long term, and having a culture and set of values where that’s rewarded.
A perfect example of this is LinkedIn. Reid Hoffman is an extremely good friend of mine. That is an unbelievable company, built over 10 years 11 years of just working, working, working. Friendster comes out of nowhere. We didn't panic. MySpace comes out of nowhere. We didn't panic. Facebook came out of nowhere. We didn’t panic. Just built a great product, we just kept working and working, did not take the short easy way out. You have to respect that because when those guys win they win and they win in scale and they win for a long time.
Surround yourself with good people seems obvious but I see a lot of people who are just not comfortable recruiting people that are better than them. The best thing that I did was recruit four people to my team. My original growth team was James Wang, who was the engineering lead on Facebook platform, Naomi Gleit who was the most tenured employee at Facebook and one of our best product managers, Alex Schultz who is this unbelievable crazy growth guy, and Javier Olivan who ran International for me, and Blake Ross who’s the product manager and also founded FireFox. All of these guys were dramatically better than I was. All I did was enable a framework and create discipline, and they all thrived. The great thing when I left was didn’t miss a beat. That’s really, really a good sign.
Then the last thing is cares about building real value over perception. I like Oolong green tea as much as the next guy. It doesn't make anything happen. I like skinny jeans too, more on girls than guys but whatever. It doesn’t mean anything. Right now we're living in a world where you can get distracted by things that don't matter and the superficiality of how you think things should be done versus the things that need to get done. That takes a lot of courage.
I think my time is up. Thank you. I’m happy to take questions.
Speaker 2: We have a few minutes for questions. We're trying our new approach here of Tweeting questions. One of the first ones we have is what was it about Instagram that made it worth one billion dollars to Facebook?
Chamath: I'll give you my opinion. Again, as a person that's not involved but was there. Again, when you talk about core product value at Facebook one of the key things that it got right or it understood was the connectivity around, you being able to associate your friends in social situations. The simplest manifestation of that was in photos. When we launched our photo feature it literally was just explosive growth. Here it is where in many ways it is the atomic unit of how Facebook gets organized. As much as people are in atomic units it's almost even more important in the sense that it’s even more element ...
All that is great. Facebook is generating billions and billions of photos a day. All of a sudden along comes this company who does the equivalent thing in a slightly different paradigm, a looser privacy model, but all on mobile, and in a context where people enjoy consuming the content as much as they enjoy consuming the photos on Facebook.
From my perspective is both defensive and offensive. From the defensive perspective it locks in that core tenant of behavior and product value that it’s essential and the element of building blocks on which everything else on Facebook is built on top of. Offensively it gets you into a place where now you have this flanker strategy where you have your main product getting more and more usage and getting more and more entrenched and creating this fertile ground all over the world on phones, and you have this unbelievable product specific application that does the same thing. Now you both can go and thrive.
But it was a combination in my opinion of the offensive capability of what it gave Facebook as a tool in its arsenal and defensively protecting its core element that if all of the sudden that behavior seeded someplace else and photo activities started to be generated and stayed in another environment I think it's very problematic for Facebook. Or would’ve been, but I don't think is it.
Speaker 2: All right, actually anyone else with a new tweet question? Everyone's busy quoting you Chamath so lots of good quotes today.
Chamath: I don’t use the Twitter but I'll make sure …
Speaker 2: We have time for one more if someone wants to … We’re waiting for an update here.
Audience: [Inaudible 33:14]
Chamath: Well it actually … No, that that's exactly right. So it started with invalidating lore. We had all of these anecdotes about how people thought the side worked, and part of me, it’s just the cynical part of me which is like I just like proving people wrong, especially when I know they don’t know what they're talking about. For the first six months it was like we were just going to instrument something and just prove people wrong because the best thing is what they do is a shut up. Then actually the next time they speak they try to know what they're talking about, which generally culturally is just a very good thing.
In that process we’re like, “Oh my gosh, there's these weird things that are happening.” You rinse and repeat through all these cohorts and you're like, “Why did these people get into a certain space and are now fully engaged and ramped-up and have these vibrant networks, and these people didn’t?” We just tried enough things where we were able to back into that axiom being the definitive thing that defined how things work for us. But for you it's going to be different. But it started.
I mean if I have to give you a framework it would probably be you’ve got to start with a broad cross-section of engaged users and when you work backwards from each of those and you are smart enough and clever enough to really figure out the different pathways in which they got to that place you can probably tease out what those simple things are, and then hopefully, I think most products are structured this way, you can then path people, more and more of those people into those same clip flows that allow them to get to that state.
But again it starts with looking at an engaged user, not just thinking about how many emails can I send and how do I trick everyone to click on a select dollar and not unselected the selected dollar. No offence, we did that too, but I mean we did that after we figured that shit out.
Speaker 2: Okay we’ll take one last question.
Audience: [Inaudible 35:14]
Chamath: Look, the best thing that happened is I'm not American, I'm Canadian. But even I’m not even really Canadian. Well, I am Canadian but I was born in Sri Lanka. I like, I love America and everything that is given to me, but I'm pretty cynical about the imperialistic nonsense of a lot of Americans and how Americans treat their place in the world to be quite honest with you.
My mental worldview I think was one where that combined with the feedback that I got from all these big companies like, “Well, you know, I have this really great, you know, MBA, JD guy that, you know,” and it's just like, he was like, “Well, how is this whitey going to fucking figure out Korea?” No offense but Korea is going to figure out Korea before. You know what I'm saying? This guy is, “Hey, guys, we’re coming here to take over.” It’s like, “Really? That's crazy. That’s just absolutely crazy.” I was just like, “Let’s just hire some really smart awesome young Korean lady,” and she's kicking ass. Then it’s like, “Let’s do the same thing in Japan, let’s do the same thing in Brazil, let’s do the same thing …” It's not complicated. That’s not so hard, and then just listen to them and let them try.
We had culture fortunately of experimenting and trying at ton of stuff and we celebrated failure more than we really celebrated success. We would celebrate these massive landmark milestones, 100 million, 250 million, 500 million, and even one billion, but one billion was like how do I call [inaudible 36:44].
The growth team had a dinner here at Madera. We all got together, the original team and had a quiet celebration. We are more interested in just trying stuff and learning. Then it was just a matter of having
different people willing to try different stuff in their own markets and then us being able to give them a framework where we said, “Look, 99 percent of things can’t change but you have this one percent flexibility and if you need more justify it.” That was a good interplay. But it's was just part of my worldview. America's great but there's a lot of great people and a lot of great countries too.
Audience: [Inaudible 37:22]
Chamath: I think those frameworks, the great thing is we had to build all of our stuff ourselves. You don’t have to do that anymore. For you guys like even something as simple as like … Our ability to AB test was just a convoluted mess. For you it’s like [inaudible 37:48]. You can’t even you do it yourself just go use optimizing. Or now there's like 19,000 gazillion Hadoop companies and Hive companies out there. There was none when we were doing this stuff. We were rolling our own stuff constantly. We just had a lot of delays that you don’t have to suffer from.
That abstraction allows you to free up resources that you can allocate in different places. But again, it comes back to the discipline of like is the senior manager of the company fixated on a goal and then giving flexibility to someone who has the political capital and the patience and the resolve to get there, and then the ability to question and understand really what's happening in their product?
The other thing is a lot of this credit goes to Zuck because he managed the board and all of the people around so that it's like we're doing this. Do you know what I’m saying? Sometimes it's like … We had a very functional useful board. A lot of times boards can maybe distract CEOs as well. “Well focus on this and focus on that.” Then they come down they shout for the mountain tops, “Hey, we’re going to do this.” Then when it gets filtered down to an individual person what they hear is, “KKK KKK.” I think that's where you lose your stride.
Speaker 2: All right, thank you guys. Thank you Chamath. Thank you. A round of applause.