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Facebook S1 - Love

After reading Facebook's S1 registration statement with the SEC for their IPO,  I gotta say, this is one inspiring piece of document, guaranteed to become a cult for selling a culture and a motive for existence from any entrepreneur and company. In Twitter Dave McClure (@davemcclure), from 500 Startups, wrote:

Dear @FacebookS1: if I pressed my body next 2 ur disclaimer, would u hold it against me?

.... I thought it was pretty funny, and I feel the same. I've read this SEC S1 filing a few times already and it is not only brilliant and detailed, but also inspiring and a public eye opener to the culture Mark Zuckerberg has created in Facebook. Many pieces of this document sit right next to the Think Different commercial, and Steve Job's Stanford Commencement Address.

Some of my favorite quotes in the text:

Done is better than perfect

The riskiest thing is to take no risks

There’s a hacker mantra that you’ll hear a lot around Facebook offices: “Code wins arguments

Inspiring, humble, amazing, ambitious, quality, values, and many other words come to mind when reading the text.

Time will tell, but I bet this document will be remembered for decades to come. The bar was raised.

Read on an excerpt of Mark's remarks:

 

"Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.

And we think this is a good way to build something. These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits.

By focusing on our mission and building great services, we believe we will create the most value for our shareholders and partners over the long term — and this in turn will enable us to keep attracting the best people and building more great services. We don’t wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money, but we understand that the best way to achieve our mission is to build a strong and valuable company.

This is how we think about our IPO as well. We’re going public for our employees and our investors. We made a commitment to them when we gave them equity that we’d work hard to make it worth a lot and make it liquid, and this IPO is fulfilling our commitment. As we become a public company, we’re making a similar commitment to our new investors and we will work just as hard to fulfill it.

The Hacker Way

As part of building a strong company, we work hard at making Facebook the best place for great people to have a big impact on the world and learn from other great people. We have cultivated a unique culture and management approach that we call the Hacker Way.

The word “hacker” has an unfairly negative connotation from being portrayed in the media as people who break into computers. In reality, hacking just means building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done. Like most things, it can be used for good or bad, but the vast majority of hackers I’ve met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

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.

To encourage this approach, every few months we have a hackathon, where everyone builds prototypes for new ideas they have. At the end, the whole team gets together and looks at everything that has been built. Many of our most successful products came out of hackathons, including Timeline, chat, video, our mobile development framework and some of our most important infrastructure like the HipHop compiler.

To make sure all our engineers share this approach, we require all new engineers — even managers whose primary job will not be to write code — to go through a program called Bootcamp where they learn our codebase, our tools and our approach. There are a lot of folks in the industry who manage engineers and don’t want to code themselves, but the type of hands-on people we’re looking for are willing and able to go through Bootcamp.

The examples above all relate to engineering, but we have distilled these principles into five core values for how we run Facebook:

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. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.

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. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.

Be Bold

Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

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. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.

Build Social Value

Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. We believe that we have an opportunity to have an important impact on the world and build a lasting company in the process. I look forward to building something great together."

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One word WOW.

 

 

 

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Remembering Dennis Ritchie (RIP)

I discovered just today (01/26/2012) that Dennis Ritchie, one of the more prominent figures in computing, died. How was this possible, the news of the passing of such an important personality in the computer science community went silent for almost 4 months? The media barely covered his death, they something that stunned the world, just the same day: Steve Job’s death. The world is guilty of not showing their respects, just as it did with Steve Jobs. I wanted to write something to acknowledge Dennis Ritchie. Just as Steve change my life for being a believer, a visionary and a leader, Ritchie change it to create the science that supports almost everything I do (and even what Steve did). That’s a tall order to fill up, the word everything is BIG, so let’s check out some of his accomplishments:

  1. Creator of the C programming language. That along earns it quite an array of accolades and influence. Here are some ripple effects of this creation:
    • Without C, there is no C++
    • Without C, there is no Objective C
    • Without C, there no Unit OS, or Windows OS. No Linux, no Symbian, OSX, or iOS. Without these, there would be no Nokias, no Blackberries, no Androids, no iPhones or iPads.
    • Thanks to C, the words ‘programmer’ and ‘software developer’ became ubiquitous in society
  2. Because of C, software engineering and programming was made accessible to the masses, and became a ‘popular’ career path in university programs.
  3. Created the generic operating systems theory that supports the fundamental concepts of all modern operating systems.
  4. Implemented the UNIX OS. Again the ripple effects of this accomplishment are too much to list here.
  5. Author of “The C Programming Language,” also known as “K. & R.”, standing for Kernighan and Ritchie.
  6. Awarded the Turing Award in 1983 for his enormous contributions in the fields of computing and operating systems. The Turing Award is the highest distinction given to a human being for their contribution to the field of Computer Science.

His accomplishments were the foundation to the technology revolution we experienced in the last decades. The gigantic footprint Dennis Ritchie left in the world are in my modest opinion, far-reaching, transformational and revolutionary than anyone that left this world in 2011. He was certainly not the most charismatic and public person in the world, so the media didn’t like him as much as Steve.

This is image is trending today… for some reason 4 months after Ritchie died.

Here is another article making another side by side contribution.

I have nothing but great respect for both of these men. Without their dents in the universe, my life would have been a much different one. If you think Dennis Ritchie deserves your respect, share this with your friends, and let the world know that 2011 was the year when we lost two very important figures, and not just one.

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2011 Quick Personal Re-cap

A quick re-cap to my 2011 year, where I :
  • Finished a SharePoint Masters program (my good wife reminds me I finished in Jan 2010, not 2011)
  • Moved back to Florida (from NY)
  • Moved houses/apartments 3 times (Port Washington, NY -> Pompano Beach, FL -> Fort Lauderdale, FL).
  • Found a great place to live (Las Olas Blvd in Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  • Changed jobs 3 times
  • Co-founded Advise.me
  • Went to TechCrunch Disrupt and launched Advise.me
  • Went back to school again in FL (Barry University)
  • Visited Austin Texas for the first time, and reconnected with some good old friends.
  • Founded Ninut
  • Started working on an exciting new product with the Ninut Team.
  • Visited Peru for the first time, my wife's homeland. I got to visit one of the 7 wonders of the modern world, Machu Picchu, and got to know all of Vanessa's family and friends.

A wild year, but I wouldn't change it one bit. Every experience was learning fuel to keep me going and do it better on the next round. I'm ready for a 2012 full of challenges. I'm very excited about the future of Ninut, the product and the team. I can feel it; 2012 will be an awesome year!

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Entrepreneurial Talks: Lean Startup

At the very fabric of Ninut and the products we build, the Lean Startup mentality is the practice we embrace. Transparent, user-validated experiences that allow us to build only the things you really want, and have very quick turnarounds. Joe has been super active in his blogging lately and I have some catch up to do :P

The team is building, we are in the zone, and the public may have the opportunity to play around in our backyard very very soon.

In the meantime, here is a complementary video to THIS POST on Joe's blog (super funny), continuing with the theme of our experience as entrepreneurs trying to 'put a ding in the universe'.

The video is about a conference Eric Ries gave where he's evangelizing the Lean Startup Movement (#leanstartup) at Stanford University, what it is and why Lean is so AWESOME. Check it out!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGXAVw3vF9A&w=420&h=315]

Here is a more recent one:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tYhotTwkjU&w=560&h=315]

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What wakes us up every morning...

This is an excellent video about people, about companies and about the relationship and motivation that makes people wake up every morning to go to work. Many of these concepts are touched by various personalities like Joel Spolsky on his blog and book. Well done RSA, bravo! [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc]

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