Facebook Announced That It Has Purchased Instagram

The reported acquisition price was $1 billion. The letter from Mark Zuckerberg. 

I’m excited to share the news that we’ve agreed to acquire Instagram and that their talented team will be joining Facebook.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

We believe these are different experiences that complement each other. But in order to do this well, we need to be mindful about keeping and building on Instagram’s strengths and features rather than just trying to integrate everything into Facebook.

That’s why we’re committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

These and many other features are important parts of the Instagram experience and we understand that. We will try to learn from Instagram’s experience to build similar features into our other products. At the same time, we will try to help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

We’re looking forward to working with the Instagram team and to all of the great new experiences we’re going to be able to build together.

 

Facebook- Google Battle Round 2 : Facebook Is Building a Search Engine

 

I’m not surprised that Facebook is building its own search engine. Search could be much improved with social signals. And search is one of the places Facebook users spend most of their online time away from FB.  Google needs to keep an eye on this!

Is Facebook building a Google rival — one that would use your location and your friends’ tastes?

A team of more than 20 Facebook engineers — led by a former Google programmer — is at work on a vastly improved search engine within the site, according a Businessweek report.

The idea, according to two sources, is to take better advantage of the heaps of content Facebook users create on — and off — the site every day. With people sharing status updates and supporting brand pages on the network, as well as using Facebook’s “Like” button to mark articles and videos from external sites, there is certainly a lot to take advantage of.

Mashable contacted Facebook for more information and got this response from a company spokesperson: “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation around products.”

Google has boosted its presence in the social space recently, opening the Google+ network last fall and a “Search, Plus Your World” feature to tepid response earlier this year. So it’s interesting to see Facebook potentially make a stronger move into the search world.

A large-scale shift to a “semantic web,” where online data is is able to be delivered in more nuanced and complex ways, is gaining momentum among tech futurists. Wikipedia recently announced a project called Wikidata that aims to make its content smarter by cross-updating among Wikipedia pages when they are edited. A more robust Facebook search functionality would be another step toward that semantic web.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has consistently downplayed the level of direct competition between Facebook and Google. “I don’t think that this is going to be the type of situation when one company wins all this stuff,” he told Charlie Rose of PBS last fall.

If the Businessweek report is true, however, it will add yet another area of heightened competitive overlap between the two Silicon Valley giants.

Zuckerberg Meets With Japan Prime Minister: Why ?

 

Twitter is getting famous with its fast breaking news service. People inform each other via Twitter. One example from Van earthquake in Turkey. Most of people tweeted before the news was on TV.  So, in this case, people positioned Twitter an informal news source. With this strategy, I think Facebook wants to  be in the same place as Twitter leads. So, Mark Zuckerberg said Japan’s tsunami last year inspired him to seek more ways for his social network to help people hit by natural disasters. He  believes Facebook can be used to help people in disasters keep in touch and provide them with crucial information.

 

 

Facebook's Missing Millionaires

By the spring of 2004, Harvard computer science major Joe Jackson had already witnessed the online phenomenon called Thefacebook. He knew it had taken hold not just at his school but at many other universities. And yet, when his friend and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin asked him to move to California for the summer to write code for the site, he decided to stick with the internship he had lined up at JPMorgan Chase (JPM). “I wasn’t thinking about it as ‘This could be my chance to be rich and famous,’” says Jackson, 28. “It was more like, ‘This is going to Palo Alto and living in a house with a bunch of kids and programming for a startup that may not go anywhere.’”

Accepting the offer would likely have made Jackson a member of an elite class: one of Facebook’s earliest employees who, along with investors, stand to make millions or even billions when the company holds the largest-ever Internet initial public offering later this year. “I completely missed the boat,” says Jackson, who worked at technology companies and a venture capital firm after college and is now at Harvard Business School. He’s one of many who turned down a chance for equity in the most successful startup of the last decade.

Theirs are not riches-to-rags stories. Several people who rejected early job offers at Facebook pursued promising alternatives. Kevin Systrom co-founded the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, and Mike Abbott served as Twitter’s head of engineering until last year. Steve Chen, one of Facebook’s first engineers, left after a few weeks to co-found YouTube (GOOG). Sales manager Ali Fedotowsky left behind precious, unvested stock options when she quit in 2010 to star in The Bachelorette.

 

Do I Have to Know How To Code ?

 It seems learning to code has become a theme in 2012, and the demand is being met    by Code Year and others. I want to reflect on my experience as a non-technical  person we should stick  what we are  good at, and not waste time learning to code.

So, should people who can’t write code do a startup? This is  tricky. I dont want to discourage people but from my personal expereinces it doesnt seem quite easy for non tech guys, including me 🙁  The process of iteration is far easier if you, the person with the idea, can actually code it and that’s what ultimately makes a startup turn into a successful business: iterating to get to product/market fit.

 

Running a business is a repeatable skill; if you’ve done one well, you should be able to do another well. But a startup isn’t a business, yet; it’s an idea which may or may not work, and all the traditional business skills you’ve got don’t count. The problem with non-technical founders is that they don’t know what they don’t know, until they’re in way too deep.

I know many people who were inspired after they watched ‘ The Social Network’. The Social Network is a great movie, and for many people quite inspiring as it tells the exciting story of how Mark Zuckerberg built it when he started at the age of 19 in his Harvard dorm room. But when you watch the film please remember that Mark Zuckerberg is both an exceptional individual, and a very skilled computer scientist. But it wasn’t his idea; it was the Winklevii, those famous programmers Olympic athletes. That’s why everyone says execution is everything, not the idea itself.

The End of Wall Street As They Knew It

After surprisingly successful financial reform, public vilification, and politics that have turned against them, the Masters of the Universe are masters no longer.

On Wall Street, bonus season is a sacred ritual. It is the annual rite where net worth and self-worth get elegantly reduced to a single number. During the 25-year boom that abruptly ended in 2008, the only principle that really mattered come bonus time was how you ranked against the guys to your right and left. The system was governed by a kind of atavistic justice: You eat what you kill. From the outside, the seven- and eight-figure payouts that star bankers earned could seem obscene, immoral even. But on the inside, the outlandish compensation reflected a strict, almost moral logic. “Wall Street is a meritocracy, for the most part,” as a senior Citigroup executive put it to me recently. “If someone has a bonus, it’s because they created value for their institution.” The sanctity of the bonus was built on the idea that Wall Street pay was simply the natural order of capitalism.

Continue reading : http://nymag.com/news/features/wall-street-2012-2/

You got a letter from Mark

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks.

LETTER FROM MARK ZUCKERBERG

Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.

We think it’s important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do. I will try to outline our approach in this letter.

At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television — by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together.

Today, our society has reached another tipping point. We live at a moment when the majority of people in the world have access to the internet or mobile phones — the raw tools necessary to start sharing what they’re thinking, feeling and doing with whomever they want. Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries.

There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on.

We hope to strengthen how people relate to each other.

Even if our mission sounds big, it starts small — with the relationship between two people.

Personal relationships are the fundamental unit of our society. Relationships are how we discover new ideas, understand our world and ultimately derive long-term happiness.

At Facebook, we build tools to help people connect with the people they want and share what they want, and by doing this we are extending people’s capacity to build and maintain relationships.

People sharing more — even if just with their close friends or families — creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others. We believe that this creates a greater number of stronger relationships between people, and that it helps people get exposed to a greater number of diverse perspectives.

By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph — a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.

We have already helped more than 800 million people map out more than 100 billion connections so far, and our goal is to help this rewiring accelerate.

We hope to improve how people connect to businesses and the economy.

We think a more open and connected world will help create a stronger economy with more authentic businesses that build better products and services.

As people share more, they have access to more opinions from the people they trust about the products and services they use. This makes it easier to discover the best products and improve the quality and efficiency of their lives.

One result of making it easier to find better products is that businesses will be rewarded for building better products — ones that are personalized and designed around people. We have found that products that are “social by design” tend to be more engaging than their traditional counterparts, and we look forward to seeing more of the world’s products move in this direction.

Our developer platform has already enabled hundreds of thousands of businesses to build higher-quality and more social products. We have seen disruptive new approaches in industries like games, music and news, and we expect to see similar disruption in more industries by new approaches that are social by design.

In addition to building better products, a more open world will also encourage businesses to engage with their customers directly and authentically. More than four million businesses have Pages on Facebook that they use to have a dialogue with their customers. We expect this trend to grow as well.

We hope to change how people relate to their governments and social institutions.

We believe building tools to help people share can bring a more honest and transparent dialogue around government that could lead to more direct empowerment of people, more accountability for officials and better solutions to some of the biggest problems of our time.

By giving people the power to share, we are starting to see people make their voices heard on a different scale from what has historically been possible. These voices will increase in number and volume. They cannot be ignored. Over time, we expect governments will become more responsive to issues and concerns raised directly by all their people rather than through intermediaries controlled by a select few.

Through this process, we believe that leaders will emerge across all countries who are pro-internet and fight for the rights of their people, including the right to share what they want and the right to access all information that people want to share with them.

Finally, as more of the economy moves towards higher-quality products that are personalized, we also expect to see the emergence of new services that are social by design to address the large worldwide problems we face in job creation, education and health care. We look forward to doing what we can to help this progress.

Our Mission and Our Business

As I said above, Facebook was not originally founded to be a company. We’ve always cared primarily about our social mission, the services we’re building and the people who use them. This is a different approach for a public company to take, so I want to explain why I think it works.

I started off by writing the first version of Facebook myself because it was something I wanted to exist. Since then, most of the ideas and code that have gone into Facebook have come from the great people we’ve attracted to our team.

Most great people care primarily about building and being a part of great things, but they also want to make money. Through the process of building a team — and also building a developer community, advertising market and investor base — I’ve developed a deep appreciation for how building a strong company with a strong economic engine and strong growth can be the best way to align many people to solve important problems.

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.

[signed Mark Zuckerberg]

Is Facebook a Central Bank, Too?

Facebook’s 27-year-old founder, Mark Zuckerberg, isn’t usually mentioned in the same breath as Ben Bernanke, the  58-year-old head of the Federal Reserve. But Facebook’s early adventures in the money-creating business are going well enough that the central bank comparison gets tempting.

Everything started quietly, in 2009, with the experimental launch of Facebook Credits, billed as “the safe and easy way to buy things on Facebook.” Anyone who chipped in $5 from a Paypal account, Visa card or the like, could do the equivalent of changing money on an overseas trip. Voila! — $5 turned into 50 Facebook Credits.

Initially, the Credits-based economy was confined to the virtual world’s trifles. Credits could be spent to buy imaginary gold bars for aficionados of Mafia Wars, or bouquets of virtual flowers for birthday postings on friends’ Facebook accounts. This new form of digital money was cute but essentially useless for mainstream activities.

Vogel has a personal interest in seeing Credits take off. He is co-founder of Plink, a customer-loyalty program in which people earn Facebook Credits by eating at participating restaurants.  Plink is just getting started, and no one knows yet how much traction his company ultimately will enjoy. But such uncertainties can’t stifle Vogel’s ebullience. He predicts that the Facebook Credits economy could double every year for the next five years.
 
 Already, Credits looks very rewarding for Facebook, thanks to built-in commissions or transactions fees. Merchants participating in the Credits economy receive 70 cents of every dollar spent on their wares; the other 30% goes to Facebook. That’s in line with the way that Apple Inc. runs its iTunes store. It’s far more lucrative than the 2% to 5% fees associated with credit cards or currency-exchange counters in the traditional economy.

Facebook won’t say how much it’s making from Credits, but the research firm of eMarketer offered up a widely quoted estimate in September. Its tally: $470 million of revenue in 2011, or about 11% of Facebook’s total business. Costs associated with the Credits program are likely to be trivial. So while advertising remains Facebook’s dominant source of revenue, banking looks like an alluring second way of making money — literally.

Edward Castronova, a telecommunications professor at Indiana University, is fascinated by the rise of what he calls “wildcat currencies,” such as Facebook Credits. He has been studying the economics of online games and virtual worlds for the better part of a decade. Right now, he calculates, the Facebook Credits ecosystem can’t be any bigger than Barbados’s economy and might be significantly smaller. If the definition of digital goods keeps widening, though, he says, “this could be the start of something big.”

In the short term, Facebook may choose to move cautiously with its Credits-based economy. Company executives are likely to have their hands full the next few months, trying to manage a successful initial public offering of stock. Moving too aggressively into banking could invite more government regulation than Facebook wants.

Still, Facebook’s buildup of Credits suggests more than just a minor dalliance. Facebook already takes payment for Credits in more than 40 currencies — ranging from the euro to the Vietnamese dong. Exchange rates are adjusted daily.  It probably won’t be long until some economist tries to calculate the inflation rate, money-supply velocity or other traditional dimensions of the Facebook economy.

If Facebook at some point is willing to reduce its cut of each Credits transaction, this new form of online liquidity may catch the eye of many more merchants and customers. As Castronova observes: “there’s a dynamic here that the Federal Reserve ought to look at.”