Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review : The Facebook Effect - David Kirkpatrick

Mark Zuckerberg celebrates his 27th birthday on May 14th; and what an achievement for this 27-year-old!, founding (and holding 24% stake)  one of the most remarkable companies in our times, valued anywhere between $50-65 billion. 

Perhaps the most significant event in modern history has been the birth of social media networks. David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect is an excellent description of Zuck’s genius, an inside story of how Facebook came about and the events and ideas that have shaped its development.

I found the early days of Facebook very inspirational. As it turns out, the story is fascinating and somewhat complicated. 

First impression: Wow!, I would love to work at Facebook. After reading this book, I am more impressed with its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Many of us use Facebook nearly every day, some of us multiple times a day, without giving much thought to how the world's most popular social network came to be. This book takes us right inside Mark Zuckerberg's head to understand the ‘potential of Facebook. 

The book is divided into two parts, the first part is a fascinating corporate history revolving around reticent founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg; the second is a thoughtful, analysis of the ‘Future of Facebook’.

If you are interested in startups or how marketing and advertising are evolving, or just how Facebook is changing the world, buy this book. It’s very readable and gives great insights into how Facebook grew from a dorm room to a huge company. 

Excerpt : “Could [Facebook] become a factor in helping bring together a world filled with political and religious strife and in the midst of environmental and economic breakdown?” he adds later: “[Facebook] is altering the character of political activism, and in some countries it is starting to affect the process of democracy itself.”

While reading, I found myself imagining right there with Mark and other founders in their Harvard dorm. I almost felt like a fly on the wall in business meetings and informal brainstorming sessions. 

The most fascinating part of The Facebook Effect, however, is Zuck’s vision of Facebook being, ultimately, an enabler to a better world. The mission of Facebook is to make the world more open and connected through sharing of personal information. 

Few excerpts: 
“Mark Zuckerberg was never one to defer to authority figures. Facebook started out as his own revolt against Harvard’s unwillingness to build an online Facebook. But what he built turns individuals into authority. The entire service revolves around the profile and actions of people. Facebook empowers them at the expense of institutions. “

Facebook now sits squarely at the center of the fundamental realignment of capitalism….but marketers can no longer control the conversation”

But this scale, rate of growth, and social penetration raise complicated social, political, regulatory, and policy questions. How Will Facebook alter users real –world interactions? How will repressive governments respond (as witnessed in the recent Jasmine revolution of Middle East) to this new form of citizen empowerment? How will controls work in this ‘digital democracy’?

“It is a platform. And, platform (e.g., MS-Windows) is a real big thing. Once you have a platform. People can start building things in your way. In short, you do not own a website. You own the world.” 

If you know anything about Facebook and are curious about how internet technology is changing the world, then this is the book for you. As an industry professional and a passionate observer of ‘social’ trends, I find it fascinating to see Facebook, so effortlessly and seamlessly embedding itself in this fabric of internet’. 

The Facebook Effect leaves you with a deep understanding of Facebook, its philosophies and, most startlingly, its power. You come away with a new awareness of how it is fast transforming into a directory of all humanity, carefully mapping our ‘social graph’ and ‘interest graph’

Zuck cares deeply about Facebook’s potential to serve as a bridge between people. He will work to turn it even more into a town square for the global village.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting to have a better viewpoint on the social technologies that are changing our world.


Himdarling said...

Nice one buddy ...

Parvinder said...

I just finished reading this book and I have to say that it shows an another face of facebook than the film "Social Network".

Yet it's a long book, but I enjoyed reading it. It really shows the history behind the facebook and how the team and Markzukerberg has faced different challenges.

Facebook is changing our way to communicate with others.