Undoubtedly the most exhaustive book on Facebook’s history, development, and future going forward. If you’re just looking for a quick read in the form of a novel, check out Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. Mezrich’s book is based on a lot of anonymous sources, whereas this book is sourced by current and former Facebook employees, including Mark Zuckerberg.
The book also explains Facebook’s evolving advertising strategy, privacy concerns, and profit model. Like I said, it’s an exhaustive book. If there’s anything you ever wanted to understand more about Facebook, it’s covered. (Although I was a little surprised Kirkpatrick never wrote about this Zuckerberg interview.) Facebook is a fascinating company. While its growth and value have grown exponentially to levels never seen before in history, it wasn’t until late 2009 that the company actually turned a profit. Until then, Facebook was burning through cash raised through a series of investments. All along the way, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who controls 3 of the 5 seats on the board, has stayed focused on growth and the user experience at the expense of running the business for a profit. He turned down numerous opportunities to sell the company because he is motivated his conviction of what Facebook can mean for the world.
As the world becomes more digital, new companies may begin to look and function like Facebook. Twitter, for example, had a similar explosion in growth and value before seeing $1 in profit. Facebook is changing the way traditional companies and media reach and interact with consumers. At nearly 500 million accounts worldwide, Facebook cannot be ignored or dismissed as a fad. There is no doubt that the “Facebook effect” will only grow stronger, for better or worse. If you don’t believe it, read this book.