why facebook?

[I haven't started yet, and what I present here is based on things that are public knowledge, via press or F8 presentations or Facebook's own posts. My impressions are obviously informed by direct conversations, of course.]

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November (specific timing is up to the INS). I’m really really excited about it for a number of reasons, even though it means relocating to California. A number of people have asked why I chose to go to Facebook, so I decided to write some of the reasons down.

One reason is that Facebook is probably the most web-influential company in the world on that side of the wire. They’ve consistently invested in the web, from their mobile-client approach, to their APIs, to various tools and whatnot. I have unfinished business with the web myself, and Facebook is a great place for me to continue to have influence over how it evolves.

Another is that the engineering culture at Facebook is simply spectacular. It’s obvious that they’ve invested in it very heavily, from bootcamp and development tools to the testing and deployment model, and it has clearly paid off. It’s going to be a very cool thing to be part of, especially since the world of web-delivered services is so different from the client-side-software one in which I’ve spent the last 6 years.

The third reason is that Facebook’s management team is perhaps the best in all of software right now; Ben Horowitz agrees. (Mozilla operates in such a different way that I wouldn’t really know how to compare, but I’m sure they won’t take offense.) I’m really looking forward to learning a ton working with them (including a very good friend of mine) as well as the other amazing people at FB that I’ve had a chance to meet. In looking around the company while discussing a possible position, I didn’t see anything I didn’t want to work on, or anyone I didn’t want to work with, which was unique in my job-hunting experiences.

And finally, I am by no means an expert on social software and how it can connect people through the web. It’s obvious that personal connections, recommendations, and other shared experiences are going to be central to how the web looks in five, ten, twenty years. I think there’s an enormous opportunity for me to contribute to that, and learn a ton; I think Facebook’s vision of what the web can be is pretty exciting, and will be exciting to help build.

I think Mozilla is a great place, and I would recommend it strongly as a place to work (or a place to volunteer, as I plan to keep doing); it’s unique in the world of software, and changes you forever. I’m thrilled to now go to Facebook, another great place, and see what I can do to change the world again.

10 comments to “why facebook?”

  1. Mike
    entered 3 November 2011 @ 2:15 am

    Coming as you do from a Mozilla background, I’m a bit surprised that you weren’t put off by FB’s diametrical opposition to the open web.

    Do you think this stance could change? I don’t see it myself; it seems to be fundamental to their business model.

  2. entered 3 November 2011 @ 3:43 am

    I don’t see FB as in “diametrical opposition to the open web” at all, perhaps obviously. There’s an enormous investment in building things on (and, increasingly, improving) the open web, and their APIs get to be more flexible and powerful every year. I don’t know of a more open system that’s even close to comparable in reach or value. Do they somehow hinder your own work to improve the web?

    It’s OK for us to disagree on this, obviously; we’ll see different things, and feel differently about them. I certainly wouldn’t be going to FB if I saw them the way you do, though!

  3. entered 3 November 2011 @ 5:11 am

    I’m with the above poster. The way facebook is becoming a choke point for interactions and tracking everyone through those like buttons is rather worrying. It’s an even more dangerous walled garden than AOL was, so I’m sorry to see them hire you.

  4. Mike Beltzner
    entered 3 November 2011 @ 5:50 am

    As another person who used to work at Mozilla, I can tell you what I told people when I worked there: what Facebook is doing isn’t ideal, but it’s not like they’ve got a great alternative.

    I’d rather people I trust to have the right instincts about how to build collaborative (yet competitive!) open systems joining Facebook than railing against it on their weblogs. To my mind, transfer of knowledge and culture between the two organizations is all to the good, and I can’t wait to see what Shaver gets up to while he’s there.

  5. entered 3 November 2011 @ 11:34 am

    [...] view everything like a data roach motel: all your data can come in, but it won’t leave. Well, except that Zuckerberg keeps hiring all these open web folks, so watch for this to [...]

  6. entered 3 November 2011 @ 10:57 pm

    Is he joining Facebook? As a member/shareholder who has a say and a vote? That would be good to see, but I thought he’d just been hired by them.

  7. entered 9 November 2011 @ 4:51 am

    [...] Mike Shaver, formerly vice president of technical strategy for Firefox. He said of the move in a blog post: I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November…One [...]

  8. entered 9 November 2011 @ 5:25 am

    [...] Mike Shaver, formerly vice president of technical strategy for Firefox. He said of the move in a blog post: I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November…One [...]

  9. entered 9 November 2011 @ 8:34 am

    [...] Mike Shaver, formerly vice president of technical strategy for Firefox. He said of the move in a blog post: I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November…One [...]

  10. entered 9 November 2011 @ 11:05 pm

    [...] Mike Shaver, formerly vice president of technical strategy for Firefox. He said of the move in a blog post: I’m going to start as an Engineering Director at Facebook some time in November…One [...]