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.

what’s next

I’ve now finished up at Mozilla, after a hectic and heart-rending last two weeks. I’m going to take October off to recharge, but I’m already quite excited about what I’m doing next.

On Nov 7, I’ll be starting at Facebook, where my journey will begin with the amazing Facebook engineering bootcamp. It’ll be a pretty different experience for me, no doubt. Of course, my thinking about the web was very much shaped by my experiences at Mozilla and, without speaking for my soon-to-be employer, that thinking is likely a large part of why they were interested in me in the first place.

Throughout my conversations leading up to my decision to join Facebook, I was consistently impressed by the depth and passion of the people I spoke with, from the executive team to the former Mozilla intern who gave me a coding test. I’m going to have a lot to learn, since I haven’t done large-scale computing in half a decade, but I’m really looking forward to pushing the web forward from the other side of the wire.

But yeah, first 5 weeks of vacation, the longest I’ve had since I started professional software stuff in 1992!