10 Key Lessons Facebook Learned from Friendster (and what I learned to apply to Bebo)

I originally wrote this post in 2012 because many entrepreneurs asked me about my experience at Friendster.  Although a few years old now, the lessons still remain true today. The abridged version is shown below but to see the full text, be sure to read the original post.
  • Focus.  It’s critical for a startup to have a clear focus, especially early on!  Focus comes in many flavors.  One key area of focus is product-focus.
  • Product (ship new product fast & often).  A start-up must balance the need and desire to constantly innovate to stay interesting, fresh and ahead of the competition with the critical need to stay focused!
  • Performance.  The site must be fast!  Friendster made some early ‘bet the company’ issues on the product side that proved to be very costly.
  • Technology (& Good Luck).  Don’t experiment with the newest technologies when you have a fast growing startup!
  • Viral.  If the goal is to grow fast without spending a fortune, one must focus on viral features!
  • Customers.  Know Thy Customer!
  • Hiring.  You must hire A+ players!  There was a lot of pressure early on at Friendster to hire quickly, especially on the engineering team.  Friendster tried to hire too many people too quickly.
  • Leadership.  A start-up needs to have steady leadership, especially at the top!  Great leadership is required for companies’ success at any level.
  • Politics.  There’s no place for politics in a fast-moving startup.
  • Revenue.  Focus on the Product First, Revenue later!  This is a tough one for many start-ups and frankly not always the right call.

One thought on “10 Key Lessons Facebook Learned from Friendster (and what I learned to apply to Bebo)

  1. People (Hiring, Leadership and Politics), Process (Focus, Customers, Product, Revenue) and Technology (Technology, Performance, Viral Features). Start with the right people, define the business process with those people and then identify the technology needed to support that business process. Easy, right?

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