Facebook: Open and Connected

2014-01-07 14.24.49Our second stop on the second day of Villanova in the Valley 2014 was to Facebook. A gentleman by the name of Erik Hawkins was our speaker. He is the US Group Leader, which entails leading the sales effort in the financial services, travel, government, and energy industries. In simpler terms, he promotes the use of Facebook services to businesses outside of technology. However, he seemed more interested in talking about the overall goal and vision behind Facebook than his role in the company. I must say it was rather refreshing to see a business man have such a passion for the company he works for.

Facebook’s ultimate goal is to open up and connect the whole world. Over the past 10 years, people have been able to develop relationships that would not have been possible without the technology that Facebook has delivered. Most notably, they have effectively broken the physical barrier that naturally exists between people all over the globe. But we all know this. After all, what are the first three letters that your fingers habitually type in when you open up a new tab? For me it’s f, a, c… But I digress; what Mr. Hawkins mainly discussed with us is how Facebook has been able to maintain its status as the top social networking company in the world with its aggressive shift of focus to the mobile market.

As we all know, mobile technologies have exploded since the advent of the iPhone. The ability to run third-party applications on a smartphone has revolutionized the software industry and changed the paradigm of human-to-human interaction. Facebook recognized this and realized just how important it was to perfect the implementation of their own mobile application. This led to a broader discussion of how the successful companies are the ones that demonstrate a willingness to adapt to changes within a market. Having worked for Yahoo! in the past, Mr. Hawkins provided a comparison by attributing the downfall of the formerly giant search engine to their inability to adapt to the market.

After our speaker, we were given a tour around the Facebook campus. Interestingly enough, their working environment seems quite similar to that of both Google and Salesforce. They all have a philosophy on letting the employees actively pursue their creative endeavors while also providing them with as many conveniences as they can afford. Needless to say, they produce results.