The Irony of the Social Media Era: It Was Created By the World’s Least Social People

From Huffington Post:

Facebook was created in 2004. A year later came the launch of ‘TechCrunch,’ the first major blog to obsess over ‘web 2.0’ and the companies and personalities that created it. Thanks to TechCrunch, and rival blogs like GigaOm and All Things D, Facebook became the first Silicon Valley Web giant to have nearly every move watched, reported, analyzed, over-analyzed and analyzed again since birth. The traditional media outlets played a big part, particularly as Facebook picked up tens, then hundreds, of millions of users — but it was the bloggers who picked every minute detail.

Many at Facebook will tell you that’s been a disadvantage. One of the nice things about being a private company is operating without the intensity of public glare. It’s hard to grow a company under a microscope of constant second guessing. Now Facebook is preparing to go public and the interest in the company has never been higher. If you’re thinking about buying Facebook stock, Mark Zuckerberg’s eight-year headache is your gain. You may not have watched this company every day of the last eight years, but tech reporters certainly have. Ahead of the IPO we assembled some of the best of those reporters and asked them to share their insights into the people behind Facebook, the Facebook product itself, the ethical challenges that have dogged the company since its earliest days, the $2 billion in private equity it raised to get to this point, its revenues and business model. The result is a 25,000 word ebook: Buy This Book Before You Buy Facebook.

In the book, we start by examining how founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown from awkward Harvard dropout to the head of a $100bn public company. After all, one of the great ironies of the social media era is that some of the least social people in the world created it.

Back in 2007, when I asked Netscape founder Marc Andreessen why he was investing so heavily in social networking, he said simply, “People love people.” I looked at him askance. From anyone else this would have been an unremarkable statement, but Andreessen hates people. Being around them all day at Netscape made him “manage like the Incredible Hulk,” in his words. This is the man who would several years later spend the office warming party for Andreessen Horowitz Partners holed up in his office with a glass of scotch and a handful of friends before packing his bag, hopping off the balcony and going home. “I mean, I don’t like people,” he clarified. “But most other people do.”

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