AMA: Margaret Gould Stewart, VP of Product at Facebook

6 months ago from , VP of Product Design, Facebook

Hello everyone! I’m Margaret Gould Stewart, and I am a part of the Facebook design team. I lead the designers and researchers who help build a lot of our tools for business, big and small, all around the world, to help them connect with Facebook’s 1.7B users in meaningful ways.

Previously, I led design at YouTube, and before that for Google Search, Google News, and a bunch of other consumer stuff. I started my career a while back at a start up called Tripod, which was one of the big homepage building sites in the first dot.com era.

I studied Theatre as an undergrad, which has been more useful to my career that you might think. I did my graduate studies at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP), or as some like to call it, “Engineering for Poets”.

I love working on big, gnarly design problems that look to address large scale societal problems. I love democratizing systems like the media and markets to benefit the little guys. And I love building teams who work together to build beautiful, meaningful things.

I write on Medium.com (https://medium.com/@mags) and run a event series called Elegant Tools (https://www.facebook.com/groups/eleganttools/) which looks to inspire more designers to apply their talent and time to under-served industries.

Finally, I am the mother of three kids, married to a Canadian, and have a dog named Sunny and a cat named Pepper Potts, who is just as sassy as her name indicates. I love photography, I love to bake, and I LOVE going to the movie theatre where I can immerse myself in a good story while eating popcorn.

If you have any questions about what it’s like to work at and design for Facebook, about building design teams, about collaboration, about diversity in tech, why theatre training has been useful in my career, or just about anything that comes to mind, leave your questions here and I’ll do my best to answer them!

I’ll be here live on Wednesday, August 17 at about 9AM Pacific time. Hope to chat with you then!

37 comments

  • Michael James, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret!

    I know I'm a little late but wanted to put a few questions out there in case you have the opportunity to answer them.

    1. I study theatre design and HCI so I'm ecstatic to hear of your background. I've found numerous connections between the two, but I'm curious what you've found to be the biggest crossovers? Additionally, how did you find the transition from theatrical work to working in a company? Have you found your work in UX to be artistically fulfilling in the same way theatre can be?

    2. How does a designer or researcher convey their experience as part of a portfolio if their strengths are less in the visuals and more in the uncovering of a problem and ideation of solutions?

    Thank you!

    0 points
  • M HernandezM Hernandez, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    Thanks for doing the AMA Margaret! Facebook wields a lot of design influence in terms of setting UI expectations because of its sheer volume around the world. How heavily do you weigh cultural expectations when it comes to design? Not only can words translate differently across languages, but I'd imagine icons, layout and orientation matter, too.

    0 points
  • Pedro PintoPedro Pinto, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    Something non design related: what is the best movie you saw this year?

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    0 points
  • Jeff Kell, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret! I'm a big fan of the work you do and read your thoughts religiously on Medium and recently really enjoyed your participation in the Techies Project. What's the greatest design problem currently facing your team? What design credentials does one need to have to work on your team? Do you hire more for work done or design school pedigree? I have so many questions -- I'd love to meet you for coffee, if that's something you'd consider.

    0 points
  • Vicky B., 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    Hi Margaret! Let’s talk diversity in tech. :) As a non-American, woman of colour working as a product designer I found it really hard to find employment in North America. Even with the right experience, skills and qualifications, I think there are real barriers for an outsider like me—visas, cultural differences, biases, language, etc.

    I could imagine that this is also hard on the company side. How is Facebook ensuring that their teams are truly diverse? Are the numbers getting better? What are the challenges with this? With design teams that are heavily concentrated in the west, how do you ensure that your products are relevant to people from all over the globe?

    0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Thanks for asking this really important question, Vicky. On the walls of Facebook's offices, you'll often see a poster reflecting core company sentiment: "At Facebook, nothing is somebody else's problem." That statement is particularly true when it comes to building a diverse team. Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. In order to achieve that mission, we need an employee base that reflects a broad range of experiences, backgrounds, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, etc, of the incredibly diverse population for whom we are designing. More than 80% of the people who currently use Facebook reside outside of North America. We are a global platform that supports over 1.7bn people who use Facebook to connect to communities around the world. For us, this isn't just the right thing to do, it is also good business sense.

      Over the past few years, we've invested a lot in increasing diversity at Facebook through a variety of internal and external programs and partnerships. These initiatives are designed to help us reach the underrepresented talent that currently exists, as well as engage with and inspire young people - and hopefully future applicants - to consider careers in design and tech.

      This is and always will be a work in progress. We still have a long way to go, but as we continue to strive for greater change in the long term, it's encouraging to see positive hiring trends. For example, while our current representation in senior leadership is 3% Black, 3% Hispanic and 27% women, of new senior leadership hires at Facebook in the US over the last 12 months, 9% are Black, 5% are Hispanic and 29% are women.

      In order to continue and amplify that trend, we need to address these issues in the short, medium, and long term. In the short term, we are building a diverse slate of candidates and an inclusive working environment, as well as improving talent-sourcing tools and investing in better training for everyone involved in hiring/managing for diverse teams. In the medium term, we are supporting students with an interest in tech through Facebook University (FBU), an internship program for college freshman—primarily women and people of color—who demonstrate in interest in STEM/CS. And our long term efforts focus on creating opportunity and access through programs like TechPrep, an online resource in English/Spanish for parents, guardians and future programmers who want to learn more about computer science and programming.

      We've also committed $15 million to Code.org over the next five years to ensure that every person in the US to has the opportunity to learn the skills that our industry needs — and that we have the chance to hire them. And we're partnering with organizations like Girls Who Code and Year Up.

      There's so much yet to do, and so much to gain as we more towards a more inclusive and diverse workplace. We are excited about the future and committed to making it better for our employees and the world through the products we build together.

      0 points
  • Jean P, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    Should designers code?

    0 points
    • Margaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Hi Jean! Depends on what you mean by "code" :) And also the context in which you are working.

      If by "coding"you mean being a fully-fledged software engineers who can write production-quality code.....

      This can be useful if you are in a tiny company/start-up where people often wear multiple hats and versatility is valued. In a context like that, being a hybrid engineer/designer can be very useful.

      At larger companies like Facebook, the practice of writing code is such that it usually lends itself to a fulltime job. Sometimes we have designers who are super technical and can write their own production code, but often their time is best spent collaborating with fulltime engineers to create stuff together.

      If by "coding" you mean technical enough to understand the opportunties and constraints of current technology, then yes, all designers should have that working knowledge. Industrial designers are not necessarily experts in manufacturing, but they have a working knowledge of materials and the way fabrication works so they can integrate that into their design thinking. This is also true for designers who work in the material of 1s and 0s.

      Technical fluency allows us to envision possibilities, push back when appropriate, and continue to evolve our craft as the technology evolves. This is critical to being an effective product designer today.

      And if by "coding" you mean knowing enough code to protoype, then hell yes, I want designers to know how to code. Prototyping is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal, allowing our own (and others, don't be stingy!) ideas to come to life and help us make much better design decisions. It can help increase the relevancy of data coming out of user research because the participants are using a living, breathing, working product. And it can help us all have aha moments for a design that just can't be communicated verbally; it has to be seen, felt, heard. Prototyping is the stuff of JK Rowling. Use your magical powers for good :)

      0 points
  • Shpetim Ujkani, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    I've been following your speeches and articles for a time now and I'm inspired by them. Thank you! So, my question for you would be about deciding where's that golden moment to move on from the current job as a designer to that next opportunity?

    0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Thank you, Shpetim! This was on my mind a few weeks back when I wrote this Medium post:

      https://medium.com/@mags/the-four-dimensions-of-job-fulfillment-and-a-map-to-find-them-81198b50cd79#.owuuzg75r

      I have this framework that helps me think through change, and it's been honed through a lot of career decisions I've made over the years. The key dimensions might be different for you, but this framework has worked pretty well for people I've shared it with so hope you find it useful, too! For me, I want to feel inspired, useful, respected and feel like I'm growing. All four of these exist on a spectrum and the key is to figure out what matters to you most and what you want to optimize for. Mapping that out visually, especially for designers, can be helpful, since we are, after all, a visual species :)

      When you feel like you might be ready for a change, it's also important to know if you are trying to move away from something, or towards something. It's an important distinction. Are there things that are making you unhappy in your current role, and have you had the conversations that could address those issues and increase your sense of fulfillment? And if you've tried to get to a better place in your current role but think that the future is leading you to something new, have you thought about what you like about your current role and what you would like to see change? Being intentional about your personal goals and seeing how they align with what your company needs/wants from you, and how flexible they can be on those things, will help you understand of you can evolve where you are or if it's time to bloom in another garden :)

      Hope that's helpful.

      0 points
  • Jennifer Greenwood, 6 months ago

    How did you make the transition as a design leader from one company (YouTube) to the other (Facebook)?

    0 points
  • Apoorv Narang, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    Hi Margaret, I was at your CHI panel this year where you spoke about how user research is even more important in elegant tools where you're not designing for yourself. I've also found this to be really true in my experience designing complex tools, when I was talking to users and doing user research.

    I was wondering how designers at a large company like Facebook get involved in user research. At what stages do product designers and researchers collaborate? Do product designers get to talk to users and sit in the sessions? How do decisions and analysis flow between them?

    3 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Thanks for the question, Apoorv. I'm glad the CHI panel was useful. The way in which product design and research interact and collaborate can vary dramatically, and I don't think there's one right way to do it, but here's what I've observed and learned over the years from my own experiences. Interested to hear different perspectives from others.

      In my experience, research is valuable in all design contexts as it helps you get outside of your own bubble and realize that you are almost always do NOT resemble the people for whom you are designing :) This is particularly true at a company like Facebook which operates at a global scale, designing for a dizzyingly diverse customer base. It's very exciting but it's also a big responsibility.

      In my team, designers partner with research through the whole design process. They collaborate with research on identifying the big questions the team is pondering, the holes in our understanding of the users and the pain points they have, and the unmet needs that might exist in a given space. We invest a lot in international research, and designers almost always accompany researchers into the field to observe and assist in various studies; I should note that product managers and engineers also go. Designing software is a team sport! The great thing about these experiences is that the team comes back with a shared understanding of the users and the problem space as well as a shared vocabulary for talking about it. That's awesome for collaboration.

      Then research and design work together to interpret the results of these studies, feed that back into our product roadmaps, and start building stuff! We test iteratively all along the way, and track the results of an experiments we run carefully in partnership with our analytics colleagues.

      All in all, research is seen as a core part of the product develop team, and one of the closest collaborative partners for design.

      6 points
  • Maxwell LindMaxwell Lind, 6 months ago

    Hey Margaret! - thanks for joining us.

    • What are your thoughts on time spent working vs time spent resting? There seems to be a two schools of thought (especially in design/tech oriented jobs)… one says outwork the competition, while the other says focus on quality hours not quantity. What’s your take?
    • On Hired.fm you compared the ecosystem/industry of Digital Advertising to that of Healthcare, Government, Education, and noted, “if there were an easier way to make things work better, people would have done it already”… people have long guessed that the traditional digital advertising model (especially banner ads) isn’t sustainable long term, where do you see it growing / how do you see it changing?
    • You also talked about ‘experiences’ on Facebook, specifically the difference between what businesses experience and what people experience… how does Facebook balance that fine line between improving for one group over the other?
    • What's the coolest and/or most random thing on the internet you keep coming back to as of late? (could be a website, service, music, video, etc)
    0 points
  • Joseph Guman, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    Hi Margaret, I love that you are doing this and even more that you mention theater training being useful in your career . . . I have managed a team ( 12-16 ppl) of coworkers for around 12 years, i have over the years stumbled into a way of approaching hiring . . . I cast a "play" and as we were in a retail environment that seemed to work nicely . .. the "quirky neighbor" the "pragmatic parental figure" etc. . . . . and we were located in NYC with our applicants basically submitting what they would submit at an open call

    I have 2 questions . . ..

    1# - balance . . .while working in close quarters in a public environment. I struggled, torn between the rolls of "Director of the show" and "cast member" any tips on how to balance theses rolls ?

    2 - i now need to recreate that environment in a new location without the pool of theater people of NYC who are prone to adapt well to the template of "a play / musical" any thoughts ?

    Thanks ! Joseph

    0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Hi Joe! I love that you used theatre as a framework for growing and building your team. There's no more intensely collaborative working environment than a group staging live theatre, so there's a lot we can learn from it!

      Here are some thoughts on your two questions.

      1. I feel you on this one. When a team is small, it's easy to act like "we are all in this together," and that you, as the manager, are just one more cast mate. But you aren't. You are their boss. You hired them and presumably you can fire them. You control their pay, their livelihood. And you have responsibilities to report them if they step out of line. This is very different than being their peer.

      This has been a challenge for me at various points of my career. I like to feel like I am good friend with the people who work for me, and I believe in many cases I am. but it's naive of me to ignore the power dynamic that exists, and very disconcerting to my team members when I unexpectedly switch from chummy chum to authority figure in unexpected ways.

      Some of the things I try to do to navigate this....I try to be my authentic self every day at work. I try to bring these issues, when they exist, out in to the open so I can talk with my team about them openly and honestly, and make it safe for them to do the same. I try to show care and compassion towards my colleagues, but not be offended or hurt if they treat me differently than their peers, because I AM different. And I also try to make clear to them what my triggers are, the things that I care about, and the things that will put me in authority mode. I also try to be mindful, intentional, and explicit when I have to be the authority figure, and realize that is hard for people who see me as their friend. Ultimately, we are all here being paid to do important jobs and I feel like people adjust and adapt really well, as long as I am being open and honest about things.

      1. Don't underestimate non-theatre people's desire to play. It's a sad fact that the majority of people are told early on that they are not creative, that they can't draw, sing, dance. We are all creative in some way, and I deeply believe that all humans have the need to express themselves creatively It may be scary for them at first because it requires being comfortable with being vulnerable, but if you succeed, you'll be giving them a big gift.

      P.S. Don't call me Margie in public :)

      0 points
  • Ana Jovane, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret. Thanks so much for offering your time. Im a senior interactive designer working in a digital agency in Brooklyn. I have a lot of experience working on campaigns and client related sites and apps. But Im very interested in learning more about product design and want to move to that field. Can you offer any advice on how to make that change? Ive looked for product designer positions and they all ask for years of experience in product design. I think I have collected the same experience but working for digital campaigns that can include short lived products. How can I break into that world? Thank you. -Ana

    0 points
  • Drew McDonaldDrew McDonald, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    My question to you is what led you to Facebook and some of those other big companies? I'm an up and coming designer, and I'm finding it hard to break out of my midwest city. Was it just right time right place, or really working up a chain and proving worth to the right people?

    Also how did you stay motivated through the toughest of times?

    Thank you for doing this AMA!

    0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

      Hi Drew! My path to Facebook was a bit circuitous. I'm an East Coaster by birth but I did live in Madison, WI for a while (Go Badgers!) and then also in Knoxville, TN, where I was named most likely to have to travel furthest to my high school reunion, lolz. So I know what you mean when you say it can feel a bit daunting to not be on either coast.

      I found that the most valuable thing that set me on the path to joining first Google and now Facebook is the relationships I built over the years. In fact, it was two former employees, Doug Bowman and Jeff Veen, who lured me to the West Coast, and I am so grateful to them for it! Knowing who you work well with and staying in touch with those people is really important. I know it might feel big and daunting, but the industry is actually pretty small, and every interaction you have with people is an opportunity to make an impression on them. Those impressions, if they are positive, of course, add up to opportunities over the long run.

      That being said, it's a huge opportunity for you, as you are likely a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Being active on online communities (like Designer News!), where your location is a non-issue, can help you build a network that can create valuable connections for you down the road. Creating an online portfolio so your work can be discovered by design leaders and recruiters is also a valuable thing to do. Taking courses at local high quality schools or online classes if that's a better choice can help you continue to grow. And constantly developing your skills is critical. Teaching yourself the latest prototyping tools, taking on side projects that challenge you in ways that your main job may not provide, all these things show passion, gumption, and proactivity, which is what I look for in designers, no matter where they are from.

      Remember, too, that you bring a valuable, non-coast perspective to your work that companies can benefit from. One of Silicon Valley's biggest challenges is getting outside of it's own bubble and you can help companies do that with your fresh perspective.

      As far as how I stay motivated through tough time, that's a good question. I have a family (husband, 3 kids, dog and cat!) and they keep meet centered and remind me on a daily basis that there is a LOT more to my life than the incomplete to do list at work. I also rely on my colleagues at work and my team to help me when I am down. It happens to all of us, and being in a place where it's OK to admit that you need help or a pep talk is really important. I wrote a Medium post about this a few weeks ago that you might find helpful in terms of finding a place where you feel inspired, useful, respected, that you are growing. These four things are the best antidotes to tough times:

      https://medium.com/@mags/the-four-dimensions-of-job-fulfillment-and-a-map-to-find-them-81198b50cd79#.entsc3dy5

      0 points
      • Drew McDonaldDrew McDonald, 6 months ago

        Thank you for your response Margaret! I think you are incredibly insightful person because your answer is perfect and I feel like your response could come from someone I see everyday who knows where I'm at, and I hope other designers in similar positions see your reply.

        0 points
  • nabeel khalidnabeel khalid, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret,

    As a lead where do you draw the line with 'borrowing' a idea from a another product/platform/person. Is it copying if nobody knows?

    Also what large scale societal problems have you address which you can share with us? How do you find time to do this? Is this part of your work?

    Finally what do you think is best to do when you know your product is going to fail? Kill it the product while you can? Pivot or just carry on like nothing happened?

    0 points
  • Patrick BurtchaellPatrick Burtchaell, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    Hi Margaret! Do you get imposter syndrome? If so, was there a point in your career where it was strongest? How did you deal with it then, if this was a problem for you? I find I am can sometimes become irrationally stressed out by the quality of my work, even if I did what others would consider a good job. This is especially true when I am still developing ideas and sketching wireframes.

    0 points
    • Margaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Oh, Patrick, yes yes yes. I have and some days still have bouts of imposter syndrome. Anyone who has a tendency to throw themselves into challenging roles, taking on a lot of responsibility or taking on big, hairy problems will have moments where they think, "Am I even qualified to do this?!" So the most important thing to know is you are not at all alone in feeling this way sometimes.

      That being said, I think there are some important nuances to this. First, at its core, Imposter Syndrome is an example of overplaying a strength, and that strength is humility. This is something that, in reasonable doses, I greatly value in my colleagues. Humility allows us to be vulnerable, admit when we are wrong, and see when we have an opportunity to learn from others. This is HUGELY valuable. But if you overplay that humility and it turns into being in a constant state of low-confidence, that's not good for anyone.

      It's great to have a sense of where you can grow and do better. But it's important to embrace your strengths and believe people when they say you are doing well. Otherwise you will drive yourself crazy wondering whether people think you are incompetent, when in your case they apparently think you are doing great!

      One interesting technique for this is to take the job description of your current role, or a job ladder description if your company has one. Take green, yellow and pink highlighters and go through all the skills and rate yourself with green = doing well, yellow = developing, red = not yet developed. Then have a trusted mentor, could be your boss but could also be someone else who knows your work well, go through and do the same thing independently. Then compare notes, Based on your description, I suspect you will have graded yourself a lot more harshly than the person whose opinion you so value. There will undoubtedly still be areas to grow, but you can relax knowing that you are not an imposter. You are talented human! Hope that helps :)

      0 points
  • Rhys MerrittRhys Merritt, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret, Thanks for doing this AMA :)

    I have a bit of a silly question.. What are your thoughts on the job title 'Product Designer' that Facebook seems to have popularised?

    Some people find the term frustrating since 'Product Designer' for most people means physical product design (Dieter Rams, Ray & Charles Eames). Can you offer any insight as to why Facebook have championed this new job title for digital designers?

    0 points
    • Jan SemlerJan Semler, 6 months ago

      I call me self a digital product designer so...

      0 points
    • Patrick BurtchaellPatrick Burtchaell, 6 months ago

      I consider myself a product designer. I would argue for consumers there is not a difference between software and hardware/physical — both are products. In that case, the people responsible for the design of the product are product designers. I think the title "Product Designer" is more descriptive than digital designer.

      I also think the Product Designer term is a bit aspirational. What I mean by this is someone who uses the title Product Designer might aspire to design high quality, well crafted and thoughtful product, like the products of Dieter Rams and Ray & Charles Eames, for example.

      0 points
      • John PJohn P, 6 months ago

        Would be more interested in hearing what product designers think about their term being co-opted by UI designers.

        0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Thanks to Jan and Patrick for chiming in on this. You know, Rhys, it's funny. I've created some emotional distance for myself between me and my job title because it has changed so much over the years :) First I was a web designer, then I was an user experience designer, then an interaction designer, and now I'm a product designer. As long as I am using my time and talent to make people's lives better, I don't get too caught up in the semantics :)

      That being said, words do matter, and I find the evolution of the terminology fascinating. It shouldn't surprise us, though. When technology is new, no one really knows what to do with it, and we think of it as a completely new and unique thing but over time, we see that it is another flavor of the way people communicate and connect. So it makes sense that the trend is towards terms that don't create a lot of distinctions between the media in which you are designing. We are all designing products and experiences, sometimes with hardware, sometimes with software, sometimes in the physical world and sometimes virtually.

      So I like the trend towards product design, as it allows us to come together as a diverse design community and learn from each other more. And if we feel that product design puts us in the family tree of Charles (and Ray!) Eames and Dieter Rams, then bully on us! That helps us understand that we have a lot of responsibility and opportunities to change the world with these amazing tools now at our disposal.

      0 points
  • Hunter CaronHunter Caron, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret! As a design student who would love to work at Facebook, what specific design skills should I focus on in order to achieve that goal? Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    0 points
    • Margaret StewartMargaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Hi Hunter! At Facebook, we are looking to create a diverse team, so that means there's not one answer to this question :) At the core, we are looking for designers who are makers and doers who care deeply about our mission to make the world more open and connected. We look for people who are curious and collaborative, because building great software is a team sport. We look for people who are confident in what they do know and self-aware about where they can learn and grow. As far as specific technical skills, we look for strong product thinking skills (do you have good instincts and a process for determining the right problems to focus on?), interaction design (can you think through complex problems and bring an intuitive approach to flows and interactions?) and visual design (do you have a strong attention to detail and care about getting the small things right).

      Throughout all of this, we value intentionality a lot; can you explain why you made the decisions you made, share the various options you considered, and why you decide on your final solution? Lastly, we look for people who will be proactive and take ownership over their work. Of course, people come in with all kinds of variances in strengths across these areas, but those are the things we tend to look for and what we find indicates a strong likelihood to be happy and productive at Facebook.

      0 points
      • Hunter CaronHunter Caron, 6 months ago

        This is incredible! Thank you for taking the time to reply. It was extremely helpful.

        0 points
  • Mike LMike L, 6 months ago (edited 6 months ago )

    On building design teams. Zuckerberg talked recently to Y Combinator and discounted the approach of hiring based so heavily on experience, saying "Even if you're 19, you've done side projects and interesting stuff, and I think what's important is not to believe that someone has to have specifically done the job that they're going to do in order to be able to do it well" -- that even quality, somewhat unrelated work is a better indicator of talent.

    So I was curious to hear about the training that goes into a team member's start at FB if they don't have as much experience at that job. Assuming that the quote reflects your approach, as well.

    0 points
  • Darren Treat, 6 months ago

    Hi Margaret, Thank you for your AMA!!! In your role, how do you balance user experience and profit and how do you justify it to management? Thanks!

    0 points
    • Margaret Stewart, 6 months ago

      Thanks for the question, Darren. It's a really good one. There are always the extremes when it comes to issues like this. In this scenario, one extreme is making all decisions based on what will generate the most revenue, and the other extreme is not thinking at all about revenue. As is true with most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in the middle :) It's important to care about creating a sustainable business, and ultimately it's the value that you put out into the world through your products that matters. The key thing is what do you primarily oriented yourself around, and what is secondary.

      At Facebook, we look at the value we generate for people all around the world as the most important goal. If we create a lot of value for people, then businesses will be able to crate value for themselves by connecting with those people in meaningful ways. One has to follow the other. This is important, because it affects the decisions you make, ensuring that you focus on long term value and not short term gains.

      This focus on long term value is really important. If you try to generate as much short term revenue from people and businesses as you can, you'll have a nice blip in your revenue chart. But you will end up eroding trust with everyone in the long run. If you take the long view on things, and ask yourself how you can be a valuable part of people's lives over years, you end up making a different set of decisions, and ultimately, creating a healthier, more sustainable business.

      As far as justifying it to management, I am lucky that I don't have to spend a lot of energy justifying this to Facebook's leaders, since our they really drive these philosophies from the top down. Ultimately, creating great user experiences is everyone's job.

      If you find yourself in a culture where short term revenue comes first, perhaps you can think about how you might change/evolve that culture by showing a different path, visualizing the long term affects of the current decision making, or helping leaders empathize with what their decisions are doing to the user experience. It can be a tough thing to change, but if you succeed, you will transform the business for the better.

      0 points