Which version of Facebook are you using? Did you know there are tens of thousands of versions of Facebook running at any one time – and you’re using just one of them?
In an interview this week with Y Combinator, Mark Zuckerberg explains that in today’s fast-changing world, “The key is building a company that is focused at learning as fast as possible.”
“Companies are learning organisms. You can make decisions so you can either make it learn faster or you learn slower.”
This is how Facebook makes that happen:
“We invest in this huge testing framework and at any given point of time there isn’t just one version of Facebook running in the World. There’s probably tens of thousands of versions running.”
“Because engineers here have the power to try out an idea, and ship it to maybe 10,000 people or 100,000 people. And then they get a read-out on that version of what they did – whether it was a change to show better content on Newsfeed or a UI change or new feature.”
“They get a read-out on how that version performed compared to the baseline version of Facebook that we have – on everything that we care about: How connected people are, how much people are sharing, how much they say they’re finding meaningful content; Business metrics like how much revenue we make, and engagement of the overall community…”
“By running tens of thousands of different experiments and putting the power in people’s hands to try out all these different things you can imagine we make so much more progress than we could if every change had to be approved by me, or if every idea had to come from management.”
Have you designed your company as a learning organism? If so, these five things will be true:
1) You don’t have one perfect product version, but multiple versions that improve daily.
2) You have a measurable baseline of customer experience that rises weekly.
3) Your research & development isn’t a separate department, but everyone’s daily focus.
4) Your customer is the most important member of your product development team.
5) The role of your leadership isn’t to tell but to listen.
We’re living in a world where learning comes before earning. That’s why a small startup can rapidly overtake a large company.
What if this approach of openly testing new things in the market feels too risky to you? The best advice Mark ever got from his first investor, Peter Thiel? Mark says Peter told him: “In a world that’s changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk.”
You can watch the full video interview here: https://youtu.be/Lb4IcGF5iTQ