Six Lessons from Six Years at Facebook
Friday was my last day at Facebook. It was an experience of a lifetime, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. Here’s the note I wrote to my colleagues.
I was originally going to circulate this to just friends, but with the positive feedback I have gotten I decided to use this venue to post more widely.
As hard as a decision it was to make, September 21st will be my last day at Facebook. Over the last six years, I have worked with a tremendous amount of love and energy on the opportunities this community has allowed me to be a part of.
I am grateful for the projects I have been a part of. I am grateful for every single ounce of progress we were able to make, and every launch we were able to do. I am grateful for the faith that people have put in me, the guidance that I was given, and the opportunities I have received.
Most of all, I am grateful for the bold, talented, tireless people I have had the great fortune of meeting, working with, and learning from.
As there is too much to cover about the last six years, here are some lessons I learned.
1. Figure out what you want to optimize for.
Having impact for the company is your job, but what is the purpose of this job to you? How can you look back and be proud of the time you spent?
For me, I have always optimized for learning. This has put me in some uncomfortable and inefficient situations, but I can honestly look back and say I have learned from every single one.
2. Find your people.
We move fast. This is a hard job. Find your support system, both inside and outside of the company. Find people you can lean on, people that invigorate you, and people who aren’t afraid to be honest. I feel very fortunate to still have strong connections to the people I have worked with throughout my time here.
3. Be patient, yet vigilant.
It is easy to want to get things done fast. It is easy to look at the past half and feel like not enough progress was made. A lot of the roles we take on, and the work we do will only pay off in the long term. So be patient and aim for the prize. However, don’t be apathetic. If you sense that something isn’t right, and you cannot shake it, figure out how to best impact it.
4. Give feedback in the right venue.
Feedback is important. Being honest and calling out potential pitfalls even more so. Be thoughtful about how, and where, you give this feedback. Nobody wins if you call someone out on potential bad behaviour amongst a group of their peers.
Find the right venue to give feedback, and it will likely be more effective.
5. Listening is Knowing.
Don’t make assumptions. Asking questions is the best way to get to know as much as you can. By asking questions, intentionally listening, and analyzing people’s position, you can figure out at what level you should have a conversation. Is this about a detail? Is this about a structural problem? Is this about strategy?
The strongest leaders I have seen move around this company have always observed and asked questions first. And if you don’t feel comfortable asking questions in a meeting, ask them over Messenger, or in a group.
6. Pace yourself.
I learned this one the hard way. There were weeks where I would get on 640AM commute in, and 10PM commute out. And I definitely had the energy for it. But these things catch up on you. So make sure to pace yourself.
Nobody wins when you’re tired, when you’re on edge, and when you’re off balance. Use your PTO wisely, find ways to reduce your commute, force yourself to have lunch away from your screen.
Thanks again for all the great moments and memories. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.