The Facebook Effect

David Kirkpatrick

Published by

Simon & Schuster

ISBN

978-1-439-10211-4

RRP

$26

Reviewed by

Jude Umeh FBCS CITP

Score

9 out of 10

The Facebook EffectThe Facebook Effect is a chronicle of the creation, establishment and blistering growth of the largest online social networking site in the world. With over 500 million users, Facebook is the latest in a line of technology game changers like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, eBay and Google.

This book gives the reader an inside view of Facebook; starting from its inauspicious beginnings to the heady heights of Silicon Valley and multi-billion dollar valuation.

It is filled with remarkable anecdotes, described in a novel-like narrative (with pictures) that leaves the reader feeling like they were present in the dorm-room, boardroom or other locations, right alongside the main protagonists, in Facebook’s six year journey to the present day.

The author clearly had unprecedented access and must have spent a significant amount of time interviewing the main characters, particularly Facebook’s CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg, the ridiculously young uber-geek and visionary founder of TheFacebook, as it was originally known.

Mark’s story is inextricably linked with the history of Facebook, and in some ways it comes across as a larger reflection of the personality, beliefs and development of Zuckerberg and his tech savvy generation.

The Facebook Effect does a great job in trying to explain the unique characteristics of Facebook and its founder, which have contributed the most to its current success.

For example, even right from the start, Facebook was not a unique concept; it borrowed freely and built upon the ideas of several nascent social networks and community-based websites including: Friendster, LinkedIn and even MySpace. However, Facebook’s killer proposition evolved from embracing key principles like: membership based on real identities and an aggressive growth first strategy.

Facebook essentially created a service that its users wanted, and one which enabled those same users to derive incremental value by interacting with and growing their social graph (hence the network effect). However, it wasn’t, and still isn’t, all plain sailing for Facebook, as evidenced by several user privacy issues, apologies and law suites described in the book.

Overall this was an excellent, easy-to-read and enjoyable book that succeeds in providing a vivid, contemporary and behind-the-scenes look at an unfolding phenomenon.

My one gripe, apart from the incessant description of Mark Zuckerberg’s rather limited wardrobe, was that my signed copy of the book had half of pages 155 / 156 missing, and for that reason alone I’ve scored this a 9, instead of 10 out of 10 points. I highly recommend The Facebook Effect.

Further Information: Simon & Schuster

July 2010