Five new product development learnings from Facebook

Facebook Mark Z.
  • General Business Strategy
  • June 11, 2021

Racing to be first to market with your new product?

Take a deep breath and learn from Zuckerberg. His wasn’t the first social media site, but he won the race in the long run.


Here are Facebook’s five product development success strategies that any business should adopt:

1. Don’t dream it, do it 

It’s not about being the only one with the idea. ‘The Zuck’ might have nabbed the idea for Facebook from his college friends, but he was the one who executed. Unless you get the idea off paper and into something tangible it’s worth very little to nothing.

2. Forget about perfection 

The first version of Facebook was extremely basic compared to the current model. It was a pretty basic ‘Minimum Viable Product’ but it provided critical real-world user feedback that its developers used to build out the features that became so popular.

3. Walk before you run

Competitor platform Friendster died when it couldn’t keep up with the number of users – it slowed to a crawl. Zuckerberg released his product at Harvard and then slowly opened it to surrounding universities. Facebook didn’t grow quicker than the technology could support.

4. Live inside your market’s heads

Zuck started life as his own user, that college kid wanting to connect with peers. Hearing about ex-classmates not being aware of groups for organizing reunions led Facebook to add a group search feature that generated a 30% increase in group memberships. Now, their VP of Product Design, Julie Zhou, asks three simple but far-reaching questions when considering new products:

1. What people problem are we trying to solve?
2. How do we know this is a real problem?
3. How will we know if this problem is solved?

5. Love your data

Data is god at Facebook. Not only does it guide every aspect of product development, it’s become their billion-dollar commodity. (Of course, the abuse of this data has also become its downfall, but that’s a tale for another post).

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