We have long since retired our old slogan. We were right to do so as it was so often misunderstood. But I do think understanding it will help those trying to more deeply understand Facebook.
Imagine I told you that your goal was to hike to the highest elevation possible. You look around and find the highest peak and scale it. When you get to the top you realize you can now see much higher mountains in the distance. You have two choices: set up camp on your hilltop and call it a day. Or climb down into the valley, to lower elevation, to get to higher ground over the long run.
When we were a college only social network we were at the top of a hill. Opening to all users to get to higher ground meant risking everything. Our college users might have abandoned us. We might never have gotten traction with a larger audience. As history has shown, that change was the right one.
It wasn’t a mistake to start at college. The path matters and you have to start somewhere. But “Move Fast, Break Things” was an exhortation to never get comfortable.
We believe we should never be afraid to risk sacrificing a good product in the search of a great one. If we never broke anything because we were afraid of what might happen then we would not survive in the long run. It is better to fail fast and learn how to push past your limitations than to have bounded success. The competition will be brave.
Most companies end up myopically focused on protecting what they have. They don’t see other companies providing more value to their users until it is too late. To quote Tyler Durden, they end up “polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down, man.” We believe we must be vigilant about the ways consumer expectations are changing. As Andy Grove said, “only the paranoid survive.”
None of this requires a sacrifice in product quality. The great chef Thomas Keller has a sign hanging in his kitchens that reads ”sense of urgency.” Few would accuse him of low quality output. In both cases it just means don’t get complacent. Every second you delay robs your consumers of a better experience. Every second you rest is a second your consumers look elsewhere. Never stop trying to do it faster, make it better, make us stronger. Our work is never over.