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Schrage Taking Over Facebook’s Developer Program – Facebook’s Culture Change? WTF? July 14, 2008

Posted by John in Technology.
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Ok I am very surprised by this. Eric Eldon at Venturebeat is reporting that Elliot Schrage is taking over the developer program from Chamath.

Although I am a big Facebook fanboy, I have been critical of them mainly to make sure they don’t pull a Netscape. The best developer platforms have technical executives overseeing the develper programs not PR or Policy executives. Over the past few weeks I’ve been talking to some early Facebook insiders about the culture and was pleasantly surprised to find it a very technical culture.

Now this announcement that a PR person is taking over the Facebook developer program? I don’t get how a PR executive and policy guy could get this position. Unless the developer program will have a very international scope. I wonder if this is a sign that the Facebook culture is changing to more policy based rather than technology based?

Facebook better innovate on it’s platform not on its’ PR. I’m worried for Facebook. Will someone correct me on this if I’m offbase?

Comments»

1. Adam Bullied - July 14, 2008

It’s an interesting move. People from all sides of a business can (and have) successfully made the transition in to managing a product before.

Whether this was the right move, or not, will be determined in time with the results Elliot can (or can’t) achieve.

2. John Furrier - July 14, 2008

Adam,
I met Elliot once at Google and he seemed like a nice guy. In Palo Alto I’ve had conversations with Facebook employees and they seem to have a very engineering oriented culture (which is good). What surprised me was the fact that Elliot has policy background. I wonder if this will change their programs. Maybe it’s PR that Facebook needs but I think that their platform needs technical innovation first.

3. Adam Bullied - July 14, 2008

I agree; they need to keep iterating and innovating on the platform.

I still think they can get that innovation, so long as Elliot doesn’t think he’s the one responsible for coming up with how to technically innovate.

If he plays the role of execution and air traffic control, and knows how to listen to the super smart technical people working for / reporting to him, the innovation should still come. Just in a different way. I’d hope he doesn’t expect to be the one doing all the whiteboarding and coding🙂

I think, even though he’s not technical, if he knows how to gather feedback and parse it (with the help and validation of the great people on his team now), the platform should still progress.

But, I agree that it could go either way; Facebook and Elliot may get too wrapped up in trying to make sure the platform is positioned the right way (which is also required), but may lose the guiding line of pushing it further.

4. Facebook Hires VP Engineering - Is He Taking of Schrage’s Job « Furrier.org - Business & Technology Blog - July 28, 2008

[…] said, I think the question is “Is Elliot Schrage Being Replaced to Run the Platform”?  I was very critical when I heard that Facebook was going to hire a PR guy to run their developer pla….  Having a guy like Mike Schroepfer is a good thing and I’m waiting for Facebook to clarify […]


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