The Social Mission.
“Facebook was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.”
At first glance Mark Zuckerberg’s own words speak more of his vision than his corporate aims. The above quote has something of the evangelical about it, especially coming from a man who controls around 57 % of the board of his company. At this point Zuckerberg really doesn’t need to convert anyone else to his way of thinking.
In his letter to investors announcing the IPO he stated that “Facebook was not originally created to be a company,” and somehow that still rings true: Facebook is not your typical company, although it now has 3200 employees, 3.7 Billion Dollars of revenue and 1 billion after tax net income from 2011.
For a company that was started in a university dorm room, Facebook has forged a path that has significantly changed both the digital and the real world in less than a decade, from web, culture, and politics to marketing. It’s hard to deny that Facebook is not just the world’s largest social network, but somehow a vital part of the way we all currently access and navigate the web. It has set the agenda for our digital futures.
During its brief eight year lifespan, Facebook has instigated a massive social disruption and a process of open behaviours, open data, open innovation, crowdsourcing and exposure of privacy and people’s full profiles in real time, the like of which has never been seen before. Moreover this was done with the permission of almost one billion individuals, 1/7 of the world’s population. This process, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar business, has also spurred the creation and proliferation of other very profitable digital and virtual goods businesses. Facebook’s IPO will probably create around 1,000 millionaires, with Facebook being valued by investors at as much as $100bn. This is a huge sum, especially when you consider that we are in a period that has bordered on economic depression, with western economies coming dangerously close to collapsing and the world’s financial markets undergoing a great recession.