Facebook Employees Naomi Gleit And Julie Zhuo Share Advice On Massive Growth

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Today's Women 2.0 Conference on February 14, 2013 is being livestreamed here today and video will be available post-event. By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

Early Facebook employees deliver a case study on scaling from millions to billions at the Women 2.0 Conference on Valentine's Day. The product leader responsible for Facebook's growth, Naomi Gleit talks onstage as the second most tenured employee at Facebook next to Mark Zuckerberg.

"When I joined Facebook, I knew I wanted to work on growth. I started by working on projects that were important to growth, launching high school networks and internationalization. In 2007, we decided growth was important enough that they have dedicated a team to it, a model replicated to other companies," said Naomi Gleit.

She sums up lessons learned in her experiences growing Facebook's audience, advising for startup individuals to "understand, identify and execute." She goes on:

  1. Understand your data - "In 2007, there was no data" being understood at Facebook. "We were throwing spaghetti against the wall, running around like chickens with our heads cut off." The better approach is to ask ourselves "are all of our systems actually working? Are there bugs? Are there areas for improvement?" Analyze your waterfall chart.
  2. Identify bugs - "Our invitation flow timed out when you invite over 500 people," said Gleit. Fix your bigs! Not only should you fix your bugs and track your metrics, track what doesn't work. Your metrics will not all be going up and to the right. Be brave enough to track even the metrics that may dip - and then fix the bugs!
  3. Execute - As a senior product director at Facebook, Naomi Gleit commands two month roadmap cycles. The team is broken up into small task forces and A/B test as fast as possible. "Done is better than perfect," she iterated. Move quickly.

The story of growth is about removing barriers. Facebook opened registration from select schools in 2006, internationalized (languages) in 2008 and now is focusing on creating rich experiences on mobile devices.

To finish, Julie Zhuo shares some examples on improving microbarriers at Facebook.

You can watch the entire video from the Women 2.0 Conference - we will be posting them online, check back soon.

Photo credit: Lisa Lee on Instagram.

Follow the conversation on Twitter with hash tag #w2conf today and shout out to Women 2.0 at @women2!

Angie Chang is Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Women 2.0, a media company offering content, community and conferences for aspiring and current women innovators in technology. Our mission is to increase the number of female founders of technology startups with inspiration, information and education through our platform. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.