Why doesn’t Facebook do X?

  1. Facebook is a big company.
  2. Trying new ideas at big companies is hard.
  3. Most employees at big companies don’t have a lot of authority over what they spend their time on. Nor do they necessarily care, getting a check+bennies and saving the world doesn’t have to go hand in hand.
  4. Employees can suggest new ideas, but they have to go through voting committees and approval chains, where they die.
  5. By the time a novel idea makes it up to the ladder, the people with the idea get so frustrated that they realize that they can just start a start-up.
  6. The people that are capable of doing something about this at scale AND crazy enough to sacrifice all the social capital (and capital) of working at Facebook in the long term, is actually not that big of a pool. There are only 18M software developers in the world, fewer with an understanding of business and even fewer with an understanding of people.

This actually makes me very optimistic about a solution and validates the problem. Despite the barrier to entry and clear hurdles in the long term: a lot of smart people are trying to solve it.

But yeah, the bigger problem I see is asymmetric search capability. An advertiser on Facebook has much more sophisticated “search” at their disposal than us as consumers. It’s cake for an advertiser to find “new ncssm parents in the Raleigh area” or even “new Ncssm alumni parents in the Raleigh area that are searching for other Ncssm alumni parents in the Raleigh area”, but that’s not readily available to us, why?

We can look to Facebook’s financial model for clues: Facebook doesn’t want you to get off Facebook. It’s a media company. All of the necessary data to help people find each other has existed for decades. There are probably 20+ ncssm alumni at Facebook based on the fact that I know 4 off the top of my head, without trying to look. Ironically, they probably don’t all know about each other.

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