The Quintessential Outlier

Before reading this book, I didn’t really know what to expect. Having not seen The Social Network, I didn’t know much of the history behind Facebook. After reading more than a third of the book, I find the story fascinating. Everything that Malcolm Gladwell suggested causes success seems to have occurred. Mark Zuckerberg introduced it at the right time- after most people had fast internet connections and before another company had really established itself. He was also born and raised in a wealthy family, allowing him to go to Exeter Academy where he met other child prodigies, proceeded to be accepted into Harvard, and have the programming knowledge in order to create his company. Zuckerberg was willing to defy authority as he did with Facemash and take risks, such as investing into Facebook a lot of his and his family’s money. Additionally, he and his friends worked tirelessly in order to make it a success, including dropping out of school to work on their projects full-time.

One of the most important values of Zuckerberg was that he wasn’t interested in becoming rich; he wanted to accomplish things. That is, in my opinion, what allowed Facebook to succeed. Had he inserted all of the different types of proposed advertisements, users would have been turned away. People hate pop-up ads and any other type of ad that distracts them from what they are trying to accomplish. I know that if these existed on the website, I would probably be too annoyed to use it. I found it really funny how they at one point posted “We don’t like these either but they pay the bills” (47) above the advertisements that did exist. By knowing what the users would and would not like, Zuckerberg was able to tailor the site to meet students’ wants and needs.

The problem I have with the book itself is that it tends to be repetitive. There were multiple places where the author mentioned the workers at Facebook using an instant messenger to communicate instead of talking out loud. This was amusing and intriguing the first time, but by the second time it was no longer new and no longer able to keep my attention. The minimalism of Facebook and the fact that it was based on users’ real identities were also discussed multiple times. If David Kirkpatrick would remove these duplications, I would enjoy The Facebook Effect more.

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