Facebook’s hacker culture is what has helped to company grow and reinvent itself through unexpected solutions over and over again. There is no guarantee that this will still be the right recipe for success in the future, but for now it works…
What do you do when you are faced by a problem that calls for an unconventional solution? You hack it!
Hacker culture is a phenomenon that has helped open doors for many start-ups and their employees, but nowhere has the approach had greater impact than Facebook.
"Hacker culture is about finding solutions that are new, with low cost and innovative," says Angelas Zäh, International Growth Manager at Facebook. She has come to offer a public lecture on hacker culture to a number of students and other listeners, most of whom are hackers themselves.
Her lecture at the second DLDL Open Campus begins after a brief introduction by partners from CDTM and IBC, and a couple of welcoming words from Hubert Burda Digital’s own Chief Scientist, Jean-Paul Schmetz.
Zäh takes the audience on a virtual trip around Facebook headquarters, showing off a handful of motivational posters that embody the company culture.
"What would you do if you weren’t afraid?" says one. "Done is better than perfect" says another.
"Hacker culture is a lifestyle, it can be applied to things outside code," Zäh says as she describes how employees "hacked" their office space to gain more space. At Facebook, these things are normal, she says.
Hackathons - all-night sessions of hacking, coding and project building at the company offices - have paved the way for unforeseen innovations. Like the “Translate post” function, which came almost by coincidence from the hands of intern during a hackathon.
The audience tunes in with questions about Facebook’s role in a mediatized world, its ambitions and outlook for the future. Zäh answers by showing a number of big yellow poster, saying “This journey is 1% finished!”
A participant wants to know whether this attitude will still be there in 20 years, as the company grows. “Will hacker culture still be relevant? Or will you be 99% finished then?”
Zäh smiles and shrugs as she gives her answer.