These two words are the first thing every programmer learns how to make a computer say. Just a simple print statement declaring that the system exists. A pertinent thought to consider in regards to my summer internship at Facebook.
Facebook is dominated by hacker culture, something born from computer engineers and their love of tinkering and creating. However, hacking is a mindset, and as such is not restricted to any one discipline.
The idea of hacking is to take an idea, and to make it happen as quickly as possible. It doesn’t require long brainstorming sessions. It doesn’t require regular team meetings. It doesn’t require high-level business planning and strategy.
What it takes is a willingness to fail.
Not every hack works, but the lessons learned are often far more useful than the actual product. Hacking teaches teamwork, efficiency, determination and creativity. Hacker culture and Facebook as a company are governed by a mantra of “Done is better than good”. All of these skills are needed to stick to that creed, and to make something be done.
Once it’s finished, you can always make it better. Just make sure the product ships.
I intern on the Direct Sales Operations team, a team of Facebookers that handle ad sales with the biggest advertisers on the platform: clients like P&G, Verizon and American Express. I don’t even come close to looking at code. But we still hack.
Hacking is a labor of love, tenacity and optimism. The rapid ideation and creation involved might create 99 pieces of crap, but the sheer joy of that 1 in 100 masterpiece is worth it.
Every day I feel like I’m learning something new, but if there are two things I’m going to take away from this summer, they are these:
1) Don’t be afraid to fail and/or break something
2) Creating something decent is better than not making something great
I hope you’re all having a great summer, and I look forward to bringing everything I learn this summer back with me in the Fall. In the meantime, get to the beach, enjoy some sun, and keep COM!