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The Boy Kings

A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network

Katherine Losse

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

Description

Kate Losse was a grad school refugee when she joined Facebook as employee #51 in 2005. Hired to answer user questions such as “What is a poke?” and “Why can’t I access my ex-girlfriend’s profile?” her early days at the company were characterized by a sense of camaraderie, promise, and ambition: Here was a group of scrappy young upstarts on a mission to rock Silicon Valley and change the world.

Over time, this sense of mission became so intense that working for Facebook felt like more than just a job; it implied a wholehearted dedication to “the cause.” Employees were incentivized to live within one mile of the office, summers were spent carousing at the company pool house, and female employees were told to wear T-shirts with founder Mark Zuckerberg’s profile picture on his birthday. Losse started to wonder what this new medium meant for real-life relationships: Would Facebook improve our social interactions? Or would we all just adapt our behavior to the habits and rules of these brilliant but socially awkward Internet savants who have become today’s youngest power players? Increasingly skeptical, Losse graduated from customer service to the internationalization team—tasked with rolling out Facebook to the rest of the world— finally landing a seat right outside Zuckerberg’s office as his personal ghostwriter, the voice of the boy king.

This book takes us for the first time into the heart of this fast-growing information empire, inviting us to high-level meetings with Zuckerberg; lifting the veil on long nights of relentless hacking and trolling; taking us behind the scenes of raucous company parties; and introducing us to the personalities, values, and secret ambitions of the floppy-haired boy wonders who are redefining the way we live, love, and work. By revealing here what’s really driving both the business and the culture of the social network, Losse answers the biggest question of all: What kind of world is Facebook trying to build, and is it the world we want to live in? 

***

“Logging on to Facebook that first day, in retrospect, was the second, and to date the last, time that any technology has captured my imagination. The first was when Apple advertised the first laptop, the PowerBook, in the 1990s—with the words, ‘What’s on your PowerBook?’

“‘World domination,’ my teenaged self- answered instinctively. That’s what these devices were made for, I thought: so small and yet so powerful, so capable of linking quickly to and between everything else in the world. From the laptop, I could write and distribute information faster than ever before. It was intoxicating to imagine, and Facebook’s sudden, faithful rendering in 2004 of the physical world into the virtual felt the same. What could you do, now that you could see and connect to everyone and everything, instantly?

“But what, also, could be diminished by such quick access? In the realm of ideas, it seemed easy: Who wouldn’t want to distribute and discuss ideas widely? However, in the realm of the personal, it seemed more complicated. What was the benefit of doing everything in public? Is information itself neutral, or do different types of information have different values, different levels of expectation of privacy, different implications for distribution and consumption? Should all information be shared equally quickly and without regard to my relationship to it? And, finally, and most important, as we ask whenever we begin a new relationship with anything, would this be good for me?”

-- From the Introduction

 

Publishers Weekly Review

Jul 09, 2012 – Losse offers an insider's look into the early years and growing pains of Facebook in this compelling, but ultimately unenlightening book. Anyone who's seen The Social Network or read a shred of gossip news regarding the king of the boy kings, Mark Zuckerberg, will be familiar with Losse's decoction of Facebook's potent mix of youthful exuberance and Silicon Valley hubris. The author was hired as a "customer-support rep" (the company's 51st employee), and was promptly given the "keys to the kingdom—" the master password that gave her access to every user's personal information. But Losse's professional place in the fledgling company was tenuous—she was at once attracted and repelled by the power she wielded, but she also never quite fit into the "Paolo Alto club" culture of the company. Eventually, she served as the official ghostwriter for Zuckerberg, bringing her close to the action, but not quite involved in the action. As such, this reads less like a whistleblower's revelatory tell-all, and more like the personal grumblings of a discontented former employee. Right before Losse quit her job (she also worked on the company's internationalization efforts), she made a final trip down to Sao Paolo with Zuckerberg to bring Facebook into Brazil. There, a security detail tells her that she is "only important because is;" unfortunately, so is this book.

Customer Reviews

Awful

The sense of entitlement the author felt and portrayed throughout the book is not something I understand. Very difficult to read and take seriously.

The Boy Kings
View In iTunes
  • $17.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Business & Personal Finance
  • Published: Jun 26, 2012
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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