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How Noah Kagan Got Fired From Facebook and Lost $100 Million 236

Posted by timothy
from the but-who's-counting dept.
First time accepted submitter abhi2012 writes "Noah Kagan, a former Facebook product manager, has written a brutally honest article about how and why he got fired from Facebook in 2006 and what he learned from it. The experience must be particularly painful, given that it eventually cost Kagan a $100 million fortune."
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How Noah Kagan Got Fired From Facebook and Lost $100 Million

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  • What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3@justconnected . n et> on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:02PM (#41510231)

    I actually mostly read TFA. This guy sounds like an asshole, but at least he does a decent job admitting it. For those of you too impatient to slog through it, he basically says "I was a product manager but I wasn't very good at product managing" and "I used the brand more than I added to it" (w.r.t holding parties at the office, self-aggrandizing on his blog about working at FB). Not to mention going behind people's backs, like all of Marketing, on a new feature.

    Short version: I was a liability, and they fired me for it. At least I learned something.

  • A lesson (Score:5, Informative)

    by mallyn (136041) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:06PM (#41510253) Homepage
    I did read the article.

    The person may be an ******, but that does not mean the article is worthless. It is a lesson to take with you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:08PM (#41510273)

    I think the scary thing is that there are still so many people who genuinely don't know.

    They provide free time-wasting software to you, and encourage you to tell them all about you. and your friends. Information about you is the product.
    They sell info about you to advertisers and businesses. They are the customers.

    Will they make enough money to become a long-term stable business before Twitter and/or the Next Next Next Big Thing (TM) steals all of their thunder? Will Justin Timberlake resurrect MySpace, fulfilling one of the signs of the impending Apocalypse? I hope the Cubs winning the World Series is the next sign on the list.

    We'll see.

  • Re:why do we care? (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday (582209) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:14PM (#41510317)
    The single best take-home message in the post is nothing new, but have you truly internalized it? You are replaceable, and firing you would hurt you much more than the company. I work in research and it's even worse: whenever somebody leaves, nobody even bothers to carry on the work they'd been doing. What does that mean?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:19PM (#41510349)

    Anyone who trusts Michael Arrington needs to be canned. This guy was a walking social engineering liability.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rgbrenner (317308) on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:32PM (#41510441)

    That, plus.. according to wikipedia [wikipedia.org] he worked there for 8 months over 6 years ago.

    At that point, Facebook was already running for nearly two years.

    Get over it already... you didn't lose $100m... you were a momentary employee of facebook, where had you stayed for 10x longer, and your share wasn't diluted, and etc etc etc.. you might have made $100m.

  • Re:What? (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 30, 2012 @11:59PM (#41510549)

    In his previous blog post he lists The Fountainhead as a book that changed his life. That's like Charles Manson carving a swastica into his forehead: it's a clear warning to everyone else. Thanks for letting us know up front and saving us the time, benefit of the doubt wise.

  • by rnswebx (473058) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:23AM (#41510629)

    That is not all. Facebook also makes a tidy sum from their Facebook "credits" by taking a 30% cut from app transactions on their platform.

  • by am 2k (217885) on Monday October 01, 2012 @06:48AM (#41511595) Homepage

    No one bothers with the niche anymore and that's too bad.

    Kickstarter takes care of a lot of niche projects and projects that turn out to be not-that-niche-after-all now.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Monday October 01, 2012 @06:51AM (#41511603) Homepage Journal

    The purpose of a corporation can be for things other than to "maximize profits and increase shareholder equity" (a typical phrase in many corporate charters). A really good example of a corporate charter that has other purposes is Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, which explicitly put social progress and other corporate goals besides making a profit into its corporate charter.

    If you are an investor and have not read a prospectus about the company and especially if you don't have a clue what the goals and corporate charter have to say about that company, you are being foolish in even investing into such a company.

    I know of one particular company (I won't bother naming it because this was said informally) whose express purpose is to provide full employment for the citizens of South Dakota. Another company (Fortune 500 and traded on the NYSE) has in its corporate charter to act as a beneficiary to the development and welfare of a smallish Mid-western town in America. There are also a few corporations that have been established "to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ" or to promote science and other various purposes that have nothing to do with making a profit. Elon Musk, in the case of SpaceX, openly admits that the purpose of his company is to "make mankind a multi-planetary species". The "Newman's Own" company also has a strong charitable mission where none of the profits are even given to shareholders.

    In some cases (like SpaceX) earning a profit is certainly very useful and helpful to the ultimate goal so it doesn't even hold that the company must be a "non-profit" company to have purposes other than maximizing profit. If a company fails to meet the overall purpose of the company, it could be argued that the fiduciary responsibility of the board of directors and the corporate officers has not been met, even if perhaps they are maximizing profits.

  • by Spuffin (466692) on Monday October 01, 2012 @12:12PM (#41514159)

    What exactly does Noah Kagan do? Writing blogs is certainly not his superpower. After reading it I felt I knew less than when I started.

    Here is another of his sites which has more of his experience: http://noahkagan.com/ [noahkagan.com]

    I'll echo some of the same sentiments others are posting here in that I don't know what he really did at FB but given the information on the site above, here are some highlights:

    Internship at MS in 2003 for ~3 months during the summer before his Senior year; the experience definitely looks like he took a few liberties describing his responsibility.
    Bachelor's in business administration and economics from UC Berkeley in 2004
    Moved on to Intel from 2004-2005; again his experience looks a bit exaggerated. I don't doubt there is truth to it but in my opinion, the way it reads gives the reader the impression his responsibilities were much more than they actually were.
    Moved on to Facebook in October 2005 until he was fired in June 2006. For those keeping tabs, that is less than 1 year of experience at FB. Furthermore, the experience he lists has a lot of what I would consider technical in nature yet he does not have a Comp Sci or related degree. Given the liberties I feel he has taken with his other experience, I don't think this one would be any different. If he helped market facebook during its infancy then he should be marketing that (hah) a lot more than "his" experience with these technical items.

    At the end of the day, he joined Facebook with about 1 year of actual work experience under his belt and he got fired from Facebook after having worked there less than 1 year. Did he lose out on $100M other than what he feels he would have eventually worked up to had he been there until the IPO? Not a chance.

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