The Definitive Guide to Business

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook's News Feed shows how important it is to make 'big bets'

Mark Zuckerberg
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg

You've got to risk big to win big.

Ten years ago, Mark Zuckerberg and the team at Facebook launched the News Feed. And it didn't go over well.

"About 1 million people joined a protest group threatening to quit if we didn't change Facebook back," says Zuckerberg in a post on his own Facebook page honoring the anniversary. "I remember there were actual protesters in the streets outside our office demanding we change."

Facebook's product lead Chris Cox remembers sneaking out the back door of the Facebook offices to avoid the protests.

When Facebook launched in 2004, each user had a profile page, but there was not a central place for updates to be organized. The idea of a central stream of posts was revolutionary. Today, however, the News Feed is central to the social media experience.

Zuckerberg is proud of his team for pushing forward with the change, despite resistance.

"One of the things I'm most proud of about Facebook is that we believe things can always be better, and we're willing to make big bets if we think it will help our community over the long term," writes Zuckerberg. "News Feed has been one of the big bets we've made in the past 10 years that has shaped our community and the whole internet the most."

To be sure, overhauling Facebook to install the News Feed was a huge undertaking.

"Technically, News Feed is one of the most advanced systems we've built. For more than 1 billion people every day, it considers everything your friends are posting and all of the media content you might be interested in," says Zuckerberg. "Nothing like it has ever been built before."

But taking the easy path isn't the entrepreneurial way.

As early Facebook investor Peter Thiel counseled Zuckerberg when he was just starting out: "In a world that's changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk."