Co-Founder Moskovitz Is Gone, But Still Building

People like to point out that Dustin Moskovitz is, on paper, possibly the world's youngest billionaire. He's a co-founder of Facebook, and he was born eight days after CEO Mark Zuckerberg. So depending on the day (and how high the social network's valuation has climbed), Moskovitz might be worth somewhere north of, say, $4 billion.

But he wasn't putting on any billionaire airs when he strolled into the San Francisco Design Center earlier this month to speak at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference. He met up with me before his on-stage chat, gave an easy handshake and was ready to chat.

Moskovitz has left Facebook, but his focus is still very much on building things. Right now he's building Asana, a social platform people and businesses can use to manage projects and stay efficient.

Because it was too easy a conversation opener, I asked him how he feels about the loosely biographical movie The Social Networkwith the benefit of hindsight. (Facebook insiders had worried that it was a hatchet-job, but it actually just sort of elevates the founding of Facebook to mythical status.)

F8 Facebook Developers Conference 2011
F8 Facebook Developers Conference 2011

He seems to agree that the movie was mostly harmless, but is also a bit annoyed that people can't stop asking him about scenes in the movie as though they actually happened. Like, did Sean Parker really come up with dropping "The" from "The Facebook?" Of course not. The founders thought of that when they first registered the URLs. “What, do you think we're stupid?” he joked.

Far from it. Especially since he had the foresight to predict three years ago that Facebook would saturate the world's population by 2015—that it would become nearly as ubiquitous as electricity and cell phones. To a lot of people that sounded a bit ridiculous back then.
But with Facebook's active user base marching toward 800 million, well, not anymore.

What he saw then, he said, was the power of exponential growth and befuddled competitors. Friendster had tripped itself up with poor infrastructure. MySpace had fumbled with a poor architecture and bad management of third-party developers. And Google? Facebook was painfully aware early on that if Google had managed to put the right focus of social, it could have crushed Facebook. But Google could never figure out the social thing, and now Facebook's too big.

After this year's f8 conference, it could get a lot bigger.

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