Facebook co-founder describes shambolic start of business

@ 2012/11/20
At an event at the Said Business School in Oxford, Andrew McCallum, who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg, described how the idea came to fruition in a week.

Speaking at the Silicon Valley comes to Oxford event, McCallum (pictured, right) said that both of them thought they’d be kicked out of Harvard for starting the idea. He said that Zuckerberg came up with the code for the first version of Facebook in a week, while McCallum was to be responsible for the design. Even though he didn’t know anything about design, he used a pirated copy of Photoshop to come up with a plan.

McCallum said he was “disciplined” by Harvard but said that both co-founders had no idea that eight years on, a billion people would be using the social network.

“At a startup, there’s a million things that need to be done. We were spending half of our time keeping the servers up,” McCallum said.

And that has been a continuing theme with Facebook, he said. At one tme, Zuckerberg would alter a piece of code on the live version of the site.

Facebook was so dissatisfied with the price of servers from Dell, HP and IBM that it decided to release its own server product. And a number of big names have taken up their designs, adding ther own modifications, including Apple and Goldman Sachs. He said that the FB design managed to achieve a 38 percent energy reduction.

McCallum declined to predict the future of Facebook in years to come. He said the market dynamics change so fast that it's pointless to try and look far into the future.

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