Top Facebook Exec Leaving To Do His Own Thing, More Departures Could Follow

And so it begins: Facebook CTO and platform guru Bret Taylor is leaving Facebook this summer,  off to do a startup with Google App Engine founder Kevin Gibbs. Taylor confirmed the news in (of course) a Facebook update.

This is one of the first in a wave of Facebook departures we’re hearing, as a slew of older employees have hit their four year stock cliffs, and the 90 day IPO lockout fast approaches. According to a source, many Facebook employees including one other executive are already planning what to do next.

It makes sense. With the stock price low, additional RSUs granted to keep people sticking around won’t be nearly as good a retention mechanism.

I’ve also been hearing separately that due to the IPO fallout, Facebook is currently under a modified hiring freeze, with groups that were previously allotted slots for senior-level positions having had those slots reneged. Lower level deals and hires are still happening from what I’m hearing.

So is this a harbinger of a hiring sea change? Facebook has had a monopoly on the best and brightest engineering talent for the past couple of years and it’ll shake the Valley to its core if this is indeed the case.

Well, if the founder life isn’t for you future Facebook refugee, we hear Pinterest is hiring.

Facebook will introduce apps based on its new Open Graph and Gestures

Facebook will introduce apps based on its new Open Graph and Gesturesplatforms at an event Wednesday in San Francisco, according to a report.The apps will let users “frictionlessly” share based on actions other than “like,” “read” or “watch,” according to AllThingsD, which cites “sources” in the report.

Reps from Facebook could not be reached for comment.

Facebook announced the upgrade to Open Graph at the f8 conference in San Francisco in September. The move was prompted by Facebook’s assertion that the Like button constrained sharing because it was an implicit endorsement of content. Facebook wants users to share everything they are doing, whether it’s watching a show or hiking a trail, so the company decided to create a way to “express lightweight activity.”

Since then, apps from Hulu, Spotify and The Washington Post have been based on the “read” and “watch” buttons. Now, Facebook plans to unveil a group of apps that use Gestures beyond those, according to the report.

The New Open Graph

Facebook’s introduction of the new Open Graph in September did more than just expand the range of Gestures available to app developers. The new platform is also different in three major ways compared to the old Open Graph, including:

  • Apps no longer have to ask for permission to post content to Facebook over and over again. Instead, a new Facebook permissions screen explains exactly what type of stories will be shared the first time you give an app permission to post to your Facebook. Once completed, it will no longer have to ask for permission.
  • Updates through the new Open Graph appear in the ticker automatically, but do not appear in the News Feed unless it’s an important event. This makes it easy to discover new content from your friends in real time.
  • Users can share experiences, such as listening to music, through the new Facebook Open Graph and the ticker.

Facebook – Timeline application

It’s a wonderful life

Facebook Timeline, a complete overhaul of personal profiles that is being rolled out in the coming weeks, is built around a similarly simple and powerful idea: what if you could see your whole life in one place?

Timeline is a way of visualizing your life (or rather your life as it has been lived on Facebook). You can easily scroll through and see the friends you made, the photos you uploaded, your relationship statuses, and even your illnesses and surgeries–if you choose to share them. You can see highlights from a particular year or bore down to individual months and days.

It’s a beautiful–and beautifully designed–vision, and it makes me wish my grandparents had magically used Facebook their entire lives so I could go back and scroll through their Timelines to learn more about them now that they’re gone. I could easily see photos of when my parents were born, what my hometown looked like 50 years ago, and what it was like to be a fledgling beekeeper in Eastern Oregon during the Great Depression.

If Facebook’s vision comes to pass, Timeline could be a visual catalog of every life ever lived, from the ordinary to the extraordinary. We could see the benchmarks in our friends’ lives, watch people age, see their old prom and wedding photos and the birth of their children.

In the words of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, “It’s all here, it’s your whole life.”

Death of a Threat: Netflix CEO Joins Facebook Board… It Matters (NFLX)

Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was under some worries before when Facebook announced that it was going to get into video delivery of selected movies.  In a SWOT analysis, the Facebook issue always fell under the O and the T as opportunity and threat alike.  This no longer appears to be a threat.  Facebook has announced today that Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix will join the Facebook board of directors.

MarketWatch has a full backgrounder on the news here.  Facebook is obviously gearing up its team for an upcoming IPO.  It is one of our Top 17 IPOs To Watch in 2011.

Why this matters is complex, yet simple enough.  There was a thought that it is only natural for Facebook to get into digital distribution of films.  The outfit has even announced some limited streaming deals already.

If Facebook wanted to get deep into the video distribution business, it has hundreds of millions accounts already.  The movie studios have already shown over and that they are all just about willing to take the arms-dealer business model and deal with anyone who will pay under a contract to deliver movies.

The only real difference is over who gets the new releases first.  For Facebook to get into the video delivery business, all it has to do is to buy more bandwidth.  Still, partnering with Netflix is a no-cost or low-cost solution that could come with extremely high margins.

Taco Bell’s behavioral puzzle – “We haven’t even been able to give away the food, never mind figure out how to sell it online”

Speaking to a group of Northwestern University marketing students, Yum! Brands Chief Public Affairs Officer Jonathan Blum shared the story of recent Taco Bell promotion flop that shows the difficulty the chain has had turning social media into a viable business model. Said Blum: “We haven’t even been able to give away the food, never mind figure out how to sell it online.”

Over the course of a year, the number of friends on Taco Bell’s Facebook page rocketed from 500,000 to 6 million fans. Sounds great. Then, in the middle of an ongoing unflattering lawsuit about the quality of its beef, Taco Bell decided to offer those 6 million fans a free taco — no strings attached. They didn’t need to buy anything. They were already Facebook fans, which means they had already paid the very minor costs of “liking” Taco Bell. It was an offer from a company that Blum says wanted to tell its fans, hey, come and get a free taco.

Two hundred thousand people did. Almost 97 percent on passed on free grub they supposedly “liked.”

Cases like that explain why the bulk of Taco Bell’s marketing budget goes to television (and some radio) ads. Social media remains a small part of the budget because the company hasn’t figured out how, in Blum’s words, to use it to “make the cash register ring.”

Inside Facebook’s Next Billion Dollar Business

Facebook’s road to becoming a $100 billion company is to infect every sector of the internet with its social graph, letting other companies build and expand their business on top of it and taking a toll in exchange for that.

Facebook is now number one in display advertising, which is a $2 billion business for them.

Facebook is the enabler of social games, which is now a multibillion dollar industry, and takes a cut through advertising and credits.

Facebook is staffing up and partnering with Amazon to drive commerce through Facebook.

But the next big endeavor is music, Giga Om says in a report revealing Facebook’s upcoming big social music service.

Here’s how it will look, according to Giga Om: your Facebook homepage will include a Music tab leading to a Music Dashboard where you will be able to listen to music and see what music your friends are listening to.

Facebook will partner with Spotify but also other services to provide the service. There have long been talks of some kind of big partnership between Spotify and Facebook when it launches in the US, but it seems that it’s only a small part of a much broader endeavor to build a huge social music service.

The goal is to do for music what it did for games: use its social graph to help Facebook users discover music and help music startups get users.

At eG8 Forum, Mark Zuckerberg said he thought the next industry to get disrupted by social, after games, would be music, and then movies.

It’s not clear if and how Facebook can make money directly from music. Facebook can take a 30% cut off social games because virtual goods have zero marginal costs. By contrast songs streamed over the internet (at least legally) have high licensing costs; indeed, most internet streaming businesses have unprofitable unit economics. It doesn’t seem likely that internet music startups can afford to pay yet another tollmaster.

However, a music dashboard would get Facebook users to stay on all through the day if that’s where they stream music from, and so they would see a lot more ads.

Also, it’s a nice swipe at Apple if their music service ends up rocking and being really good, given how undewhelming Apple’s own social music service Ping has been. The rivalry between Apple and Facebook is heating up in a big way with Apple integrating Twitter deeply into iOS and Facebook trying to bypass Apple’s app store with an app platform based on HTML5.

Read more:

Facebook’s New Deal Page Premieres

Today, Facebook’s new Deals feature was launched in five cities around the U.S.; here’s a first glimpse of how those offers will look and function.

First, users who opt into Deals will get to see opportunities specific to their locations. Those offers will arrive via email or, in some cases, will appear in the user’s news feed on Facebook.

To be clear, these aren’t like the checkin-based deals for mobile users that Facebook launched for its nascent Places platform; while the initial mobile Deals product competed with Foursquare, the new product competes more with Groupon.

Each deal will have its own Facebook landing page, as shown below. Users can “Like” a deal, share it via several channels on the site, or opt to buy it right away. When purchasing the deal, users can pay with credit card or Facebook Credits.

It’s unknown whether Facebook will make more money from Credits purchases than from traditional ones. A rep said via email, “We’re not disclosing details about revenue splits, but paying with Credits will work the same way as paying with a credit card. It’s simply another way for people to pay for Deals. We think this just makes things easier for people using Facebook.”

Facebook Deals’ Landing Page

Example of a Facebook Deal

Buying a Facebook Deal

Sharing a Facebook Deal