Move Fast, Break Things

Bobby Johnson is an expert at fixing things. His job requires him to fix some of the most complex problems on some of the worlds most used platforms. He was Director of Engineering at Facebook, where he led the infrastructure engineering team for six years. During that time his team scaled the site from a few million users to a billion.


During his time at the Start Up Festival which took place in Malta from the 13th to the 14th of October he shared his experience during the early stages of Facebook. As their software developer, Bobby had the important job of fixing the Facebook platform every time it breaks down. Being 2006, this was quite often however, their small business was growing very fast.


Mark Zucherberg then 23 years old, shared with his colleagues that mistakes are important for improvement. This initiated the internal motto, “move fast break things”. Being the “fix it guy,” Bobby, this phrase made him realize that if nothing is going wrong, it is a sign that not enough is being done. As stakes get higher, there are more customers, more revenue and more employees however, they also bring about consequences. As a startup, they were able to move fast and make decisions quickly which lead them to choose the right direction.



 This is more important than any sale or key hire as the process of growing entails learning from your mistakes to be better in the future. As businesses grow, there are more possibilities of things going wrong, thus he notes that it is better to incur a rate of small problems rather than facing a big disaster all at once. This will ensure the startup will have a more efficient flow of operations where problems can be solved immediately through experience.


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