The media has been good to me for the most part. But these stories are just stupid:


All these news stories take a funny anecdote that I shared with New York Magazine and distort it into pageview-generating, linkbaiting, tweet fodder. I’ve come to expect bad journalism from most of the tech press, so I’m not really surprised that they would do something like this. What upsets me the most, is that most readers will undoubtedly take away the wrong message from the story.

Here is the full quote:

Zuckerberg doesn’t code much for Facebook anymore, the same way that Steve Jobs never hand-coded software for the iPhone. But, as the Groups team was adding the finishing touches to its product, Zuckerberg said he wanted to write a few lines. “Everybody was like, Ohhhh, Zuck’s gonna write code,” says Feross. Someone set up an easy bug for him to fix—adding a link to a picture, or something—and he went to work. Five minutes passed. Twenty minutes. An hour. “It took him like two hours to do something that would take one of us who’s an engineer like five minutes,” says Feross. It was like a retired slugger coming back for one last at-bat, for old time’s sake, and finding he’d lost more of his game than he’d reckoned. Still, he got props from Feross & Co. for getting his hands dirty.

It’s moments like these that growing tech companies struggle to hang on to. When Zuckerberg gets in the trenches with the grunts, it sends a message: Program­ming is the core of their world.

My intention in sharing this story was to give an example of how Facebook’s company culture is awesome. Facebook is a company where the CEO frequently sits in the same room as engineers – and even interns – to work out problems, critique designs, and discuss product issues. The company is extremely flat. Everyone can talk to everyone. Even interns regularly get to talk with Zuck. It’s an extremely fun and exhilarating environment.

Employees even make bets, joke, or play pranks on the CEO, hence the “Ohhhh, Zuck’s gonna write code” comment that someone made. Facebook is extremely fun. It’s one of the best company cultures I’ve ever seen (in my short career).

These news outlets are doing their readers a disservice by twisting this quote out of context.

Lesson learned: I need to be more careful about what I say to the media. Even though they’ve been really good to me, they’re not always going to be on my side. Glad I learned this lesson now, rather than later.

(If you liked this, you might like Travels in Japan.)

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Feross Aboukhadijeh

I'm Feross, an entrepreneur, programmer, open source author, and mad scientist.

I maintain 100+ packages on npm. All my code is freely accessible on GitHub and funded by my supporters. I now offer a support contract for companies and teams.

I build innovative projects like WebTorrent, a streaming torrent client for the web, WebTorrent Desktop, a slick torrent app for Mac/Windows/Linux, and StandardJS, a JavaScript style guide, linter, and automatic code fixer.

I also work on fun projects like BitMidi, a free MIDI file database, Play, a music video app, and Study Notes, a study tool with college essay examples.

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