This week on The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show, I talk to Facebook lead designer Ben Blumenfeld about what it’s like to build a product that’s used by over a billion people. Ben talks about how you make changes to something as big as Facebook, what it was like when the IPO came around, and what he’s up to now that he’s left the company.
Still not sold? Geez, alright. You guys are tough, but I think I have just the thing. Here’s some quotes from the episode -
“We still get comments about [the dislike button] which just blows my mind… it is so obvious that this button shouldn’t exist. How much negativity do you want in the world?”” – Ben on common Facebook suggestions
“You have to think about scale. It is easy to design for yourself or for people like you, but think about designing something that an 85 year old Czechoslovakian can use and something that a 13 year old in Japan can also use. You can see how that becomes just unbelievably daunting.” – Ben on the design challenges that Facebook has.
“Up to that point, Facebook was kind of a light fun tool. We knew what we wanted it to be what it wasn’t necessarily living up to that quite yet. But during the Virginia Tech shooting, the phone system went down… and one of the guys at Facebook said, ‘Hey guys - everyone at Virginia Tech is using Facebook to tell their friends and parents that they’re okay… right now we’re an emergency response so the site does not go down today.’ And you could feel the seriousness and the tension and the gravity of the situation. That day it went up to a whole other level. And it kind of stayed.” - Ben recalls a turning point in Facebook history
Also yes Ben Blumenfeld is Amir’s brother. There’s a fun Amir story after the episode during bonus time.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show comes out Tuesdays and is available iTunes, YouTube, and JeffRubinJeffRubinShow.com.
Next week’s guest - Keith Phipps, editor of the AV Club