Vanity Fair got its hands on a kind of insane first-hand account of working at Facebook, adapted from a book by a former employee. It makes working at Facebook sound a lot like a messianic sect circle-jerk.
After comparing Mark Zuckerberg to Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon and… uh… L. Ron Hubbard, former Facebook product manager Antonio Garcia Martinez explains the effect Zuck has on his employees:
By imprinting this vision on his disciples, Zuckerberg founded the church of a new religion. All the early Facebook employees have their story of the moment when they saw the light and realised that Facebook wasn’t some measly social network like MySpace but a dream of a different human experience.
Martinez also hones in on The Social Network’s singular obsession with the threat of Google Plus, which
… hit Facebook like a bomb. Google Plus was the great enemy’s sally into our own hemisphere, and it gripped Zuck like nothing else. He declared “Lockdown,” the first and only one during my time there. As was duly explained to the more recent employees, Lockdown was a state of war that dated to Facebook’s earliest days, when no one could leave the building while the company confronted some threat, either competitive or technical.
The launch of Google Plus sounded like Facebook’s D-Day, and Zuck certainly treated it as such, according to Martinez. At 1:45pm on the day Google Plus launched, he called a meeting around an illuminated neon “Lockdown” sign and Martinez likens the scene to “a general addressing his troops in the field”.
Rounding off another beaded string of platitudes, he changed gears and erupted with a burst of rhetoric referencing one of the ancient classics he had studied at Harvard and before. “You know, one of my favourite Roman orators ended every speech with the phrase Carthago delenda est. ‘Carthage must be destroyed.’ For some reason I think of that now.”
Posters with “CARTHAGO DELENDA EST splashed in imperative bold type beneath a stylised Roman centurion’s helmet” were printed up and put up around the office. Zuck and “members of the high command” then met with a product manager who had recently defected from Google and worked on Google Plus and had him “walk the leadership through” it.
Oh, and Martinez also says Zuck’s stare “borders on the psychopathic”.
But we knew that already.
Check out the whole bonkers read over on Vanity Fair. Martinez’s book, Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, comes out June 28.