Lessons from the exponential growth of Facebook

The history of Facebook — a sort of benchmark for all aspiring to business heights. Successful global expansion of the social network made Mark Zuckerberg the youngest billionaire in history.

A graph showing the growth of the audience Facebook in the first six years can be considered an independent work of art from the world of startups.

You must understand that Facebook “took off” out of nowhere. The revolution in Internet communication had a solid Foundation for the scientific method.

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The scientific method is a set of methods for producing new knowledge within a particular science. In this sense, the perfect Zuckerberg revolution is a little different from revolutions in medicine (like the discovery of penicillin) or physics (publication of the theory of relativity).

Facebook is not only the result of the insight of a talented student at Harvard University. The birth of social media is better considered as a logical continuation of centuries of development of communication systems between people.

Einstein and Fleming, with all due respect to them, also not made their discoveries in a vacuum. They committed the breakthroughs would not have been possible without the information base, which for centuries formed the other researchers.

The most important quality of the scientific method in that it allows evaluating the potential of the idea to its implementation.

How to apply a scientific approach in business?

Optimization of business processes using the scientific method involves a series of sequential steps.

Step one: extension of hypothesis

To begin, you must decide what issues are most relevant to you: marketing channels, target audience, market positioning, or perhaps advertising strategy?

You then hypothesize that in the future will be subject to verification. The hypothesis can be formulated, for example: “Most of our potential customers — students.”

Second step: prediction

At this stage, the hypothesis of developing, the assumption being made certain conclusions. In our example, it looks like this: “Since our target audience consists mainly of students, advertising in Newspapers and magazines will be ineffective”.

Step three: check

Formed in a previous step, the prediction should be checked. For example, you can conduct among the students a survey to find out how often they purchase publications and pay attention to whether advertising in them.

But first, it makes sense to check the very initial hypothesis, that is, to know if students are your main target audience.

Step four: conclusions

If during the test, the hypothesis and the prediction are confirmed, you should analyze all information collected and to draw conclusions.

If it is a bug, is to make another prediction or make a new hypothesis. Remember, in this case, even a wrong step is a step to the goal. Don’t be afraid to experiment and to make mistakes!

Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman (Richard Feynman) said:

“If the assumption is not confirmed by experiment it is wrong. This simple principle is the essence of science. No matter how beautiful assumption; it doesn’t matter how smart that his assumption is not confirmed by the experiment wrong.”

To understand, due to which companies like Facebook or HubSpot, to achieve explosive growth, will help fairly simple model. It was offered by a famous venture investor, Chamath of Palihapitiya (Chamath Palihapitiya), at one time held the post of Vice-President for development Facebook:

There are three stages:

  1. the Top of the funnel conversions. Traffic sources and conversion rate (Conversion Rate).
  2. WOW-moment. The moment when the user understands what your product it is really necessary. Shapes early experience and first impression.
  3. the Main value of the product. The time when the product begins to solve the real problems of the user.

The idea is that for sustainable business development must give adequate attention to each of the three stages. If the product you want to buy, there is no point to fight for increased traffic. Similarly, ineffective work on the quality of the product in the absence of a competent lead-management.

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But as you can see the perfect system of growth at HubSpot:

The model includes the following steps:

  1. The generation of ideas and hypotheses
  2. Prioritization of ideas
  3. Testing
  4. Experimental implementation of the ideas
  5. Analysis of the results (the final stage of the application of the scientific method)
  6. Systematization of the obtained data

Finally, consider the model of The Lean Startup, proposed by Eric Ries:

The basis of this model is the same cycle: hypotheses — test — analysis results. The ultimate goal is to obtain information/knowledge, which is subsequently converted into profit.

Note also that the most important tool in the framework of the “Lean startup” — create a minimum viable product.


What is common among the three models considered development? Each of them demonstrates that if you are aiming for exponential growth, we must constantly try new things, make mistakes and work on them. And then to make a new attempt, another step closer to the goal.

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