A picture started to emerge from casual conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks with friends working at Facebook. I have noticed how Facebook engineers are using a different, more restrained vocabulary to describe their jobs. What once was ‘amazing’ is now ‘challenging’, ‘exciting technology’ turned to ‘learning a lot’, and ‘having fun’ toned down to ‘still engaged’. They are all very ‘content’.
This might be purely anecdotal but I have a feeling it is not. I’ve shared this insight with a few other friends outside of Facebook and they too started noticing the pattern within their own circle of Facebook connections. Unlike a year ago, these days I can’t point to a single person I know working at Facebook who is oozing excitement and energy. They are still very much engaged and are busy as ever, but they are less interested in talking about work.
While this kind of corporate evolution is expected, it is a bit early for Facebook to make the transition from a hyper startup to a business-as-usual large company culture. If this continues, the looming IPO is going to include a noticeable loss of talent with what feels like a new holding pattern within the company of people waiting to fully vest or cash out.