tumblezod

In 6th grade, I made a friend. In 9th grade, I gained a brother. 

One of the things I looked forward to as I made the move to San Francisco in 2014 was the ability to spend more time with this gentlemen, who has graced my life for the past 14 years. From our playing saxophone together, to listening to Yellowcard and Saves the Day while playing pool, through the hallways of high school and the challenges of college, it’s been a true gift to have learned so much and grown so much thanks to the influence Jimmy has had on my life. 

As we watched the sunset from my roof last night, we laughed about how crazy it would have sounded to our junior high selves that we would both graduate college to go work in San Francisco at companies we deeply cared about and continue to inspire each other, years after band class. But we do, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

In 6th grade, I made a friend. In 9th grade, I gained a brother.

One of the things I looked forward to as I made the move to San Francisco in 2014 was the ability to spend more time with this gentlemen, who has graced my life for the past 14 years. From our playing saxophone together, to listening to Yellowcard and Saves the Day while playing pool, through the hallways of high school and the challenges of college, it’s been a true gift to have learned so much and grown so much thanks to the influence Jimmy has had on my life.

As we watched the sunset from my roof last night, we laughed about how crazy it would have sounded to our junior high selves that we would both graduate college to go work in San Francisco at companies we deeply cared about and continue to inspire each other, years after band class. But we do, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it.

Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And, unlike roads and bridges, large portions of the software infrastructure of the Internet are built and maintained by volunteers, who get little reward when their code works well but are blamed, and sometimes savagely derided, when it fails. To some degree, this is beginning to change: venture-capital firms have made substantial investments in code-infrastructure projects, like GitHub and the Node Package Manager. But money and support still tend to flow to the newest and sexiest projects, while boring but essential elements like OpenSSL limp along as volunteer efforts. It’s easy to take open-source software for granted, and to forget that the Internet we use every day depends in part on the freely donated work of thousands of programmers. If open-source software is at the heart of the Internet, then we might need to examine it from time to time to make sure it’s not bleeding.

Why I work on ads

But why Facebook ads specifically?

The opportunity to reinvent advertising.
Facebook is poised to deliver the most innovative, engaging, personalized advertising people have ever experienced. We can personalize and humanize advertising in ways that no one else can. Many people claim to hate advertising, but the truth is, when the creative is great and when it’s highly relevant to us, we love it. It ceases to be an ad, and just becomes great content. And I want to be part of the team that makes it happen at a global scale, and with a human touch.

Improving the measurement of advertising across the industry is a worthy goal.
Digital advertising measurement is fundamentally broken, and anyone deeply involved in this industry knows it. Our work to rebuild and redesign Atlas will democratize the digital advertising industry as it gives fair credit to all of the businesses and publishers who are helping advertisers succeed. There’s currently a monoculture of advertising measurement that doesn’t give full and fair credit to all of the players involved in helping businesses achieve their goals, whether it’s launching a new brand, selling a product online or in a store, or getting people to download a new mobile app. The work Facebook is doing to create more accurate ways to measure online advertising will help the whole industry understand what works and why, and to give credit to the role that all businesses, even the small ones, can play in creating value.

Helping businesses market themselves better improves everyone’s experience.
Business, brands, products and services are a critical part of the fabric of people’s lives. They help people craft their sense of identity through the connections they forge, whether it’s with a small local business, a movie they loved, or a clothing brand they admire. And they also help us navigate the world and the increasingly complex decision landscape before us. Where should I eat dinner tonight? What should I do this weekend? What should I do on my vacation? Connections between people and businesses will generate a lot of the information that we need to help answer these questions in meaningful ways.

Margaret Stewart eloquently captures exactly what gets me up in the morning. 

A mysterious new technology emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, but actually the result of two decades of intense research and development by nearly anonymous researchers.

Political idealists project visions of liberation and revolution onto it; establishment elites heap contempt and scorn on it.

On the other hand, technologists – nerds – are transfixed by it. They see within it enormous potential and spend their nights and weekends tinkering with it.

Eventually mainstream products, companies and industries emerge to commercialize it; its effects become profound; and later, many people wonder why its powerful promise wasn’t more obvious from the start.

What technology am I talking about? Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993, and – I believe – Bitcoin in 2014.