What does Peter Thiel think of Quora

“The Facebook Mafia” II: The drives of the network

"Companies like Asana, Path and Quora are trying to solve problems that are inherently social. [...] Social in the sense of the messiness that results from people trying to interact online and bringing all the messy aspects of human interaction, communication and relationships with them. They are problems that machines can't purely solve and people can't purely solve. "

Sarah Lacy

Based on a fantastic article by Techcrunch writer Sarah Lacy, in this two-part series “The Facebook Mafia” I deal with the connections between the many central people who are active in and around Facebook and who make the company what they are is. As I described in my first post, the roots of the company's success go not just back to when Mark Zuckerberg founded Harvard in 2004, but much further. For many, however, it is not more important to clarify the past, but to look into the future: What comes after Facebook?

With the exception of Mark Zuckerberg, all of the early employees (who own 1 to 5 percent of the company) have said goodbye to Facebook and are now trying to do their own thing. The catchphrase "social" is important to them, as can be read in the quotation from Lacy above. The services and technologies of ex-Facebookers are shaped by the basic idea of ​​Facebook to connect people via technology in order to be able to solve tasks more easily. With Facebook, many forms of organization are possible, from birthday parties to product advertising and revolutionary foundations. The successor companies to Facebook also fully rely on the “social graph”, but are more specific in their objectives.

In the following I want to introduce these six successor companies to Facebook as well as examine the business and personal relationships to Mark Zuckerberg and his donors (important protagonists and companies are bold).


The currently most popular web service that emerged from Facebook is certainly the Q&A page Quora. She was appointed by former Facebook CTO in June 2009 Adam D'Angelo and the ex-Facebook engineer Charlie Cheever who gave up his well-paid job on Facebook because of Quora. The basic idea: Users can ask questions to the community, whoever knows an answer can write it underneath. Quora relies heavily on existing virtual network of relationships on Facebook and Twitter - contact lists can be imported and compared. Interestingly, in addition to many Silicon Valley personalities, the entire management team of Twitter (Costolo, Williams, Stone) is represented at Quora. More interesting, however, is Quora's only source of money to date: the investment companyBenchmark capital bought eleven million US dollars. As an early-stage investor, Benchmark has already invested hundreds of millions of US dollars in web services such as Twitter, eBay or the Second Life creators Linden Lab. Also has Benchmark at Asana and FriendFeed (Bought by Facebook in 2009). According to Crunchbase, Facebook employees have also worked for Benchmark Capital before: the current Facebook CTO Bret Taylor (Ex-FriendFeed) and the former Facebook product manager Matt Cohler.


Another follow-up product from Facebook is Asana and was made by ex-Facebook veterans Dustin Moskovitz and its partner Justin Rosenstein, a former Facebook employee. The idea: to create collaboration software for companies that brings Facebook functions from private to professional life. As Lacy writes in her article, Asana in particular has a “cult around the engineers”: Every programmer can pimp his desk for 10,000 US dollars. 5000 companies are already queuing up to test Asana. The start-up's business relationships are deeply rooted in the Facebook mafia. This is how you share the investor with Quora Benchmark capital, also received funds from Andreessen Horowitz (Marc Andreessen sits on the Facebook board), Founders Fund bossPeter Thiel (he sits on the Facebook board of directors), Quora founder Adam D'Angelo, Ex-Facebook President and Causes Founder Sean Parker as well as the former Facebook product managerMatt Cohler.


Causes has the same basic idea as Jumo and was founded as a donation platform that is closely linked to Facebook. You can log in with your Facebook account, and the associated Facebook app can always be found in the top 10 most popular platform applications. The company (motto: "We host a Friday happy hour every week and have a variety of beers on tap. It turns out that saving the world is more fun with a little buzz") is also closely linked to Mark Zuckerberg's company. Founder is the former Facebook president Sean Parker (also Napster co-founder), it is financed by a number of interesting investors, first and foremost by Founders Fund, Facebook board's investment firm Peter Thielwho Parker also works for. Dustin Moskovitz (Asana), Dave Morin (Path), Ali Partovi (Facebook investor), Scott Banister (PayPal consultant), Sam Lessin (Facebook, Ex-Drop.io) and Marc Benioff (his company Salesforce cooperates with Facebook) have also put money into the philanthropic company.


Acts a little like an outsider Chris Hughes, who was one of the first four employees at Facebook and later served as the young figurehead for the US President's online election campaign. Both in the “real” story and in the Facebook film “The Social Network”, he only has a supporting role in the big Facebook story. This continues in his new Jumo project: the web service that wants to network Facebook users with non-profit organizations, like its creator, does not appear in the entanglements of the “Facebook mafia”. Unlike the rest of the Facebook successor companies, the company's headquarters are not in Silicon Valley, but in New York. The only connection is of a technical nature: You can only log into this beta version of Jumo with a Facebook account.


Together with Google engineer Christophe Bisciglia, Yahoo! engineer Amr Awadallah and Internet entrepreneur Mike Olson, the former Facebook data analysisJeff Hammerbacher launched the software platform Cloudera. It is based on the open source software Hadoop and should be able to process and analyze huge amounts of data in companies more efficiently. IT giants such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Facebook rely on Hadoop, and Cloudera's customers include Groupon and ComScore. Samsung, Navteq as well as the advertising tracking company RapLeafthat of Peter Thiel is co-financed by the Founders Fund. von The list of investors also reads spectacularly: The Facebook investors Accel Partners, Meritech Capital and Greylock Partners put money into the young company. Also the former finance chief of Facebook,Gideon Yu (he dealt with Microsoft's entry), has invested. The investment through should also be noted In-Q-Tel, a subsidiary of the CIA that is closely associated with Facebook investor Greylock Partners.


With Path, the former high-ranking Facebook employee Dave Morin together with the founder of Napster Shawn Fanning set up his own online network. Path follows the basic rule that a user can have a maximum of 50 friends and is heavily designed for mobile use on the cell phone. High priority is given to photos that are uploaded by users and are to be created around the interaction. Morin does not break new ground when it comes to financing his ministry. Some old friends left their money with Path, including Dustin Moskovitz from Asana, the Founders Fund of Peter Thiel and Sean Parker, the former Facebook executive Chris Kelly as well as the former Facebook product manager Matt Cohler. Other well-known investors are the Salesforce boss Marc Benioff, Digg founder Kevin Rose, Actor Ashton Kutcher, FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit as well as Facebook managerRuchi Sanghvi.