Jyoti B leads Strategic Sourcing for The Connectivity Lab at Facebook, which is developing ways to make affordable internet access possible in communities around the world. The team is exploring a variety of technologies, including high-altitude long-endurance planes, satellites and lasers. Learn about Jyoti's experience at Facebook and the challenges she's tackling to help connect the world.
How has your experience prepared you to take on the challenges at Facebook?
Being open to experimentation at every step — I would not have said that I started out to be in Strategic Sourcing or Partnerships, but rather being curious about every position and challenging myself to rise up and figure out what is needed to do it well. Every experience is foundational and shapes our thinking.
I learned that I didn't need experience as much as a deliberate commitment to learn and grow — to dare myself to do things outside my comfort zone, to increase my experiences so that I can build empathy with those around me and enabling them to reach their fullest potential.
I started out as a software engineer on the GPRS protocol stack. Very quickly I challenged myself to step out and participate in the 3GPP standards to shape how the protocol and features evolved, along the way I started peering into the business side of things, like strategy, portfolio management, and eventually partnerships. I like technology, but I like people more and bringing people together to achieve something bigger even more.
““The opportunity to be part of a culture that promotes beginner thinking, experimentation and fast failure, was particularly compelling.” ”
How does the work you do within The Connectivity Lab directly impact Facebook’s mission?
The Connectivity Lab researches and develops connectivity solutions for emerging markets. That means creating solutions that are efficient to deploy in order to bring internet access and connectivity to those who don't have it. We cannot build everything ourselves, so my team works to create strategic partnerships that extend our engineering capabilities.
What is one thing that most people don't know about working at Facebook?
We're a diverse community of people of all ages and with very different backgrounds from aerospace, communications, hardware and beyond. And there is an incredible ice cream shop that whispers to me around 3pm.
Is there a word or phrase that describes the culture of your team?
My team has grown rapidly and most have joined Facebook in the last year. Each person comes with many years of experience in the industry, be it aerospace, communications or consumer electronics. What attracted each of us was the challenge and the mission, the fact that traditional industries are not expending resources to reach the unconnected—because one, they did not see immediate economic gain, and two, they assume the problem is intractable. Facebook being a younger company, I think it operates a bit like the Zen proverb "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few." The opportunity to be part of a culture that promotes beginner thinking, experimentation and fast failure was particularly compelling.
Which of Facebook's values (Move Fast, Focus on Impact, Build Social Value, Be Open, Be Bold), really resonates with your team?
Be open. This value empowers us to share and explore with a good sense of naivety.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Every day I have opportunities to try new things and to fail safely! And the ice cream shop!
How do you define leadership?
Leadership to me is about inspiration and accountability — to the team, to the business, and to making an impact. Making bold moves, celebrating wins, and being transparent about hurdles allows the team to aspire for greater impact.
Watch this short video to learn more about the Sourcing and Operations Engineering team at Facebook:
In the Press: Read more about The Connectivity Lab and the impact we're making!