Aug 21 2017

What it's Like to be a Product Manager At Facebook

By Meta Careers
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Introducing Tzach, a product manager leading Facebook Lite in our Tel Aviv office in Israel. Facebook Lite serves over 200 million people every month. We spoke to Tzach about what it's like being a product manager, the impact Facebook Lite is making in emerging markets and his tips for interviewing at Facebook.

What are you currently working on?

I joined Facebook almost three years ago and I spend my time ensuring that people have a great Facebook experience through our product, Facebook Lite. The product launched a few years ago to meet the needs of people in emerging markets on slow networks and weak devices. It has since evolved and is being used by more than 200 million people around the world every month, making it the largest app “made in Israel”.

What does it mean to be a product manager in Facebook?

Saying goodbye to my startup and joining Facebook was not easy and I had many (false) pre-conceived notions about what Facebook is like: a large corporate with long processes that will make it hard to move fast. Nothing could be further from the truth - Facebook feels more like a big startup.
As it turned out, the role of product manager in Facebook is probably the closest there is to being an entrepreneur without actually being one. The role is challenging - setting the vision for the product, defining metrics and goals, reaching alignment across team members and stakeholders, and of course - “kicking ass” on execution. Unlike some product roles in other companies, there is no one holding your hand, it really is your show. With the company's 'Be Bold' motto, it's not about documents and procedures - it's all about getting things done!
Working in the Tel Aviv office provides a lot of independence. Many of the products are led from here and the company’s ‘getting things done’ culture means that I get to spend my time building products. Also, being a small office means that day-to-day it feels much more like a startup.

What is motivating about your project at Facebook?

Travelling around the world and seeing people use your product is an experience that is hard to describe.
We were used to thinking about Facebook as the place to share photos and experiences from, say, a restaurant or a holiday, but for many it is a far different experience. I had the chance to visit a 17 year-old at his home in Mumbai where he lives with his parents and two siblings in a six square meter apartment with no running water. For him, Facebook Lite is a way to see the world and maintain a connection with someone, like his best friend in Nepal. I also visited a small village in South Africa where the product is being used by the community to spread information, for example about a series of kidnappings that had been taking place over a few weeks.
Seeing the impact your product has on people's lives is easily the greatest motivator.
Tzach in South Africa, where he met and interviewed some of the people using Facebook Lite

Which Facebook value (Move Fast, Focus on Impact, Build Social Value, Be Open, Be Bold) resonates most with your team?

I don't think I can pick one. I often get asked what makes Facebook such a special place and my answer is always the balance of values. A company that only “Moves Fast” or is “Bold” will create anarchy, and a “Focus on Impact” without a mission to “Build Social Value” will become a soulless machine that loses its drive.
Working on a product like Facebook Lite that affects so many means that you must balance the values.

What do you love the most about working at Facebook?

Probably a combination of the company culture and impact. The Facebook values (which are acted upon) together with the great talent creates the feeling that nothing is impossible. The bar is high, but it always feels like you have the best tools for the challenge which make it exciting.
The amount of impact that I have on people's lives is something that I could only dream of when working in a startup.

What are the challenges?

The freedom of choice given to Facebook employees can sometimes be a bit shocking to new people coming in and it can be a struggle to adjust if you are used to a more top-down directed environment. This environment of 'endless opportunities' is ideal for the entrepreneurial type but people coming from more conventional companies can take some time to adjust to this mindset.

What advice would you give to people to prepare for a product manager interview?

Do your homework and prepare - don't try to wing it!
Prepare to think. The goal of the interview is to test your ability to think and not to hear an unabridged version of your CV. After all, your CV is what got you into the process. We usually send a short guide for getting through the interview process with tips on what you should focus on.
For Israeli candidates, I suggest practicing out loud with yourself (or better yet with someone) in English. You might feel comfortable speaking in your day to day, but doing it in a challenging interview setting can be harder. We want to test your ability to solve problems and to communicate your thoughts in a structured manner - don't let language be a barrier.

What are the growth opportunities for a product manager in Facebook?

I would say they are unlimited! The company is constantly growing and new opportunities come up all the time. Similarly, the Tel Aviv office is growing rapidly both with projects becoming bigger and through new projects starting up.
This is easily one of the best places to pick up the tools for being an amazing consumer-facing product manager and then have the opportunity to use your newfound skills to impact hundreds of millions of people.

We're Hiring into Facebook Israel

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