Facebook Engineering with Pete Hunt

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Facebook engineering is commonly described by two words: move fast.

Building products quickly has been a differentiating characteristic of the company since its inception. From the longtime engineers to the summer interns, Facebook instills a sense of immediacy and opportunity in all of its employees.

The goal of Facebook is to make the world more open and transparent, with the intention of creating greater understanding and connection through Internet services. More than any other company in history, Facebook has enabled people to communicate with each other via simple user interfaces and real, authenticated human identity.

Facebook must move fast, because the vision for Facebook is without precedent. It may feel like the Facebook mission is already finished, because you can already use Facebook to connect with anyone across the world with an Internet connection.

But once you are connected to somebody on Facebook, there are only a small number of interactions you can take: sending a message, sharing a photo, broadcasting a video stream. There are so many more parts of our lives waiting to be digitized, and many of these require a real identity system to work properly.

More than any other company, Facebook is positioned to expand our system of real-world human trust onto the Internet. The depth and breadth of the engineering problems required to accomplish this demands that Facebook move fast. To move slower would cause all of us to pay the opportunity cost of having to wait longer to interconnect our global society.

Pete Hunt worked as an engineer at Facebook for three and a half years. At Facebook, he helped build React, a set of technologies that have significantly improved frontend application interface development. After the Instagram acquisition, Pete was the first engineer from Facebook to join the Instagram team to help bring the two companies together.

Pete left Facebook in 2014 to start Smyte, a company that made trust and safety tools for marketplaces and social networks. Smyte was acquired by Twitter, where Pete now works on engineering problems relating to trust, safety, health, and infrastructure.

Pete joins the show for the first of several episodes with Facebook engineers. In these episodes, we will explore the engineering practices of Facebook–from scaling Facebook’s PHP monolith to open sourcing React and GraphQL. Other topics will include management, onboarding, and product strategy.

Our goal is to present a holistic picture of how Facebook engineering works, so that other organizations can learn to adopt practices that will allow them to move faster. We hope you enjoy this series on Facebook engineering.

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