Former Employee Explains Why He Was Fired From Facebook

Posted: September 30, 2012 in Geek Stuff, History, Social Media


Getting fired sucks. Now imagine how it would feel to get canned from Facebook, only to watch it become a social phenomenon and the world’s largest social network.

Noah Kagan has lived through that experience. On Saturday, the AppSumo founder decided to write about his “$100 million dollar lesson” learned, detailing why he was terminated six years ago.

Kagan joined Facebook as a product manager in November 2005, and was fired eight months later in June 2006. When he left, the social network was still limited to high school and university students. Facebook started accepting anyone with a valid email address in September 2006.

He described the reasons for his dismissal like this: He was selfish, accidentally leaked company secrets to TechCrunch and didn’t address his weaknesses as a product manager. “I wasn’t great at planning or product management at this time. Fix them or move to another position,” Kagan wrote.

The serial entrepreneur worked exceptionally well as an employee in a 30-person company, but had a hard time adjusting as Facebook grew to 150 employees. He described himself as a “show-er” at Facebook or “someone who can be good for the company where they are now, but NOT where they are going.” “Growers,” or employees who can grow with the company and adjust to changes, are the ones who are successful, he said.


While at Facebook, Kagan admits he used the company’s name too much for his own personal gain. Employees should not rely on the brand, but rather just make “amazing stuff,” he added. Kagan suggests the key to success is being a humble employee, listening during group collaboration meetings and being mindful of how you can improve as a part of a team.

“Constantly ask yourself how can I make the company more valuable,” he wrote. “You do that and you will never get fired, unless you do something really stupid or the company goes out of business.”

Read the rest of Kagan’s brutally honest blog post here.

Here’s a picture of a “note from Zuck” to Kagan, written on the title page of The Elements of Style, the quintessential writing guide by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White.






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