Workplace puts Facebook on a business community mission

Workplace by Facebook product manager Simon Cross wants to see the service change the way people share.

Over the course of an hour chatting to Simon Cross over a video call I get the distinct impression he's not a fan of email. But then Cross is product manager of Workplace by Facebook, a service that is in some ways a modern replacement for, and large extension of, mail and some older attempts at collaboration. More of which later…

With more than eight years at the social media giant, Cross is a Facebook veteran who says the company's London office, from where he often operates, now employs more people than the entire Facebook did when he started there. Having joined after time as a web developer and product manager at the BBC, he has spent over two years at Workplace and, the way he tells it, is only just getting started as Facebook attempts to replicate what it did with the "social graph" across businesses.

Part of the reason for his evident optimism is the notion that the way we communicate has had to change as work becomes a more collaborative affair and as attracting and retaining talent becomes more about building - one of his watchwords, this - community.

 

From B2C to B2B

I suggest that like Google with G Suite and Amazon with Amazon Web Services, Facebook has touched on a way to repurpose some of the thinking and spirit of its consumer products for the B2B world. Cross agrees.

"AWS came about as part of that famous edict from [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos about everything being a service, everything being an API. We went through a similar journey at Facebook. Obviously the consumer side of Facebook is incredibly strong but we wanted to give more people the power of community," Cross says.

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