It’s been a little over a year since New Product Experimentation’s journey began at Facebook. From the get go, our goal has been to launch products that meaningfully improve people’s lives.
While we’re doctrinaire about the power of technology to address problems affecting people and society, we’re flexible in our solutions. We believe that the quality of the products we build will only increase with the quantity of experiments and iterations we make. By design, we don’t expect everything to resonate with everyone. But that’s the point of experimentation: see what works, see what doesn’t, and embrace what doesn’t work as an opportunity to learn.
2020 – as we all know – has been a year of change and challenges. All at the same time, we’ve faced a global health crisis, an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and a crisis of racial injustice. As cities around the world reacted and sheltered in place, we adjusted our product plans to meet some newfound needs.
We launched experiments like Venue, to bring fun and community to live events like sports, when fans couldn’t go in person. With Collab, we helped people make music together, when they couldn’t be together. And with Forecast, we made prediction markets more social for people to discuss the future.
Additionally, we worked alongside global health organizations and other tech companies on the #BuildforCOVID19 Global Online Hackathon. With it, we helped a community of over 19,000 developers from 175 countries come together to build solutions for global and local challenges related to COVID-19: From supply chain solutions for personal protective equipment (PPE), to online marketplaces connecting small businesses with customers, to games that help engage young people in safe social distancing. Collectively, participants from around the world created 1,500 innovative solutions like these.
When we talk about building – and sometimes hacking – products that could meaningfully improve people’s lives today and set the stage for the future — this is what we mean.
Right now, we’re watching digital trends that we thought would take years to mature, find their footing in a matter of weeks. 2020 accelerated the timeline on everything from online shopping to digital commerce, remote education to telemedicine. And still, all this is just the beginning. According to a recent report by App Annie, about one third of the top 100 most downloaded apps worldwide every year are new entrants. The demand for new ideas and fresh experiences is out there.
As we turn the page and look ahead to the next year, we plan to supply that demand. We plan to do more rapid product experimentation, and work more with the broader startup ecosystem to spur even more industry innovation.
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