I don't want to talk about Facebook's acquisition of Instagram - as it brings up extreme jealousy since I can only imagine what the 13 person team was doing once the announcement was made. Fast Company wrote an article on "How Facebook find the best design talent and keeps them happy". They even have a team called "design recruiting" who scour the globe looking for people with fresh ideas and amazing work.
Before I read this article, my mind had a pre-conceived notion and skepticism about Facebook + design. When I think of design, I think of Apple or even Twitter before I would think of Facebook. My bias might stem from the fact that 99% of the time I am accessing FB on my laptop so I don't have a good idea what the interactions are like through mobile or tablet. But then I thought about how they rudely every few months change how FB is layed out in the timeline or profile pages. I wonder "do they even do any user testing!" before making these changes.
The three qualities they are looking for:
- A personal vision about what the world needs or where design is going
- A sense of ownership over the projects they work on; "builder mindset"
- I can think through a need -> I can think through a customer base -> build something -> ship it => iterate based on how it's being used
As I kept reading though, it was clear to me that they hire designers not for their UI accomplishments but for their innovation in creating seamless interactions. Looking at the acquisition of Mike Matas or the Gowalla team, their unique perspective is what FB acquired. Their designers have in a sense become their visionaries as they work directly with product managers on envisioning a better Facebook.