Be Bold, Move Fast and SHIP By Chris Marra '12

Chris Marra, E: Robotics '12, talks about his experiences working as a Product Manager at Facebook.

Product Management outside the Bubble

"Move fast and break things"

I'm Chris Marra ('12, E: Robotics), and I work at Facebook as a Product Manager. It's not what I ever expected to end up doing with a degree in Robotics from an engineering school, but its the coolest job I could imagine having.

As a Product Manager, I'm responsible for the success of the products and features, and work with Design, Engineering, and others to build the experiences that users have on Facebook. I also collaborate with PR, Policy, Legal, Marketing, Content Strategy, and others to help make sure every aspect of the product is great, before and after it launches.

Specifically, I'm a part of Facebook's new Rotational PM program, where new full-time Product Managers spend their first year working on three different products in order to gain exposure to a broad spectrum of teams around the company. Rotational PMs go through both Engineering Bootcamp (making actual changes to the site's code!) as well as PM specific training, and are mentored throughout their projects by experienced PMs. The very first piece of advice I got? "Be Bold, Move Fast, and Ship."

In the six months since Bootcamp I've worked on two awesome teams:

  1. Last fall I was on the Graph Search team, helping build a new web search experience into the product. The whole team went into a lockdown, and we shipped the product to users in January. Although Graph Search was an ongoing project at that point, I was the first person to work on web search, and got to see it through from the very beginning to a complete product that people are using today.
  2. A few weeks ago I joined the Ads team, working on the API and interfaces that brands and businesses use to create ads on Facebook.

Coming from Olin, Facebook's culture already felt very familiar and comfortable. It's a place full of smart people who are incredibly passionate about what they work on. I'm surrounded by people who are focused on making the world more open and connected, value creativity and collaboration, and are never afraid to ask "why?". The company is always looking for ways to iterate and improve, both on itself and its products. Even within the first year Rotational PM program, we're improving it in flight. PM training has changed every time it's been run, we set up regular group RPM meetings to reflect on each other's work, and we're planning a trip to research emerging mobile use patterns in developing countries - all based on our feedback.

Facebook has a core motto that says: "This journey is 1% finished." We've barely scratched the surface of what is possible, and are thrilled to explore the future. I'm so excited to be along for the ride.

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