In 2007, Facebook was the hot startup where everyone wanted to work, able to steal engineers away from the then-golden Google. Now, in 2009, it's become a company of close to 1,000 employees where more and more, people are eyeing the exits, wondering how they can escape the tyrannical whims of 24-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his tormented lieutenants. Netanel "Net" Jacobsson is just the latest to make his way out the door.
Jacobsson was a director of business development at Facebook. Was, as confirmed by his bio on Twitter ("Fmr. Facebook director") and a message on the microblogging service.
Facebook PR is said to be eager to hush up Jacobsson's departure, following a series of exits over the last half-year of vital behind-the-scenes players: the loss of Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz; the contentious firing of platform director Ben Ling; and the deeply hushed-up departure of top designer Katie Geminder, who, it's rumored, was ill-treated by Zuckerberg himself. Moskovitz has a startup, Ling has returned to Google, and Geminder, now works for another Facebook refugee, former COO Owen Van Natta, at his Project Playlist startup.
We hear that Jacobsson's nemesis was his boss, VP Dan Rose, who's already famous for his ill treatment of another underling, Tim Kendall. Our tipster reports:
Lots of wrangling with Dan Rose. The story is very ugly. Dan said lots of inappropriate things to Net and has treated him very poorly, much worse than what he said to Kendall.
Net sent mail to folks today letting people know that he's leaving. Facebook is trying to keep it hush hush given the long series of departures. Wouldn't be surprised if Facebook tries to spin it.
Can't believe the number of enemies Facebook is making!
The problem for Facebook: Like a freshly signed-up user, Facebook is in desperate need of friends. It is constantly redesigning its service in an effort to find some lucrative new way of placing ads in its users' streams of pokes, photos, and Wall posts. And to make friends with businesses, it needs plugged-in glad-handers like Jacobsson.
And it's not like Zuckerberg is doing much to lighten the mood. We hear he threatened to fire his current COO, Sheryl Sandberg, in an argument about the controversial recent revision of Facebook's terms of service. He has a habit of running through confidantes quickly, which may explain Cheever's plans to leave.
It's the ultimate irony of Facebook: The company that aspires to connect the entire world can't keep a handful of key executives linked together.