Less Famous Facebook Co-Founder Tells All

Dustin Moskovitz told the crowd at TechCrunch Disrupt that he left Facebook "because he had an idea"

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Dustin Moskovitz left Facebook in 2009 to start his own company, Asana, and he hasn't said much publicly about either project since. Since he's a pretty active user of the question-answer site, Quora, somebody asked Moskovitz directly why he left. "To start Asana with [former Facebooker] Justin Rosenstein," wrote Moskovitz in reply. When he took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt on Monday, editor Erick Schonfeld asked him about Facebook's early days, his reasons for leaving, and his opinion on Google+. Moskovitz's answers took jabs at everything from The Social Network to Google's business plan.

First and foremost, Facebook's early days were not that crazy, party-wise. Moskovitz told Schonfeld:

When we founded Facebook, we put a lot of hours into it and worked hard every day. The Social Network painted this picture that we were partying all the time, when really we only attended 2 or 3 parties during Facebook's first year.

Popularity-wise, they were insane:

Facebook was founded on February 4, 2004. On February 5, we were feeling pretty confident, even from observing the first few hours of usage.  Students used it like crazy. They'd sign up then spend the next 3-4 hours on it.  Then we'd go to lecture hall and see it on every computer screen there. 

Moskovitz didn't provide many more details about Rosenstein's and his curious departure from the company at a moment of global domination. It sounds like he was bored:

We left Facebook because we had an idea. We looked for every reason to stay [at Facebook].  I didn't want to be an entrepreneur.  But the idea was so strong and we became so passionate about it.

Speaking of bored, Moskovitz likes Google+, but he still thinks Facebook is better. TechCrunch reports:

"It's great to see a really well executed product in this space. There have been a lot of competitors, but Google+ is one of the best."

But do you use it?, Erick asked.


Moskovitz says that if he had to fix Google+, he would add more symmetry to the relationships. There's value in both one-way connections and two-way connections, he said, referring to the following model that Google+ uses, versus the friending model on Facebook. But Facebook does have a one-way model with its Pages, he added. And apparently, he believes that's the model to beat.

Unfortunately for Facebook, however, they're so far lagging behind Google in terms of growth. An anonymous source told Reuters that Facebook's revenue has doubled in the past year and is on target to hit the predicted $4 billion mark before 2012, their seventh year in business. At the end of their seventh year, Google's revenue was already north of $7 billion.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.