Lessons Learned: RockYou! on rapid-technology development

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by Bambi Francisco Roizen
June 24, 2008
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If there is one thing you notice from speaking to RockYou CTO and co-founder Jia Shen, there's no downtime when it comes to technology output. At RockYou, one of the leading applications makers on social networks that he co-founded at the start of 2006, the culture is one of swiftness. "We promote a rapid-development methodology," he said. "Don't go out and design a full-featured product with all the bells and whistles. Start with a very basic product and make sure your basic theories are there." This is especially true for companies with limited resources, he said.

In my earlier interview with Shen, titled - We're bigger than Slide, Jia underscores his company's output culture with an example of how RockYou's popular app Super Wall was launched and created. "The big main competitive advantages of RockYou compared to everyone else is we really innovate very rapidly," he said. "We thought of the idea (Super Wall) on a Friday, we wrote it over the weekend and launched it on a Monday."

It's in the same interview that Jia talks about how the company will "take engineers and turn them into pageviews." Now, that's a productive way to look at engineers. It's no wonder the company is constantly modifying and watching metrics. Essentially, companies should use metrics as signposts to understand where the company is succeeding or failing.

Additionally, Jia says to be "clear" about goals and raise funds accordingly. 

To see Vator's Lessons Learned series, from MC Hammer to Slide's Max Levchin to how Vinod Khosla pitched Sun Microsystems, click to the archives.