Facebook has acquired stealth startup Walletin and hired its founders Cory Ondrejka and Bruce Rogers. Ondrejka was the first chief technology officer of Linden Lab, developers of Second Life. Unlike the social network’s recent purchases of Divvyshot, ShareGrove, and Hot Potato which were explicitly talent acquisitions, Facebook has stated that it “reached an agreement to acquire the assets of Walletin”, meaning the secret product the duo was working on could be integrated into Facebook.
In a post to his personal blog, Ondrejka explains the circumstance in which they accepted Facebook’s undisclosed offer:
“When we met with Facebook…we met our people. Engineers focused on getting sh*t done. Moreover they recognized the disruption we were betting on and saw how far we could run with it at Facebook. And they moved like they were still a startup…the more we learned about Facebook, the more we saw our ideas fitting in.”
The story highlights an emerging trend of Facebook using its engineers as recruiters to attract top established talent from startups as well as students from prestigious engineering schools. Instead of relying on promises of flashy perks like personal assistants, or high acquisition payouts, Facebook touts the benefits of working on a project with global impact without the stifling bureaucracy common at larger tech companies. This is a value proposition which magnifies over time as more great engineers join the company.
The key to Facebook’s long term future success will be maintaining the quality of its team as it rapidly grows. To do this, it will need its internal communication team to keep the company seeming personal and cohesive, and managers who can prevent busywork from reaching engineers. Keeping its own engineering team happy could prove Facebook’s greatest recruiting tool.