With the majority of Facebook’s 1 billion users, and subscriber growth, now coming from outside the U.S., the company is taking ever more steps to building out its global footprint to reach that audience. To that end, today Facebook opened up an engineering center in London, its first outside of the U.S. and is now hiring for people to staff it, following through on an announcement it first made inJuly.
This is both a good and bad thing, I think, for the London tech scene. On the one hand, it’s a sign of how the city is a magnet for good talent, and that Facebook — like Google, Amazon and others — see this as a natural base for developers in their global aims.
On the other, we have already heard smaller companies lament about how big companies like Google — and, incidentally, the financial industry — are major talent magnets when it comes to developers and other tech specialists in London. (That disparity has spawned events like the Silicon Milkroundabout to carry the flame for startups.) Having Facebook here, with its current status as an employer in great demand — could make the process of attracting engineering talent to smaller startups even more challenging.
Facebook is putting one of its top engineers in charge of London. Philip Su has previously led on Facebook’s Skype integration, and others on what Facebook calls its “landing team” have helped develop such central FB features such as the App Center, Timeline, Ticker and photo products.