Happy Chinese New Year! Our February cover story takes you inside The Social(ist) Networks and the battle for the world’s biggest market.
China’s fake Facebooks started as mere copycats but now drive innovation in advertising and gaming. They’ve also built something unique in their country: a place where people can find love, speak out, and be whoever they want to be.
That repository of unusual questions and candid answers, Quora, continues to generate information you can’t find anywhere else.
The question: “Does Facebook need a pet (Android robot, Twitter bird, etc) to improve its corporate image?”
The answer: It almost did have a pet/mascot. That’s right, we narrowly missed a Facebook hedgehog.
Says Ezra Callahan, Facebook old-timer
True story: in the very early days of Facebook, Sean Parker wanted to make Facebook’s mascot a hedgehog. We had early plans to build a local business program around each college on the site (a Yelp-like service similar to what later became Facebook Pages). As part of that, Sean wanted us to send each participating business a little blue stuffed hedgehog. Matt Cohler and I even sourced a couple companies to make them.
Sean actually wanted us to get a real hedgehog for the office. Turns out they aren’t street legal in California, or something, but I guess he found a way to obtain one in Nevada. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your affinity for hedgehogs) Sean couldn’t convince any of us to drive there to get one.
The local business program was shelved mid 2005 (we decided a revenue product wasn’t as important after the Accel financing), and Sean let his dream of the hedgehog go with it.
How did Aaron Sorkin miss that? He had Sean Parker doing coke and chasing underage women, but somehow overlooked his Sega Genesis addiction. Maybe he’s saving it for a sequel?