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Adam DAngelo

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Adam D'Angelo is the chief executive and co-founder of Quora, an online knowledge market based in Mountain View, California. D'Angelo competed in the Association for Computing Machinery collegiate world programming contest while attending the California Institute of Technology. In 2005, he was one of the top 24 finalists in the international Topcoder Collegiate Challenge. He also took eighth place in the 2001 USA Computing Olympiad for high school students. He was chief technology officer of Facebook, and also served as its vice president of engineering. He left Facebook in 2008. In June 2009, he started Quora with Charlie Cheever, another early Facebook employee. Quora has become one of the most popular destinations for high quality knowledge.

Companies and Investments

Lessons Learned

Filling a Knowledge Gap

There’s a lot of information on the internet, but there’s still a lot of high quality information in peoples’ heads that hasn’t gotten onto the internet. Adam aimed at making Quora a primary source of high quality information, instead of just an aggregator like Wikipedia. Other answer sites might be popular but just aren’t that informative. Good information is valuable and Quora aimed to fill the gap between what could be on the internet and what is currently on the internet.

Data-driven decision-making

Over the process of building Quora, Adam learned that when you’re small, you do things on intuition. You might change a feature because you’re annoyed with it. But when you get big and you need to make investment decisions on what to build, you need to look at the figures. Things like X% of users have encountered this issue that makes them less engaged or more engaged etc. This is important because this enables decentralization of decision-making, so it doesn’t all go through the CEO.

Building a high quality community

In order to fulfill Quora’s mission, it was necessary to build a high quality community. Part of this was done by getting people he knew like Mark Zuckerberg and other notables such as Marc Andreessen to post on Quora. He also structured the motivation of answering questions, so that people weren’t answering just for some points or promoting their businesses, but were answering out of a genuine desire to share knowledge and insights or building their reputation. This further attracts knowledgeable people to the community and keeps the quality level high, making Quora unique among its competitors.

Inspiring Quotes

Focus on the long term, and always do what’s right to grow the company and not make short-term decisions. And outlast everyone one


Adam DAngelo's Quotes

Facebook too wasn’t a new idea but I think we took the idea and we focused on execution, focused on quality and getting to scale.

Adam DAngelo

There’s been a lot of change in the world that makes it easier to start a company now than it used to be.

Adam DAngelo

One thing that is really important is hiring good people. If you can get the best people, that’s a big part of being successful.

Adam DAngelo

At Facebook and at Quora, I went from coding to management. You have to get comfortable giving up control, and you find people who do things better than you do. Quora now does better with the team we have built.

Adam DAngelo

Influential Books

John Roberts - The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth


Peter Thiel



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