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Mark Zuckerberg: 'We Buy Companies To Get Excellent People'

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/19/10 12:18 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:05 PM ET

Zuckerberg

Startups: if you're looking to be bought out by Facebook, you might want to polish your site's "About Our Team" page.

Speaking to an audience at Y Combinator's Startup School last weekend, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that "Facebook has not once bought a company for the company itself. We buy companies to get excellent people."

Facebook's chief is on the prowl for top talent. And scooping up that talent has recently meant absorbing the companies they run. Before this year, Facebook had acquired just two companies in its history. It now owns seven, including Hot Potato and Nextstop, both of which were acquired in July. As TechCrunch's MG Siegler points out, the Nextstop deal was all about Facebook's "unquenchable thirst for top talent."

Facebook's strategy hasn't changed much since its first acquisition, in 2007, when Zuckerberg snatched up Parakey, a startup run by Mozilla Firefox co-founders Blake Ross and Joe Hewitt. With Parakey's two leaders under his wing, Zuckerberg enlisted Ross to spearhead Facebook's internationalization, and Hewitt to build Facebook's mobile apps. The social networking company went on to enjoy huge success in both the international and the mobile markets.

But buying a company doesn't ensure its top brass will follow. So how does Facebook convince the best and brightest to join its growing empire? Perhaps it's the company's $33.7 billion valuation, according to The Financial Times. Or, as Zuckerberg put it last weekend, "A lot of the best people come to Facebook because of the culture we have and because we have enormous leverage ... I can't think of another company where each engineer services more than a million users."

Watch Zuckerberg explain why Facebook buys startups:

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