Going Deeper Into the “Hacker Way” Philosophy of Mark Zuckerberg and Most Other Silicon Valley Leaders

July 23, 2017

Last week’s blog provided an Introduction to Hacker Way Philosophy. This week I go a little deeper into all nine concepts of the philosophy as explained by Mark Zuckerberg in his initial Letter to Investors. The nine are shown in the figure right, which is a stylized enneagon or nonagram, also known as a Star of Goliath. The five primary ideas are shown one the top: Focus on Impact, Be Fast, Be Bold, Be Open and Develop Social Values. The bottom four are secondary, but important. You will find these four posted everywhere at Facebook headquarters: Code Winds Arguments, Hands On, Constant Improvements and Meritocratic. See: Mark Zuckerberg’s original treatise on the Hacker Way, contained in his initial Facebook public offering Letter to Investors.

Here is one of Mark Zuckerberg’s best known lines on the Hacker Way, a philosophy followed by Facebook, and many, if not most, other high-tech companies:

The Hacker Way is an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration. Hackers believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete. They just have to go fix it — often in the face of people who say it’s impossible or are content with the status quo.

Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once.

Here is my latest video commenting on the nine fundamental ideas of the Hacker Way as set out by Zuckerberg.




Another new development I would like to share with you today is my new focus on the ethics of artificial intelligence. See the new web page I created today with the address of AI-Ethics.com. It appears to a point of maximum impact for the future of organic life forms.

Introduction to Hacker Way Philosophy

July 16, 2017

Ralph Losey – 7/16/17

I have spoken several times before concerning the Hacker Way philosophy. I have always focused on my work as a lawyer specializing in e-discovery. I have also included this philosophy in my teachings in this area of the law, including the use of AI in document review. See: the TAR Course;  HackerWay.org and HackerLaw.org.

The video talk in this blog takes it outside of the legal community so it can have maximum impact. I think it is important for everyone to understand the credo behind Facebook and most other 21st Century software tech companies. No one else seems to be talking about it, or sharing the secret sauce behind their success. That is contrary to the fundamental Hacker principle of Openness, so, as an old Hacker myself, I am stepping in to fill the gap. That’s just what I do. (Stepping-In is discussed in Davenport and Kirby, Only Humans Need Apply, and by Dean Gonsowski, A Clear View or a Short Distance? AI and the Legal Industry, and A Changing World: Ralph Losey on “Stepping In” for e-Discovery. Also see: Losey, Lawyers’ Job Security in a Near Future World of AI, Part Two.)

Facebook’ corp headquarters photo with symbols added.

In this below eleven minute video I am taking this sharing and openness to the next step. Here I address the five principles and related ideas of the Hacker Way as applied to life in general, not just my legal specialties. Hope you find this provides some value to our fast evolving computer culture. Please leave some comments, either here or at my new Facebook site: HackerWay.org.



If you have not already read Mark Zuckerberg’s original treatise on the Hacker Way, contained in his initial public offering Letter to Investors, I suggest you do so now. Also see my related ideas on history and social progress at Info→Knowledge→Wisdom.

I look forward to your comments.

Below is a graphic showing all nine concepts of the Hacker Way following the form of a enneagon or Nonagram, also known as a Star of Goliath.


Mark Zuckerberg and the Hacker Way: Be Open and Build Social Value (More New Videos Added to the TAR Course)

July 9, 2017

The two videos in this blog on the Hacker Way are also included in the Welcome page of the TAR Course. Other minor improvements were made this week to the Welcome and the First Class.

This article continues and completes the blog I wrote last week, Hacker Way: Focus on Impact, Be Fast, Be Bold. The Hacker Way as written out by Mark Zuckerberg contains five basic credos. Zuckerberg, Letter to Investors (1/31/12). We covered the first three last week: Impactful – Fast – Bold. This week we cover the last two: Open and Values. You can find them all together, and more, on the Welcome Page to the Tar Course, now with its own convenient address: TARcourse.com. Also see HackerWay.org.

Since Facebook now has over Two BILLION Members and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg is the subject of intense public scrutiny and admiration, you would think that more people would be talking about how he thinks. Mark set forth his ideas, his basic tech-view of life, which he called Hacker Way, when Facebook went public. He made it the central talking point in Facebook’s Letter to Investors (1/31/12). Yet, now, five and a half years later, I am still the only one who has written about it in depth, and the only one who keeps writing about. Why is that? Is everyone else lost in VR? Wake up fellow hackers. Share your insights. I cannot do this alone. Connections and community efforts are the whole point of Facebook. Or was it Twitter? I jest.

There are thousands of other humble hackers like me that know about the Hacker Way, both from theory and a lifetime of experience. Some of them must write too. Yet, so far, they have been silent. There must be many others who know what Mark is talking about, who know where he is coming from. It is not about criminal hackers stealing stuff, nor Russian espionage. It is about creating stuff using technology and code. It is about Continuous Improvements, Hands-On, Meritocratic and Code Winning Arguments. It is about being Bold, Fast and Focusing on Impact. It is about being Open and Building Social Value.

Many know the principles articulated by Mark, and know about other related hacker principles and practices. Yet the silence, aside from me, is deafening. Follow the Hacker Way and Be Open. Join with me in the discussion and analysis of the Hacker Way that Mark Zuckerberg set out. Don’t be afraid to break stuff by making mistakes in writing. Be bold and leave public comments below.

Mark, if you somehow read this, I would like to interview you on the Hacker Way and publish it here. The world needs to hear more from you.

I do not want to be a Zuckerberg fan boy, or anything like that, but he is already an important historical figure. His philosophy is bona fide. The success of Facebook and other hacker based companies proves this. The Hacker Way philosophy deserves much more attention than it has received. The academics are probably clueless, but there must be other hands-on computer geeks like me that can articulate this into words, and not just more products, more code (not that there is anything wrong with that). What Mark has expressed so far is just the barest Zen essence of Hacker Way. We need to go beyond mere information and share the knowledge, and live the wisdom. Be open.

We should not make Mark Zuckerberg into just another celebrity, another wonder-kid billionaire who made the cover of time magazine, which is what has happened so far. He deserves to be taken more seriously than that. Don’t just admire him. Listen to him.

After I wrote this, I found an new article by , Mark Zuckerberg shouldn’t be president, but he should be listened to (Salon, 7/9/17). He seems to echo my idea, but not really. Roza’s article pertained to history and politics and Zuckerberg’s idea on universal basic income as expressed in his commencement speech at Harvard in May 2017 where he said: “We should explore ideas like universal basic income to make sure that everyone has a cushion to try new ideas.” There was not a single word in Roza’s “listen to” article on Mark’s Hacker Way, and he did not really talk much about Zuckerberg either. For more on Zuckerberg’s basic income idea see Mark’s Facebook post on his trip to Alaska and that state’s basic income experiment dated July 5, 2017. This idea is impactful and bold, albeit not new, just like Zuckerberg’s articulation of the old idea of Hacker Way.

I am not trying to promote a Zuckerberg run for presidency (although I would certainly prefer him over our current mess). See: Lucinda Shen, You Can Now Donate to a Mark Zuckerberg for President Campaign (Fortune, May 24, 2017); Sonya Mann, If Mark Zuckerberg Ran America Like He Runs Facebook… (Inc. 5/30/17). Although not promoting Zuckerberg for President (not yet), I do think that his ideas are important, all of his ideas, especially those on philosophy that are near and dear to my heart, namely Hacker Way. Also see Zuckerberg’s February 2017 statement on Facebook, Building Global Community. This important Facebook post elaborates on the Social Value that Facebook is building.

I am not trying to make Mark into a philosopher-guru either. That is contrary to the Hacker Way, which is more like Zen than religion. To paraphrase an old Zen saying, if you meet Buddha on the road, run him over! We do not need more celebrities, more gurus. We need hackers that take action and talk. We need writers that really listen to Mark’s entire message and are bold and open enough to write about it.

What follows are videos of me talking about the fourth and fifth components of the Hacker Way (Be Open, Build Social Values) and how they apply to the Law, e-Discovery and TAR. Each video is hacked into two parts due to WordPress size limits. Also See: Losey, “The Hacker Way” – What the e-Discovery Industry Can Learn From Facebook’s Management Ethic (8/18/13); The Solution to Empty-Suits in the Board Room: The “Hacker Way” of ManagementPart One and Part Two (8/22/13); Losey’s LTN editorial, Vendor CEOs: Stop Being Empty Suits & Embrace the Hacker Way. You may also want to check out HackerLaw.org and HackerWay.org.


Be Open



Build Social Value



By the way, it is interesting to note that the address of Facebook headquarters is: 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, 94025.

Also see: Catherine Clifford, How Mark Zuckerberg keeps Facebook’s 18,000+ employees innovating: ‘Is this going to destroy the company? If not, let them test it.’ (CNBC 6/5/17).

Please see my blog last week, Hacker Way: Focus on Impact, Be Fast, Be Bold, to see my videos and writings on the Hacker Way and the first three components: Impact, Bold and Fast. Also see HackerWay.org.

%d bloggers like this: