How Facebook stacks up against other tech giants when they were 15

Embarrassment of riches.
Embarrassment of riches.
Image: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
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Facebook was founded 15 years ago last week. In just a decade and a half, it has become nothing less than a juggernaut, one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world, and one of the most visited sites on the internet.

Despite a slew of scandals, including serious accusations of undermining democracy across the world, the company keeps posting record results, quarter after quarter. Fifteen years after it was founded, and nearly seven years after the company went public, its year-over-year quarterly growth is still more than 30%.

Facebook owes its astonishing pace in large part to its early motto, “Move fast and break things,” which CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said in 2014 Facebook would abandon in favor of a more considered approach. (This, of course, is debatable: just a year after this supposed change of speed, the company unveiled a live-streaming service, which it quickly turned out was difficult to control and has led to dangerous outcomes).

Moving so fast as to upend entire industries is not unique to the company—after all, using the term “disruption” to describe this kind of breakneck innovation existed well before Facebook. But how would Zuckerberg’s brainchild stack up against other modern US tech behemoths when they were in their teenage years?

Here’s what we found:

There’s no other major modern US tech giant that’s gone public and managed to maintain the revenue and growth rates Facebook has. Despite a rocky start on the Nasdaq, and constant self-inflicted wounds, the company continues to thrive. Its $477 billion market capitalization is the sixth-largest of all US companies today (on the S&P 500). Not bad for a company that started out as a hot-or-not ratings site.