Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth on writing a ‘personal API’ for your career – Business Insider – Business Insider

Posted: May 14, 2020 at 6:46 pm

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One of Facebook's most important executives has explained how employees can create their own application programming interfaces (APIs) to maximize their career development.

The idea is the brainchild of Andrew "Boz" Bosworth vice president of augmented and virtual reality at Facebook who spelled it out in a post on his personal blog Wednesday.

It's a slightly labored analogy perhaps, but APIs are a bunch of features that developers can use as building blocks for their own apps. Apple, for example, offers an API for the iPhone camera which means anyone building a photo app doesn't need to build the camera software from scratch.

As such, Bosworth reckons that if employees write their own APIs and define how others should best interact with them they'll enable colleagues to get the most out of their abilities. More specifically, he listed four ways people can do this.

"First, engage your manager," he wrote. "Rather than being a passive participant in the relationship you should be actively steering it. Make your manager into your sponsor.

"They should be sharing your narrative in rooms you aren't in. Tell them what kinds of problems you'd like to be working on and check up with them regularly on their progress finding you more opportunities.

Boz continued: "Second, master the art of the humble biography. When you meet a new colleague, introduce yourself and add a sentence about what kinds of things you love to work on and maybe give an example. The goal here is not to impress them but rather to enlist them so they are able funnel interesting work your way if they see it."

Bosworth also described opportunism and the ability to set your own boundaries as key parts of your personal API.

"Third, don't miss the opportunities that do come by. When you are in a meeting and a problem that interests you comes up don't hesitate to speak about your enthusiasm to work on it. Ask teams who are working on interesting things what kinds of problems they have that you might be able to help with.

Bosworth's last piece of advice is to try and avoid anything you think might fail.

"Finally, learn when to say no," he wrote. "Just as important as finding more work you are interested in is avoiding a reputation for doing work you aren't interested in, especially if you don't think you will do it well."

The confident, outspoken nature of Bosworth's post is typically in character, too, as he's far from averse to sharing his views on a range of topics.

In a 2016 internal company memo leaked to BuzzFeed News, Bosworth famously described Facebook's "ugly truth" as a "de facto" faith in connecting people even where such connections could be used to facilitate bullying or terrorism.

More recently, he warned his fellow Facebook employees against using their power to stop Donald Trump's possible re-election for a second term as president.

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Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth on writing a 'personal API' for your career - Business Insider - Business Insider

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May 14th, 2020 at 6:46 pm