Scaling, I would soon find out, was the fetish of the valley, something that engineers could and did talk about for hours. Things were either scalable, which meant they could help the site grow fast indefinitely, or unscalable, which meant that the offending feature had to be quickly excised or cancelled, because it would not lead to great, automated speed and size. Unscalable usually meant something, like personal contact with customers, that couldn’t be automated, a dim reminder of the pre-industrial era, of human labor that couldn’t be programmed away.
Though I didn’t quite realize it on this first day at Facebook, I was in possession of a skill set – that of the English major – that was woefully unscalable as far as Facebook was concerned, more of a liability than an asset. When I perused Mark’s profile on Facebook after we had become virtual friends, I noticed that in the Favorite Books field he wrote, ‘I don’t read.’ – The Boy Kings, A Journey into the Heart of the Social Network, Katherine Losse