Former Facebook Engineer Recounts Zuckerberg's Draconian Rule And Physical Threats With A Sword

Long before Facebook was $190 billion company (in terms of market capitalization), Mark Zuckerberg used to lord over his employees with an unusual style. How unusual? Well, have you ever been fake-threatened with a samurai sword if you didn't hit a deadline? Former Facebook engineer Noah Kagan claims that was one just one of Zuckerberg's unique ways of motivating employees during his early days.

Kagan, who was the 30th employee at Facebook and now runs SumoMe, recounts some interesting tidbits about his time at the social network in an e-book titled, "How I Lost $170 Million: MY TIME as #30 AT FACEBOOK" (PDF). He recalls how Zuckerberg would mock-threaten to chop someone's head off for "bad work." Where Zuckerberg got his hands on a samurai sword isn't something Kagan knows, but he remembers that wasn't the only thing employees had to be on the lookout for.

Mark Zuckerberg
Image Source: Flickr via TechCrunch

"While I don’t remember the feature we were working on, engineer Chris Putnam and I had spent almost a month building something we thought Mark would love. He walks to Chris’ computer and we demo the product to Mark. Mark thought it was sh*t. I know so because instead of giving product feedback, he screamed 'this is sh*t — redo it!,' threw water on Chris’ computer, and walked away. All of us stood around in shock," Kagan says.

It doesn't sound as though Kagan holds a grudge. He's quick to point out that Zuckerberg was 23 years old at the time and in charge of one of the fastest growing websites on the planet.

"As mature as he could be he also was still immature," Kagan said.