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Noah Kagan – Maverick or Eccentric Genius?

He cuts a mer­cu­r­ial shape across the tech land­scape, but the famous­ly for­mer Face­book #30 Noah Kagan has final­ly put the record straight and moved on.

Kagan’s noto­ri­ous ejec­tion from Face­book Tow­ers in 2006 has passed into tech folk­lore as a les­son in how not to help the world’s most promis­ing start­up devel­op, but a recent post on the App­Sumo CEO’s blog has giv­en us a glimpse into his world and how he real­ly felt about leav­ing Face­book and miss­ing out on a life-chang­ing sum of mon­ey when the com­pa­ny float­ed ear­li­er this year.

In His Own Words

Kagan’s bru­tal­ly hon­est post shows a philo­soph­i­cal side to the guy that was labelled a ‘lia­bil­i­ty’ and clear­ly demon­strates how he has matured since the Face­book show­down. He now agrees that at the time, the right deci­sion was made for the company.

He said: “After run­ning App­Sumo for over two years I’ve final­ly under­stood that Face­book made the right deci­sion to let me go…

“I was a show-er at Face­book. I dealt with chaos of a 30 per­son com­pa­ny extreme­ly well.  Most deci­sions were me walk­ing over to Mark’s desk for approval, but at 150 peo­ple it was a group meet­ing of 30 peo­ple or me hav­ing to sched­ule time via Mark’s sec­re­tary… I was a bit annoyed with the sit­u­a­tion even though our mem­o­ries always deceive us.”

Despite the enor­mous set­back, Kagan had sur­round­ed him­self with good peo­ple and ben­e­fit­ed from their advice and expe­ri­ence. Ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Andrew Chen recent­ly revealed how he encour­aged his friend to learn from the expe­ri­ence and turn it unto a positive.

He told Kagan: “You’re fun­da­men­tal­ly unem­ploy­able, but that’s a good thing. Now go start a company.”

AF: After Facebook

Noah Kagan was fired just eight months after join­ing Face­book as prod­uct man­ag­er. He lat­er admit­ted that at the time, this wasn’t one of his strengths and he should per­haps have con­cen­trat­ed on exe­cu­tion and mar­ket­ing. Fol­low­ing his exit, he joined Mint as employ­ee num­ber four — Direc­tor of Mar­ket­ing, devel­op­ing the strat­e­gy to launch a site that now has over sev­en mil­lion users.

After Mint came Kagan’s first CEO posi­tion, as founder and head of Kick­Flip – a pay­ment com­pa­ny for social games. Some­what iron­i­cal­ly, this neat bit of kit quick­ly became the #1 Face­book app of its time, mor­phed into Gam­bit and even­tu­al­ly served 40 mil­lion users.

In 2010 Kagan found­ed his cur­rent com­pa­ny App­Sumo, a dai­ly deals web­site for dig­i­tal prod­ucts which he devel­oped after iden­ti­fy­ing a gap in the mar­ket for a dai­ly deal or prod­uct bun­dle sites for the grow­ing app mar­ket. The site was built in one week­end by an out­sourced team in Pak­istan for $60. The site now has over 700,000 subscribers.

Despite being on the receiv­ing end of a rather pub­lic sack­ing, it appears Kagan has the tenac­i­ty and where­with­al to dust him­self off, learn from the expe­ri­ence and move on.

“I want­ed atten­tion, I put myself before Face­book,” he said. “I host­ed events at the office, pub­lished things on this blog to get atten­tion and used the brand more than I added to it.

“Les­son learned: The BEST way to get famous is make amaz­ing stuff. That’s it.”

So that’s what he did.

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