July 16, 2013
Facebook Position Opens After Gowalla Co-Founder Exits
Peter Suciu for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The social network apparently has a couple of openings. On Tuesday it was reported that Facebook's product manager of location and events Josh Williams is checking out of the company after just 18 months on the job.
Williams' departure was first reported July 15 by AllThingsD. He hasn't officially announced his next move, but sources told AllThingsD that he plans to stay in San Francisco and could work on a new startup venture.
"Joshua has been a valuable member of Facebook," a spokesperson for Facebook told AllThingsD. "We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors."
Williams was co-founder of the location-based check-in startup Gowalla, which social media giant Facebook acquired in 2012. Gowalla, which launched in 2007 specialized in venue check-ins, much like its biggest rival Foursquare, but in 2011 minimized the check-in activities in favor of user generated social travel guides, and expert commentary. It was shut down just months after being acquired by Facebook, but rival Foursquare still continues on, although it has also evolved from a simple check-in service to more of a location discovery service.
As for Williams, he is certainly not without connections in the technology space and likely he won't need to polish up his resume. Prior to co-founding Gowalla he was a principal at Firewheel Design, a user-interface consultancy firm, where his clients included Microsoft, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Thompson Reuters and Causes.
At Facebook Williams served as the social network's lead on various local initiatives, which remain among Facebook's top priorities as the social media giant continues to branch out to mobile. He became the product manager for Facebook Pages, Locations and Events and is credited with helping revamp the Pages product, bringing more focus on user ratings and reviews.
Williams isn't the only recent departure.
He is actually the latest in a string of departures from the social network, and trails that of advertising exec Gokul Rajaram, engineering director Josh Wiseman and general counsel Ted Ullyot, Cnet reported Tuesday.
Williams had been seemingly pleased with his role at Facebook, and back in February Williams penned a post on the blog site Medium, in which talked about his goals at the company : "Today I'm at Facebook. It's a special time to be at the company right now," he posted. "We're able to build unique products that few others can dream of. But those same challenges still present themselves: How do we choose our own path? Build to our own strengths? Avoid the gravity holes?"
"These are the questions I chew on every morning," he added.
Williams' departure also comes as another Gowalla employee has announced plans to leave the social media giant. Instagram designer Tim Van Damme, who had worked at Gowalla prior to joining Instragram before it was acquired by Facebook, announced that he will also depart the company.
"Tim has contributed a lot to the look and feel of many of our products and we're thankful for his contributions to our design team," Instagram told AllThingsD on Monday. "We wish him the best."