As I observed more than once at Facebook, and as I imagine is the case in all organizations from business to government, high-level decisions that affected thousands of people and billions in revenue would be made on gut feel, the residue of whatever historical politics were in play, and the ability to cater persuasive messages to people either busy, impatient, or uninterested (or all three).
To quote Balzac, “The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a forgotten crime, as the crime was properly done.”
Sometimes you don’t finish a product, you merely abandon any hope of presently improving it, and out the door it goes.
Basically it was this: when you logged out of Facebook, instead of seeing the usual Facebook log-in/register page, you would see what amounted to the upper half of a regular Facebook page; that is, the cover photo and header that we all know from our own Facebook profiles. The idea was to sell this space to the richest and stupidest advertiser of all, the legacy-admissions student of digital media: the brand marketer. Brand marketers, like politicians, are people paid to spend other people’s money. In this case, their putative goal is to raise “brand awareness,” that diaphanous and quasi-intangible substance that makes you covet a $10,000 Rolex Submariner when you finally get that bonus or promotion.