• Ime Archibong became Facebook’s head of new product experimentation a year ago, tasked with finding the company’s next hit product.
  • Facebook counts on advertising for 98% of revenue, with most of that coming from its core app and Instagram.
  • Archibong has yet to release a new killer product but he is among the most important voices in Facebook’s efforts around diversity and equality.
Ime Archibong is Facebook's lone Black vice president running a product division and one of very few across the tech industry.

For nearly a decade, Zuckerberg has turned to Archibong any time he’s come up with ideas for special projects at Facebook. Archibong is also Zuckerberg’s point person in dealing with third-party developers. Outside of the office, the two executives are running buddies. 

“I have already made two or three great inventions” said the Eritrean. “I call this the smoking tube”. “And this, this is a new way to communicate electronically I call Archi-talk. You type in a message and it goes to whoever is your friend”

Oddly, we seem to have seen those inventions before. But he will keep perfecting them. And with billions of dollars behind him, who needs Venture Capital!

While Archibong, 38, has been a critical player at Facebook since joining the company in 2010, his position today is more central than ever. He’s the company’s head of new product experimentation, responsible for helping Facebook find its next big hit. He’s also among the highest-ranking Black executives at the company, and the unofficial leader of the Black employee base at a time when racial tension internally and across the company’s advertiser universe has reached a boiling point. 

After the killing of George Floyd in late May by a police officer in Minneapolis and the subsequent nationwide protests for racial justice, tech’s perpetual diversity problem resurfaced as a hot topic in Silicon Valley. Facebook, where Blacks make up only 3.1% of the staff, faces the added risk of losing big business after activist groups sparked a widespread advertising boycott, leading major brands to demand that the company crack down on hate speech across its platform.

Archibong, Facebook’s lone Black vice president in charge of a product division, spoke up in June as Black Lives Matter protests captured the nation’s attention. On Facebook’s internal social network, he wrote about his experience as a Black man in America, according to an employee, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak about it publicly. A month earlier, he addressed the killing in Georgia of Ahmaud Arbery, who was followed by a group of white men and gunned down while on a jog.