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Social networkers of a certain age remember Friendster, the then-Mountain View, Calif.-based site that launched in 2002 and allowed users to fill out an online profile and connect with people they knew in real life.

The site lives on today as a Malaysia-based social gaming site, but in 2004 it ruled the social-networking world.

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"I don't know if they did it deliberately, but they started at one US college campus, then another, then another," he said.

Not only did the gradual widening of the inner circle stop the engineers from becoming too technically overwhelmed with growth, it also created allure. As a high school senior, many of my friends eagerly awaited the day their e-mail addresses were registered, because that meant they could join Facebook.) But as exciting as that exclusivity was, the game changer was when the company decided it was not just going to serve the youth market but the general public, said Charlene Li, co-founder of the research firm Altimeter Group. "If [Zuckerberg] had asked users, "What do you want?

," they would have never said, "Add my parents." Usurping the usurper We know how history played out. , the company made .59 billion in revenue, and has finally learned how to make money on mobile -- a problem facing every modern tech firm.

"When you have the scale of something like Facebook, it doesn't take a lot of innovation to stay on top," she said.

"They just need to be good enough." For his part, Zuckerberg knows the power of resiliency.

So I'm going to go to My Space." For Friendster then, it was not about a decline in users, but an inability to grow as fast as competitors.

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