In your opinion, what makes companies such as Facebook, Google, Snapchat, etc so successful?
All of the companies you listed were the first to effectively innovate in a particular area. Google was the first truly useful and easy to manage search engine for the public, Facebook was the first easy to use social network, and Snapchat completely pioneered a new niche for itself. While few technology companies do something truly new, they often are the first to do it in an approachable way for consumers and businesses (there’s a good split of consumer facing and business facing technology companies). If you look at Apple, they weren’t the first company to make a smartphone, but they were the first to do it right - that’s the key.
Furthermore, all of these companies are very careful as they grow to culture an ethos of innovation and dynamicism. Snapchat isn’t that big, but certainly inside Facebook and Google there’s modern procedures in place designed to stoke innovation. The most famous example was Google giving their workers a time percentage to assign to personal projects, which yielded products as influential as Gmail. A common theme in these companies is objective based management. Workers don’t need to be at the office for certain times, but rather just get their work done somehow by a deadline. Giving workers autonomy has been proven in many cases to improve the innovation in companies.
These companies also try to make work fun. At Google and Facebook, the companies hire great chefs, and have recreation facilities all over the campus. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘The Internship’ I can personally attest to the fact that it accurately reflects how the inside of much of the Googleplex (at least for developers, not as much for the legal team etc.) is laid out. Food areas, slides, pool rooms etc. This is because Google is trying to attract the best talent. At a certain level, workers stop wanting specific companies, and companies start wanting specific workers. Google is competing with the other technology companies for the top workers - and in doing so, creates an environment that promotes working long hours, and innovating, thus making the company more successful.