Your Memories are Being Frozen

Facebook is freezing me out; they are putting me (and probably you) on ice.

You see Facebook has a problem, too many faces.  Facebook users upload 300 million new photographs every day.  Facebook is home for billions of images.

All those images need storing somewhere so Facebook runs thousands of servers and those servers need a lot of power.  It worse than that, all that power gets converted into heat, so Facebook needs even more power to keep the servers cool.

Facebook uses a lot of electricity.  It isn’t cheap providing a free service.

Nobody looks at all those photos

Most of them hardly get a second glance. 85% of Facebook’s visitors are looking at only 8% of those images.

An interesting fact but so what?

Facebook are designing against their customer’s demands.  They are building cold storage facilities for all those forgotten memories, two large data centres in the frozen north, one in Oregon and one in Sweden just south of the Arctic Circle.  That is where they will keep your forgotten memories, on servers that are switched off when nobody is looking, saving Facebook the cost of running the servers and cooling the building.

On the positive side, this is a win for energy efficiency and green thinking.

Some would argue a negative, a few Facebook customers want to look in the archives and for them it will take a second or two longer for the server to start-up and deliver the image.

But the quid pro quo (and it is a big quid) is that the popular images that 85% of us want to look at are always on and delivered straight away.

The Pareto Principle at work

This is a lovely example of the Pareto Principle or 80:20 rule.  Maybe the most useful rule of thumb you can use to improve your business:

Not all things are equal.

  • 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your issues
  • 80% of your time delivers 20% of your output (a sad fact)

Wherever you look, you will see the 80:20 rule at work.  Some things are far more important than others, even your memories.

And the sad truth be told, some of our memories are probably best left frozen.

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Facebook story courtesy of Bernie Smith


  1. Hi James,
    I learnt this rule and all about Alfredo Pareto when I was studying economics back in university more than 20 years ago. Still seeing new applications for it everyday but apart from seeing I wish I saw more doing that followed the principle.


  2. Hello James

    And one of the hardest tasks is to focus on that 20% that generates the 80%. I know this is true for me. And it is true of many in business. On a recent consulting assignment, my advice to the management team was? Focus on the 20% of the products that generate 80% of the revenue going forward. Was it listened to?


  3. Ha! Nice to see you using my photograph in the ‘Frozen Memories’ article. Just send the royalties to the usual address.

    • James Lawther says:

      Leads to a very interesting question about copy-write. What do you think? Best frozen or not?

      Be good to see you


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