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The Woman Trying to Make Facebook a Hardware Hit

Shortly before Regina Dugan quit as chief of Google’s hardware group a year ago, she was burned out. Years of shifting corporate priorities and blue-sky projects that didn’t work out weighed on her, people close to her said. She was thinking about leaving the tech industry to “become a barista,” she later wrote on Facebook. Instead, she joined Facebook last April to run its experimental hardware group, Building 8, a position that may prove as challenging as her role at Google.

Part of the job is to develop successful new devices that Facebook could ship widely and quickly. That’s something Facebook has never done before, in contrast to rivals Snap, Google and Amazon, each of which have had success with different hardware products. And Ms. Dugan is shepherding ambitious projects, not typical hardware lineups like tablets or phones. The hope is that Facebook can leverage its billions of users to control the next platform beyond smartphones, and sell hardware that helps people connect in ways beyond text, photos and video.  

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UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a reference to Business Insider's earlier report on Mr. Chevillet's hiring and Building 8's work on brain-scanning technology.

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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
Founding Partner, Eight
Chamath Palihapitiya
Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder & Managing Partner, SocialCapital
Tina Sharkey
Tina Sharkey
CEO, Brandless
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Jonah Peretti
CEO, Buzzfeed
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Adam D'Angelo
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Brit Morin
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Christina Miller
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Max Levchin
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Director of Product, Facebook
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James Murdoch
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Andrew Kortina
Founder, Venmo
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Ben Chestnut
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Ruchi Sanghvi
Ruchi Sanghvi
VP Operations, Dropbox
“I’m optimistic that technology can help...it will require new advances. Including hardware advances. That are social first.”