Mike Matas was sitting on an L-shaped couch inside one of the largest offices at Facebook, holding an iPhone that plugged into a Mac laptop through a long, black cord. It was the early afternoon, and he was surrounded by several Facebook colleagues, including Chris Cox, who oversees the development of new products at the social networking giant as one of the top lieutenants to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The office belongs to Cox, and it often hosts meetings like this one, where Matas was about to reveal something he’d hacked together earlier that morning, after the idea came to him the night before. As the others watched, Matas tapped on his iPhone and opened a digital photo of Niagara Falls. The phone zoomed in on the heart of the image, showing the glistening falls in sharp detail, and then, simply by tilting the phone back and forth, he could explore other parts of this high-res photo, panning across the image as if he was moving through a virtual world or a 3D game.