Tech companies have long used "hack-a-thons" -- highly focused all-night coding sessions -- to crack tough problems and develop new products. Now Facebook stages monthlong sessions in which engineers have carte blanche to shelve their regular duties and immerse themselves deeply in new problems. That strategy led directly to the social giant's new Deals feature, insiders say, and helps the company to develop innovative products that are still firmly rooted in the company's culture and broader strategy.

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