Standard strings are slowing you down. Strings are everywhere. Changing the performance of std::string has a measurable impact on the speed of real-world C++ programs. But how can you make strings better? In this talk, we'll explore how Facebook optimizes strings, especially with our open-source std::string replacement, fbstring. We'll dive into implementation tradeoffs, especially the storage of data in the struct; examine which standard rules can and cannot be flouted, such as copy-on-write semantics; and share some of the things we've learned along the way, like how hard it is to abolish the null-terminator. War stories will be provided.