Going from launching Facebook in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 to an initial public offering for $104 billion eight years later is an astounding feat for any entrepreneur. Now add to the mix that this was orchestrated by a young leader who has yet to turn 29, and it is unbelievable, fascinating, and raises the question: how did he do it?
In Think Like Zuck, Ekaterina Walter, author and social innovator at Intel, distills the evolution of Facebook into a digestible chronology. The story of Facebook’s rise is told through the lessons learned by a young and evolving leader and his commitment to a vision. Around the stories, Walter aligns the Facebook business approach into meaningful, actionable insights for startups, small businesses, large corporations, and inspired individuals waiting for their chance to be a leader who creates a successful business.
In “Think Like Zuck,” passion, purpose, people, product, and partnership are identified as the pillars of Facebook’s success. Walter also integrates the successes and insights of other visionary companies such as Zappos, TOMS Shoes, CollegeHumor.com, Southwest, and several others to prove that the principles to which Facebook adheres are also the ones that are driving the success of other companies as well.
Implementable insights for entrepreneurs from the pillars of Facebook’s success include:
- Passion for your vision, product, service, or future is paramount. Passion to act on your idea, to seek out more, and to persevere through roadblocks and failures. Zuck’s mission of facilitating a connected world is fueled by his passion and the team around him who support his philosophy. His actions, team, and business model support this unwavering mission.
- Purpose: start with the why. Get to the truth and insight of your business model and idea. Keep it simple, and relentlessly pursue the achievement of purpose. Purpose is many things; in Mark Zuckerberg’s mind, it was to build something with longevity, with a goal without bounds, one of a connected world.
- People: without the right individuals walking alongside you, ventures will unravel and fall short. Facebook has fostered an environment of buzzing empowerment, product development, and continual improvement. Hiring for fit, culture, and passion is key to achieving important milestones to great triumph. Even the most mature of companies can learn lessons from the people-fueled business philosophies of Zappos and Southwest Airlines.
- Product: your business concept or idea may not be original, but your insight and the lens by which you view life and the gaps in the marketplace are what create an ownable concept. Facebook was not the first social network, but Zuckerberg’s point of view and his observations of how those around him were seeking to connect differentiated his offering enough to change everything for everyone.
- Partnerships: the incredible accomplishments of Facebook are due in large part to the partnerships that evolved through the company’s rise. The integral role of Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer cannot be overlooked in any dialogue about Facebook as well as the commitment of countless engineers, supporters, and the thousands of businesses that were started as a result of the Facebook offering. Delivering a solid product, Zuckerberg and his idea have spurred billions of dollars of revenue and opportunities via the Facebook ecosystem.
This book in some ways is a business biography and in others a guide for a future entrepreneur, a challenge to business leaders, and the evolution of Walter’s philosophy of the Hummingbird Effect of Leadership. Walter in many ways humanizes Facebook’s success, makes it approachable, and highlights the incredible insight and wisdom of Zuckerberg. There will be continual detractors and critics of the success of Facebook, but Mark Zuckerberg shows us through his actions what unyielding drive looks like and how much we can learn.