10 Success lessons from Mark Zuckerberg – “Youngest Billionaire” for entrepreneurs
Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet who created the Facebook social network that now has more than 1 billion monthly active users.
He’s the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, and his personal wealth, as of July 2015, is estimated to be $38.6 billion.
Zuckerberg’s brainchild has now linked people in a way no other platform could. Be it his work ethics, weird obsession with same coloured clothing or choosing the colour blue because of his colourblindness, there is no doubt that he is arguably one of the most admired & successful businessmen out there.
Here are the 10 success lessons from Mark Zuckerberg – “Youngest Billionaire” for entrepreneurs,
1. Have a high purpose
Zuckerberg says that he never intended to start Facebook as a company. According to him, he just wanted it personally to satisfy a global need to connect. His social mission has always been “to make the world more open and connected”. In one of his letters to the shareholders, Zuckerberg wrote:
“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.”
2. Hire the best talent
In 2008, Zuckerberg brought on board Sheryl Sandberg from Google as the new COO. By doing so, he was acknowledging the truth about what he wasn’t best known for: people skills. That appointment marks just one of many that Mark made, for the better of the company. And though his vision has largely steered the company over the years, it probably wouldn’t be any close to where it is now without the right team.
He says he spends roughly a quarter of his time trying to find the right people to build his team. He’s always on the hunt for new talent that he can put into “impactful roles”.
3. Move fast and break things
Facebook has long sworn by this motto, thanks to Zuckerberg and the letter he wrote to potential shareholders. He’s never been afraid of moving fast enough to shake things up, with the risk of making mistakes always there.
When Facebook first introduced News Feed, there was a major uproar among the social network’s users, so much so that a protest group on the site hit a 700,000-strong membership only a few days later. Users were infuriated, and it looked like the end of Facebook had come. But they added privacy settings and tried to make users see how it worked. In the end, the users got used to it, and even loved it.
4. Give importance to your family
This is one of the essential entrepreneurial lessons that businessmen can learn from Mark Zuckerberg. He recognizes the importance of shutting down and spending time with family. There is nothing erroneous in chasing success but it is nullified if at the end of the day you have no one to share your success with. No matter how much you want to be successful and climb the corporate ladder quickly, you cannot afford to neglect your family.
On May 19, 2012, Mark Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan and finally they live happy together. He had taken two months of paternity leave when his wife delivered a daughter. Now what is conspicuous is not what Mark does in the two months, but in the upcoming months and years after that.
5. Difficult problems demand innovative solutions
Mark Zuckerberg advises entrepreneurs to be innovative. While it is tough to prophesy what the future holds for Facebook but the fact that this social networking site has successfully survived for so long is an achievement in itself. Innovation is all that raises the productivity of both capital and labour but if the particular innovation creates a new value that didn’t exist before, it would come across a lot of problems that too didn’t exist before and such problems would require the innovative ideas to solve the same. The problems associated with the innovative things demand innovation to solve it.
“Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
– Albert Einstein
This is a favorite quote of Zuck. And he has certainly practiced the underlying principle. With Facebook, it was instantly clear what it was about and the focus was always on must-have items.
7. Learn to say “No”
s Facebook grew in popularity, there were many proposals, such as for new product features or partnerships. In some cases, Zuck got mega buyout offers.
However, he always looked back to his mission – and if something was not a fit, he’d just say “no” to it. It meant that he maintained extraordinary focus and did not get distracted on trivial matters — which can be lethal for a startup.
8. Need to be constantly growing
Zuckerberg wants change, and he wants growth, too. In the early days, he set up a growth team whose mandate was to get more people to sign up on Facebook. Facebook observed that users needed at least 10 friends on the site to keep coming back, so it streamlined the signup process and set up a suggestion feature to help people discover other people they might know.
Part of this growth was the ability of Facebook to listen intently to its users despite growing ever so big. Zuckerberg’s focus has always been on two things: having a clear direction for the company (constantly improving) and a great team driving in this direction. With this focus in place, growth is inevitable.
9. Think long term
Just 3 years after Facebook’s launch, Yahoo made a billion dollar offer to buy it out. Zuckerberg rejected the offer, saying “I’m here to build something for the long term,” adding “Anything else is a distraction. Facebook’s long-term vision was no doubt driven by Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘higher purpose’.
10. Challenge yourself
Mandarin is consistently placed first on the list of the toughest languages to learn in the world. New languages are best learnt as toddlers, ten year olds or maximum teenagers. Adults have notoriously high number of cognitive disadvantages when it comes to mastering a new language- any language. It is easy to imagine how incredibly difficult it was to learn the world’s arguably most difficult language for the thirty year old Zuckerberg. In fact he took it up because, ‘Chinese is hard and he loves challenges.’