In eight years, Facebook has gone from a dorm-room novelty to a company with over 1 billion users, more than 42 million pages, and over 9 million apps. It is one of the fastest growing companies in history, an essential part of everyday social life, a way to connect with friends and family, and a mechanism to promote what we love. As Facebook spreads around the globe, it creates surprising effects—even becoming instrumental in current events like the Presidential Election and the Olympics. Facebook changed the way millions communicate, engage, and consume information and products.
In her book 'Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg' social media innovator at Intel, and a recognized business and marketing thought leader Ekaterina Walter answers the questions everyone is asking: How did a nineteen-year-old Harvard student create a company that has revolutionized the Internet and how did he grow it exponentially in such a brief period? What did Zuck do right? What can we learn from him and others that were brazen enough to change the way we see our digital world? She explores the critical elements that drive the success of Facebook and the businesses like it—Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and others. You will learn the 5 P’s of 'Zuck-like' companies and their strategies for success and growth: passion, purpose, people, product, and partnerships.
In an interview with the author earlier this week, I asked what readers could expect. Walter describes her book as being 'a way of thinking, a philosophy of a leader'.
Can you speak to the 5 P’s of 'Zuck-like' companies and their strategies for success and growth: passion, purpose, people, product, partnerships?
“'Think Like Zuck' is an analogy of a leader who follows his/her passion, leads with purpose, builds great teams, and strives for continued excellence in his/her product (or services). It is a mentality that drives great leaders to building successful business and the approach they use to doing so.
The 5 Ps described in the book are:
PASSION—Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in.
PURPOSE—Don’t just create a great product, drive a meaningful movement.
PEOPLE—Build powerful teams that can execute your vision.
PRODUCT —Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything.
PARTNERSHIPS—Build powerful partnerships with people who fuel imagination and energize execution.”
There are a lot of entrepreneurs out there. How is your book going to help them?
“Packed with examples of Facebook’s success principles in action—as well as those of Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and other companies—it is my hope that 'Think Like Zuck' will give them the inspiration, knowledge, and insight to make their own mark in the world, to build a business that makes a difference, and to lead their organization to long-term profitability and growth.
I think anyone who puts their mind to it can truly drive change and achieve his/her goals. I close the book with the quote from Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right!” and that is the philosophy I’ve seen a lot of successful people apply in their lives.”
Could Facebook have happened ten years ago?
“I don’t think so. Zuckerberg has a somewhat radical view of global transparency. 10 years ago people might not have been ready for it; they might have not been comfortable with offering up their real names on the Internet and sharing their media. Plus, 10 years ago the state of the World Wide Web was different.”
If there a long-term future for companies like Facebook, what makes this possible?
“Yes. Any company that innovates constantly and has clear vision of where it wants to go can stand the test of time. What I admire about Mark Zuckerberg is his dedication to his purpose and long-term vision. He is very strategic in his approach to growing the company and building the product. Everything that he does supports one thing that he is really focused on – connecting people around the globe and making the world more open and transparent.
Long-term strategic outlook and the courage to stand up to the pressures, both internal and external, that would veer him away from his vision is what makes the leader so successful. For example, everyone was saying NewsFeed was a bad idea, but Zuckerberg saw the great utility in it and now it is the feature we can’t live without. People were saying Facebook becoming a platform is not the right strategic and business decision and now 24.3 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world have some form of official Facebook integration on their home pages.
It isn’t easy to withstand those pressures. It is even harder to walk away from a billion dollar buy-out offer. But Zuck has a clear long-term vision of where he wants to go and where he wants to take this company and he is executing on that vision. And that, in my mind, is what will allow Facebook and its leadership to stay relevant. “
What will I learn by reading this book?
“You will learn to harness your passions, lead with purpose, build strong culture, form solid partnerships and, if you haven’t yet made that first step, hopefully pick up a little bit of inspiration to start.”
From what you've learned through doing research and analysis for this book, what one piece of advice would you give for someone wanting to emulate this success?
“Act! There is an entrepreneur in every single one of us. Our passions fuel our purpose and give us energy and motivation to grow. But if we don’t take that first step and act, our dreams will stay just that – dreams.”
Listen to a live interview with Ekaterina Walter - Monday, January 28, at 8:30 a.m.
WBEW-FM/Vocalo 89.5/The Morning Amp/”Miscellaneous Monday” show/live interview/in-studio