This is Mark Zuckerberg from a talk he gave in 2013.
Try to forget that he is 21st richest man in the world and that no one in all of history ever got there faster.
If you do that you risk missing the profound common sense truths about business – and life – he is sharing.
In no particular order, here are the key takeaways:
1. No one knows anything
Most “experts” told Zuckerberg that his business idea could not produce a viable business.
The proof of this is that until Peter Thiel came along, no one wanted to fund him. But Zuckerberg had his own inside source of information: his own eyes.
It’s amazing how many people will pass judgement on a business idea based on nothing more than the first ill-informed impulse that crosses their mind. Don’t listen. Listen to the only thing that matters: the customers in front of you.
2. He who cares most wins
There’s an old saying that in negotiations, “He would cares the least wins.” That may be true when negotiating over something that already exists, but when it comes to creating something new, there is no substitute for passion.
If the choice is to go into something that “looks good on paper” but you don’t care about vs. something that has a chance that you care passionately about…well, just look at the path Zuckerberg took.
A rag tag bunch of recent college grads should not have been able to beat companies like Yahoo and Google and others in the race to build what appears, for now at least, to be the social media platform for the planet.
But they did.
History is full of stories like this. It’s how things work over and over again.
3. Commitment to quality matters – and it matters a lot
You’ll occasionally hear some Internet guru BS artists say that “the product doesn’t matter” and that marketing is everything.
These losers – and that’s exactly what they are – are wrong. Product quality is the best marketing multiplier there is.
Get this right and you eventually start getting free leads and customers, sometimes at a rare you can barely comprehend. Get it wrong and you’ll find yourself on the treadmill of mediocrity forever.
Was Mark Zuckerberg lucky?
Lucky to live in America…lucky to live at this moment in time when his unique vision had the most potential to succeed?
Yes, but he was only lucky in the sense that he was in the right place at the right time with the right stuff.
You can make the case that the sheer extremity of his success is a lottery ticket type win, but then you’d be totally missing the point.
He had the right stuff and that right stuff was what was between his ears.
And I’m not talking about his programming ability or his college education either – there are plenty of people with one or both – but his understanding that in the long game, which is what business and life is, he who cares the most wins.
P.S. Everybody’s got video of Mark Zuckerberg from 2013, but how many have it from 2005 when he first came to Palo Alto and “Facebook” was called “The Facebook” and focused exclusively on college students?
And notice how much he cared about his mission back in 2005 when things were not nearly so glamorous or prosperous.
This attitude more than anything else is how value and wealth are created.
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.