Learning from “The Social Network”

Facebook creator and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is an excellent example of how a person needs to work to be successful.  In an article by Dan Martell, he discusses five key points that startup founders can learn from watching “The Social Network.”  Although this movie was meant for a more general audience, Zuckerbergs actions are portrayed in a very honest way, making them obviously something a person who wants to be successful can learn from.

The first point Martell makes in his article is determination.  He makes it clear that is not, “raw talent or intelligence,” that determines a startups success, but it is the determination of the creators.  Zuckerberg consistently shows strong determination throughout all stages of creating Facebook, as Martell is right by saying, “he didn’t make Facebook what it is today by day-dreaming under trees in the Harvard courtyard.”  The second key point is focus.  Facebook did not start out as a website everyone could use, and it was this exclusivity that made it more attractive to users than websites such as MySpace and Friendsters.  The site began with only allowing users with a .edu email address, making it a college age based website, thus appealing to those people in that category.  Zuckerberg was smart to do this, and then as the site quickly gained popularity he was able to open the site up to the public.  The third point to learn from the Facebook movie is efficiency.  Now a days people are getting tied up in the “Silicon Vallege image of what you think a startup ‘should’ look like: expensive office space, plush furniture, secretaries and anything else not devoted to getting more users or sales as quickly as possible.”  Zuckerberg did things differently, as he kept things simple by working in his dorm room, with no paid staff, etc., until he met Sean Parker.  The fourth key point Martell mentions is vision.  Through out the entire film it is evident that Mark Zuckerberg had a very clear idea of what he wanted to accomplish with Facebook, and he was not going to let anyone get in the way of that.  He was determined to not let his site become, “too commercial too quickly.”  Having a vision is the easy part, but staying focused and making it come true is where the challenge is.  The fifth, and final point is skepticism.  “The Social Network also reminds founders how important it is to be skeptical of venture capitalists.”

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