Lessons from Mark Zuckerberg

“Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world.”

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook now has a net worth of a mind boggling $34.8 billion.  Facebook itself currently boasts an astounding 1,415 million active users, something most tech startups can only dream about.  So how did he do it?

One of the key influencers Zuckerberg attributed his success to was his mentor – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple.

Despite their business rivalry, the two bonded on their desires to change the lives of others, rather than simply to build businesses.  Zuckerberg himself admired Apple’s focus on building beautiful products for the user experience, which he has stated formed much of the connection they developed in the early days of Facebook:

“He was just so focused.  For him, the user experience was the only thing that mattered.”

In an interview with American talk show host Charlie Rose on PBS, Zuckerberg revealed some of the invaluable pearls of wisdom he received from Jobs, which proved instrumental in turning Facebook into the worldwide phenomenon that it is today.  This included building a strong team that was as focused as Zuckerberg on building “high quality and good things”.  Zuckerberg indeed took on Jobs’ laser focus and approach to hiring a team that was committed to his vision.  Glimpses of Jobs’ advice were also found in other work by Zuckerberg, including his F8 conferences.

When Jobs passed away from pancreatic cancer, Zuckerberg publicly paid tribute to him on his Facebook page, thanking him for being a mentor and a friend.  That is the beauty of having a mentor – a trusted friend, advisor, and role model who can help you along your way.

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In an earlier post, we talked about how one could go about starting a mentoring relationship.  Whilst we may not all be a budding tech entrepreneur, or have the same missions as Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, but we can all learn some invaluable lessons from them:

  • Find a mentor – someone you look up to, either in your field or with the same life mission.
  • Be intentional about the mentoring relationship – think about the qualities you admire about them and ask them for advice that you can apply to your own situation.
  • Be open-minded, and understand that they often have trodden the path before you.  You can learn from their experiences and whether or not you choose to take their advice, you will often find a pearl of wisdom that you can apply.
  • Once you find the right mentor, proactively build the mentoring relationship by spending time together and keeping in touch.  Not all mentoring relationships will be long-term, and you will inevitably need a mentor for different areas and circumstances.  However, playing an active role in the mentoring relationship will enable you to make the most of it.
Andrea S. Tang
Co-Founder & Programme Implementation Director at Urbane.
Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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