What Mark Zuckerberg Says Every Entrepreneur Should Know

Ten thousand students and Utah business leaders gathered in the Brigham Young University Marriott Center arena, today, for the chance to hear from Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg. It was the first college forum event ever for the 26-year-old CEO, who asked to be called just “Mark.” PilmerPR was there to hear his words to Utah entrepreneurs.

He was invited and accompanied by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch who moderated a Q&A, choosing a handful of questions from more than 400 pre-submitted inquiries by students and professionals. Most questions selected by the senator discussed areas of interest to entrepreneurs.

Photo by Andrew Van Wagenen, Daily Herald

The first question asked how Facebook rose to success and whether technology companies can do similarly outside Silicon Valley (say, for example, in Utah).

Mark explained that he went to Silicon Valley simply to be surrounded by knowledgeable people, and never intended to form a company there. When Facebook expanded beyond his expectations, he realized he was committed to the area.

“What I see now is you can start a business like this anywhere in the world,” Mark said. “If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t choose Silicon Valley.”

He later explained that a goal of Facebook is to let entrepreneurs around the world utilize their platform to launch successful products businesses. As an example, Mark gave a special nod to Utah-based FamilyLink who’s “We’re Related” Facebook app has more than 1 million users. An internal motto at Facebook is that “a good independent developer or entrepreneur should always be able to do things better than a division in a large company,” Mark said.

“The biggest industry that has changed so far [because of Facebook] is gaming,” he said. The same was true with computers and mobile devices. Nobody would now consider the two to be primarily gaming platforms, but gaming was among the first industries to adapt. “I think that same dynamic will apply to other industries as well.”

He frequently addressed the importance of a people-centric view in business. A person asked whether management or marketing was more important to a business’s success.

“By management, do you mean people?” Mark responded.

The key to Facebook and Google’s success, he said, was not a single novel idea (social networks and search engines existed before), but having the right people in place to think creatively and make it happen. “We just look for people who are passionate about something. In a way, it doesn’t really matter what you’re passionate about” because the company is so broad. “We don’t want people to join Facebook because of what it is already, but because they think it is so far from it should be that it’s almost broken.”

Similarly, when asked which college classes he considers most important, he mentioned that — for the two years he was in college — he double-majored in computer science and psychology.

Photo by Andrew Van Wagenen, Daily Herald

“All of the problems, at the end of the day, are human problems,” he said. For example, to prevent unauthorized logins into users’ accounts, Facebook can now identify if a person is logging in from a new location and will ask the person to identify who, among a series of pictures, is not a friend. “A lot of what we’re doing is as much psychology and sociology as computer science.”

Mark Zuckerberg’s “best advice to entrepreneurs”: “You really have to believe and love what you’re doing.” Otherwise, he said, it is the most rational thing to give up and succumb to the great challenges that will inevitably come.

He occasionally threw similar questions back to Senator Hatch, or asked questions of his own, to get the input of a congressman. While Hatch was courteous to acknowledge the audience’s intent to hear from Zuckerberg, he took some time to outline a few of his beliefs regarding the free market and the damages of too much internet regulation.

“I think the best thing we [as Congress] can do is get out of the way,” Hatch said to loud applause. “That’s not always the best option, but it usually is.”

PilmerPR frequently works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them succeed in the ever-changing Facebook and social media PR arena.

A current client, Funium, is preparing the public release of Family Village, the first ever Facebook game with real social value, helping users learn about their family history in a fun virtual environment.

Contact us today to learn how PilmerPR can help your business utilize social media on a lean budget.

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About the Author:

As founder of PilmerPR, John Pilmer, APR serves as a PR and marketing communications advisor for both emerging and established companies. He offers customers more than 20 years of results-driven business PR and marketing experience. John and the firm have provided PR consultation and campaigns for clients such as Mozy, Novell, AdvancedMD, Certiport, NextPage, ElectraTherm, Altiris, Avamar, EmergeCore Networks, FSLogic, INVISUS, 10x Marketing, MWI, Project Insight, REIC, Seastone, US Synthetic and Funding Universe (now Lendio), among others.
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  1. Camille  May 3, 2011

    Everyone always wonders how some people can be so successful on their own in a world that is dominated by corporate “superstars”. It is good to hear what such a young person can say about the business world, and ultimately the PR world. Facebook has definitely changed the face of marketing and PR. The opportunities that pop on Facebook are crucial to most modern businesses and public relations firms. Facebook is a huge channel to reach the younger generation that lives through the Internet. Zuckerberg explains that he wasn’t setting out to start a business, but he did what he loved, and Facebook is what was created. Entrepreneurship takes heart and determination, if you aren’t willing to work towards something you want to do you are setting yourself up to fail.


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