Think Like Zuck

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INTRODUCTIONConneCting the World

This morning, there are more than one billion people using Facebook actively each month. If youre reading this: thank you for giving me and my little team the honor of serving you. Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life. I am committed to working every day to make Facebook better for you, and hopefully together one day we will be able to connect the rest of the world too.Mark Zuckerberg in his Facebook status update on October 4, 20121



A gift of life. And it wasnt Santa Claus who brought it right before Christmas 2010. It was Facebook. Donette Warren was desperate. Her ten-year-old daughter, Vivica, badly needed a kidney transplant. She had been on dialysis for three years, 12 hours a night. It was very hard to watch and harder for the little girls body to endure. Donette, a mother of five from Minnesota, took to Facebook to help spread the word and get her child badly needed help. She posted on Facebook again and again, pleading with her friends to share and repost on their walls. She was looking for a miracle. And she got it. Cathy Olsen, a total stranger, saw the post on her friends Facebook page. She had three kids of her own, and her heart went out to the little girl. That night, she showed the post to her family and told them she wanted to help. They approved. Cathy had never been through surgery, but she didnt hesitate. Since family members are not automatically considered matches, Cathy knew she would probably never be able to contribute a kidney to one of her own children. Cathy was tested and determined a match for Vivica. So she went ahead and gave up her kidney at the University of Minnesota on November 17. I couldnt sit around and watch a girl die that I knew I was a match for, she said. I hope shes having the best Christmas ever! Vivica is all smiles; she is practically pain-free. Freedom, she says. [Cathy] is my angel. Her mom agrees: How many people have one of those?2 This is a true storybook holiday miracle. And it happened because of the connections that Facebook facilitates among people of different ages, genders, backgrounds, and locations. There have been many touching stories like Vivicas ever since Facebook launched on February 4, 2004. There are also stories about triumphs of love, as in the case of Paul Eaton and Dawn Pitman. In their twenties, the couple enjoyed an 18-month romance before going their separate ways.t was a priceless gift.


Think Like Zuck

They continued to think about each other through the years until, 27 years later, Paul decided to join Facebook. Paul remembers: I had only been on Facebook for a day. I just typed Dawns name in and hoped for the best. Dawns niece, Rachel, had put up their holiday pictures on Facebook, which Dawn didnt approve of: The irony was that I told her to take them off because I felt it was an invasion of privacy, and she said she would get around to it when she had time. Thats when Paul got in touch. The couple met up on New Years Eve 2008, and they were quite pleased to discover they hadnt changed much. They both liked the same things, drove the same cars, and remembered each other fondly. The rekindled connection was quite instant. I knew then he was the one for me, said Dawn.3 Then theres the story of the man and woman with the same name who got married after meeting through Facebook. A young man from Texas, Kelly Hildebrandt, and a young woman from Florida, also named Kelly Hildebrandt, thought it was kind of amusing that they had the same first and last names and started a casual conversation on the topic. Eight months laterthanks to love at Facebook sightKelly proposed to Kelly, and the rest is history.4 Then there are the stories of reunited families, such as Don Gibson finding his son after 21 years. Don was a U.S. airman when he met Chrissie in the United Kingdom. They married in 1989 and had a son, Craig. Don was forced to move back to the United States to continue his Air Force service. Chrissie stayed behind, as she had two other sons from her previous marriage. They tried to stay in touch, but after a while, they lost contact with each other. For years, father and son looked for one another until one day Don logged onto Facebook and found Craigs half-brother and, through him, Craig. The two reunited on Skype before Fathers Day 2012. The romance between Don and Chrissie rekindled. We can be a family again, said Don. I thank my lucky stars for modern technology, because without that, we wouldnt be here. 5



Family reunification pages started to appear on Facebook after natural disasters like earthquakes and tornados and other deadly events like shootings to help facilitate connections between survivors and provide support. And then there are stories of saved businesses. These days, Bistro 17, a small French-themed restaurant on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is always buzzing with customers. Besides boasting mouthwatering Brie, the restaurant is dog-friendly, with dog bowls and treats on hand (and yes, they even have a puppy menu). But the place wasnt always brimming with excitement. At one point, Bistro 17 was on the brink of shutting down. Anna Buckingham, the owner, tends to make friends with her customers. A partnership with one regular patronwho ran a Hilton Head Island Facebook page with over 65,000 fanssaved the business. They teamed up and created a great list of promotional ideas to help spread the word about Bistro 17 and rally the community around worthwhile causes.6 There are also stories of: Ben Saylor, a 17-year-old boy who turned to the social networking site to organize a community effort to rebuild the Pioneer Playhouse, the oldest outdoor theater in Kentucky, after it was damaged in a flood. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who, during his time in office, went jogging with a hundred of his Facebook fans. Holly Rose, whose friends Facebook status update urging women to check for breast cancer allowed Holly to be diagnosed in time to treat the disease.7 Men and women around the world who have used Facebook to create powerful movements for causes such as freedom from oppression, freedom of speech, human rights, and animal rights. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, says in one of his blog posts: Our mission is to help make the world more open and con-


Think Like Zuck

nected. Stories like these are examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring.8 Indeed! Such stories reflect a fundamental societal shift in which technologies are empowering us (and in some instances even saving our lives). We live in the era of digital revolution. Everyone can now have a voice; an individual can now be an authority. And social networks have the ability to give us true power of identity, to make our voices stronger, and, most important, to provide a platform for our voices to be heard. And Facebook is the biggest platform of them all. In eight years of existence, Facebook has fundamentally changed the way we interact online. It is the worlds largest enabler of human communication. We cannot imagine our lives without Facebookit created a sweet addiction of 24/7 connection and information flow that we apparently all craved. We check Facebook before we go to bed and first thing in the morning when we wake up. It allows us to show the world our own unique identities, our own brands. It allows us to tell our stories, stories that can be heard at scale. It allows us to build global communities and rally around causes we are passionate about, enabling energized citizens to turn themselves into activists. Our News Feeds have become our personalized digital newspapers. And instead of picking up a phone, we log into Facebook to see what our friends are up to, check out pictures they recently posted, look at product recommendations (or complaints) they shared, or see what music they are currently listening to. Paul Adams, the global brand experience manager at Facebook, describes this seismic shift the best: [The web is] moving away from being built around content and is being rebuilt around people.9

Facebook was founded by 19-year-old Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (or Zuck, as he is known to every one of his acquaintances) on February 4, 2004. At the time, Zuck was a student at Harvard University, majoring in computer sci-



ence and sociology. He first started the network with the purpose of connecting Harvard students. When non-Harvard students expressed interest, he expanded Facebook to more schools and, later, to the rest of the world. When users showed enormous interest and the network started to grow, Zuck dropped out of college and moved to Palo Alto, California, to solely focus on the endeavor. Facebooks success made him a billionaire at 23. Here is the companys history at a glance and some notable milestones: In 2004, Zuckerberg starts Facebook with the help of his friends Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz, and Eduardo Saverin. After three weeks, the site had more than 6,000 users. After opening to other colleges, the site grows to 10,000 users in one month and to over 30,000 in two months. In September 2004, Zuckerberg names Sean Parker president of the company. By then they have over 200,000 users. Parker goes on to play a critical role in Facebooks expansion and acquiring financial backing.10 The same year, Facebook receives its first-ever investment (besides some initial investment by cofounders): $500,000 from Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and a private investor, and $40,000 from Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn and an angel investor.11 In September 2004, Facebook introduces two of the most critical site improvements: the Wall and Groups. The Wall becomes an instant hit. By end of November 2004, the