Is Mark Zuckerberg on the way to becoming the 21st c Renaissance Man everyone coronated Steve Jobs to be at the end of the last one? The 20 year anniversary issue of Fast Co. rare wide-open look at Facebook seems to be making the case. Marc Andreessen, Netscape founder, FB board member and Zuck mentor says, "This is a guy who’s 31. He’s got a 40- or 50-year runway. I don’t even know if there’s a precedent.”
Read the article for the whole story. Today I am going to spend time on sections devoted to Zuckerberg managing Facebook culture and how his leadership team deals with acquisitions successfully. They uncover a surprisingly personal management style with a long strategic view that counters the impression of everything digital has to be faster and become obsolete more quickly.
In the past couple years FB has acquired Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus. The Instagram…” deal became a model for how new business in Facebook’s portfolio are more nurtured than managed. Zuckerberg left cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in charge, encouraged them to preserve their own culture, and gave them access to tools—from Facebook’s recruiting team to its spam-fighting technologies—that helped them get where they were planning to go anyway, only faster.” Systrom says, “Imagine getting to have Mark, Sheryl(Sandberg), and Schrep (Mike Schroepfer) on your board. Many companies in the Valley would kill to have that. And we get it by default, which is pretty sweet." Instagram’s user base tripled in the 10 months after the acquisition announcement, to 100 million monthly users, then doubled in the next 13 months. (It now boasts 400 million users.)
Another example is how Zuckerberg goes after talent that will fulfill a piece of his vision. Heading into artificial intelligence… he began courting Yann LeCun, a New York University faculty member and world-class expert in deep learning, to run it. Unlike the archetypal young turk Facebook employee, the 55-year-old, Paris-born LeCun is an éminence grise of his craft, with decades of experience studying machine vision, pattern recognition, and other technologies with the potential to make the social network smarter.
LeCun, however, was disinclined to leave academia or New York. When Zuckerberg thinks Facebook needs something, though, he refuses to treat obstacles as obstacles. He offered to let LeCun set up Facebook AI Research’s headquarters in Manhattan and retain his professorship on the side. LeCun came aboard. Problem solved.
"When we moved to the new building, we ended up being separated from Zuck by about 10 yards," LeCun chuckles. "He said, ‘No, this is too far, move closer.’ " And so they did. (This is a signature move that Zuckerberg uses to absorb new material; when the team prepared Facebook’s Timeline feature in 2011, he placed key design talent near his desk, and he seated Systrom near him after the Instagram acquisition.) My emphasis...
Contrary to aiming for maximizing quarterly earnings…Zuckerberg is taking an uncommonly patient approach to making money from Oculus. "Over the long term, we need to make sure it’s sustainable," he says. "But sustainable could mean selling it at break-even and having a business around software or some other part of the platform, which is actually something that we’re much better attuned to.”
Yet, somehow FB and Mark continue to confound critics as it grows share of users and income. When I think about perseverance, grit and boldness I often return to the line in The Social Network. Movie Mark is responding to the Harvard brothers who are accusing him of stealing Facebook from them… “You know you really don't need a damn forensic team to get to the bottom of this. If you guys were the inventors of Facebook you'd have invented Facebook.”
Fiction or not, it almost reads like a Zen koan, understandable only to insiders who see that the concept of “done” has as many levels as lines of code needed to get their ideas to market. The emerging mythology of Zuckerberg may be that he puts in the time, effort, imagination and engagement to take more actions, make more mistakes and get to more success. It appears that all who succeed at Facebook make the most of the time, space and resources to get to their dones, day in and day out.
By charging an unmanned aerial vehicle’s battery via solar power and flying it at 60,000 to 90,000 feet, above weather and conventional aircraft, the company believes it could efficiently send high-speed Internet access down to where it is needed via laser.