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  • 01/15/2013
    9:16 AM
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5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook adventure gets examined in a new book that doesn't shock, but serves as a social business primer.
A new book -- "Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg" -- purports to provide the secrets to the Facebook founder's success.

I'm not sure that Zuckerberg -- or Zuck, as the author tells us most people call him -- is improbably brilliant. He seemed pretty brilliant from the get-go. It's more easily argued that Facebook is improbably successful. Who would have thought prior to 2004, when Facebook was launched, that the social network would become a common meeting and collaboration space for more than 1 billion users? Back then, who would have imagined social networking -- never mind social business -- at all?

Most of us know the Facebook legend. Arrogant college kid develops what eventually became Facebook out of his Harvard dorm room. After much intrigue and battles over whose idea Facebook really was, Zuckerberg builds Facebook into a business and becomes Jay-Z-wealthy -- before he's 30.

The book's author, Ekaterina Walter, tells Facebook's origin story, then goes on to present Facebook's five success principles:

  • Passion
  • Purpose
  • People
  • Product
  • Partnerships

Walter isn't exactly going out on a limb with these principles. What successful company hasn't been built by on these pillars?

Indeed, the picture Walter -- a social media strategist at Intel -- paints is extremely rosy. Her tone seems overly familiar, and she writes in the first person, mitigating the impact of the tome as a business book for the ages.

Not that she lets "Zuck," or Facebook, off totally. For example, she takes Facebook to task for the ways in which it works with -- or, rather, doesn't work with -- its partners (something we at The BrainYard have been harping on for a while, most recently in this slideshow). Here's Walter's take:

Facebook's relationship with its partners (brands, advertisers, developers) hasn't always been smooth, though. Some marketers (as well as other partners, developers, and users themselves) criticize Facebook for constantly changing the network without as much as a word to them. It becomes hard for marketers to keep up with all of the changes and sometimes frustrates users … Just as a brand decides to invest in the redesign of its page or works on a program with significant investment, Facebook comes out with a weighty change (for example, the Timeline -- the Wall's redesign, transforming profiles into a visually rich chronology) that pushes back a company's plans and requires additional funds to implement.

All of this is not to say that you should ignore the book. Quite the contrary: It provides some compelling context around Facebook itself, as well as insight into the ways in which like-minded companies -- including Toms and Dyson -- are turning those 5 Ps (or some variations thereof) into social business currency (figuratively and literally). It's a worthwhile addition to a growing, but still sparse, section of the library: social business primer.

"Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg" will be available on Jan. 15 in print and e-book form.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.


Comments

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Facebook's habit of keeping changes secret from its partners definitely makes them difficult for them, but it's not like they're the only tech company with a penchant for over-the-top secrecy. I'm looking at you Apple.

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Very true. And, as Apple makes its way further and further into the enterprise--especially with the rise of BYOD and use of Apple's cloud-based services--that will be more of an issue.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

I have no use for Facebook, personal or business. Social media takes up too much time for very little or no satisfaction or benefit. Once a week is my limit to check on anything social on a computer.

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Thank you so much for your comment. Do you think the level of satisfaction/benefit relates to job function? Or maybe even industry?

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

They're trying :)

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

What makes me wonder is how facebook generates money when opening an account is free? I guess I'm not the only one wondering.

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Mostly ad revenue, although they are developing new revenue generators.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

'other revenue generators'.. you mean, they MIGHT start finding a way to charge people to 'share' and let others see the dopey stuff they put on their
'wall'?? A life-long techie , I've felt more than a little creepy about the whole Facebook phenom.. right from the get go.. seems like a solution desperately seeking a problem to me.

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

I agree about the creepy aspect. Particularly with the new Graph search. It just relies on people wanting to share all aspects of their life with their friends and their friends' friends, and trying to figure out how - and if - they can ever really monetize these massive amounts of data.

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

"Massive amounts of data" are the key words there :)

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

Hmm. I think Facebook has come a *little* further than personal posts, but I see what you're saying. I don't think Facebook has come up with its big money-maker yet, but I think Graph Search has a lot of potential.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

re: 5 Secrets To Zuckerberg's Success

I wonder if the new Graph Search will increase the potential for return for advertisers.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard