Born on May 14th, 1984, Mark Zuckerberg is the co-founder and CEO of the social media behemoth, Facebook. Only founded in 2004, Facebook has now simply grown too big to ignore. As of Q3 2018, Facebook averaged 2.27 billion active monthly users. Throughout Facebook’s existence and meteoric rise, Mark has remained the company’s product visionary and business strategist.
He has also been instrumental in overseeing a number of bold acquisitions, constantly articulating the company’s mission and shielding it from multi-pronged attacks emanating all over from rival giant internet companies and even national governments the world over.
This alone is a testament to Mark’s genius leadership of Facebook, a company that he still owns 17% of its stock. But what sets Mark apart?
Being a visionary is not as simple as it sounds. With the pressures of quarterly or annual financial reports, today’s leaders are judged by the here and now; and they do not have much time to think big or show achievement out of long-term plans. It is the short term that prevails.
But as a visionary, Mark has managed to bypass endless distractions and has set Facebook on a path of shaping the future as opposed to being dictated by it.
In 2004, the Internet was a long way from where it is now, and Facebook was just an online directory targeting students. But Mr Zuckerberg envisioned an interconnected world and set Facebook on a path to take full advantage of that, and the company now dominates the online communication and commerce scenes.
It does not end there though; Facebook is now seeking to provide access to more people from the developing world to the Internet through the internet.org initiative. This will likely be the right call – more people on the internet will mean more people on Facebook!
If vision determined the direction of Facebook, it is Mark’s consistency that ensured the company’s success. When the company launched globally, Mark outlined the company’s mission as ‘to keep the world more open and connected’.
This was only updated in 2017 when Mark gave the company its new purpose: ‘Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together’. Not exactly a change in purpose, but just an expansion in the realisation of Facebook’s stature and added responsibility.
This consistency in the message has helped Mark rally his team to stay the course. This way, Facebook has been able to grow in its space and to seize up great opportunities in its industry.
This is particularly evidenced by the bold acquisitions it has made along the way; notably the 2012 $1 billion purchase of photo-sharing app, Instagram and the 2014 $19 billion acquisition of popular messaging platform, WhatsApp.
These acquisitions give Facebook a unique edge for success in its core product, and they were only possible because of the consistency of purpose in the company.
A young man running a young company in the digital age is the perfect blend for impatience. The desire for quick profits and fast results is overwhelming, but patience pays, and all good things take time. Mark has managed to keep Facebook patient as it continues to pursue its mission.
In its early days, Facebook ‘delayed’ monetising its news feed and instead, focused on building its platform. As well, in its major acquisitions, the company bought outfits that had no revenues but were consistent with the mission of making the world more ‘open and connected’. To say the least, Mark’s patience has been rewarded massively.
Mark Zuckerberg is nothing short of a genius business leader. He started Facebook in his college dormitory and has overseen the company’s growth to be worth over $400 billion with an employee army of over 16,000. We can all learn from Mark Zuckerberg’s vision, consistency and patience.