The movie, The Social Network, is a powerful portrayal of how the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team, started out with a dream and a $1000 start-up, to become the youngest billionaire in the world. At the point of writing, Facebook is valued to be worth at least $50 billion. They have so far resisted the call to go public, and the move to be funded by venture capitalists, or to be funded by wealthy individuals, corporations, and banks, has ensured that founder Zuckerberg remained in total control of the company.
There are also plenty of lessons that this movie can teach us about leadership and team management, and I would start off with this first part of three. Now, because there may be certain information in the movie that had been exaggerated to increase the excitement level, hence I would take all these information with a pinch of salt and relate most of the lessons learned, from the movie itself, and not from real life.
So in this article, I will share about having desire and faith.
Desire and Faith
Don’t let emotional revenge be the thing that fuels your passion. Zuckerberg’s initial mischief was to create a viral website to poke fun at ladies, because in The Social Network, he was portrayed as having broken up with his girl friend. However, he was placed under academic probation as a punishment because he hacked into the servers of so many houses and towards the end of the movie, it seemed that the lady still had not forgiven him. In the movie, Sean Parker, founder of Napster, shared with Zuckerberg the reason he founded Napster, which was to boast to the girl he liked that while he couldn’t play lacrosse, he was cool in his own way too. He never got the girl in the end too.
There is also a quote from the movie that mentions that the internet is not written in pencil, but in ink, whatever we write, do or say in the internet is published and shown. Remember that there are always consequences to what you do, and how you react to any events, would determine the right outcome.
If your desire is for a worthwhile reason, you would be able to sustain this desire through faith. However if the desire is fuelled by negative reasons, chances are that the effort would be futile.
Laser aim focus on your dreams because it will become a reality.When Zuckerberg was bitten by the creative bug, he worked on the Facebook project with total commitment. He was determined to get it started and would not let anything get into his way. When the other programmers were writing the various codes while developing Facebook, they were “wired-in” and would not even be distracted by door bells and people questioning them. Simply put, they shut out all other distractions to reach their goal.
Are you able to aim on your dreams with a laser focus, by shutting out all other distractions? Once your team has aligned themselves to your goal, can your team do the same and be focused too?
Don’t be afraid to roll out your project first and then improve on it continuously. Zuckerberg never saw his Facebook project as being completed. He didn’t even know what it would be. He just knew that it would be cool. He likened the concept of Facebook to style and fashion, and just like fashion, there is no “finished product”. You see, nothing is ever finished in the business world. Whether is it building of a brick and mortar shop or an online webpage, innovations and improvements must continue.
That is why some people use the term, “Ready, Fire, Aim”. In shooting, when you aim for too long without firing or taking action, your eye muscles actually tire, and you lose concentration.
Ideas are just ideas, until there is massive action. The Social Network also described how the Winklevoss twin brothers kept harping on Zuckerberg stealing their idea of a Harvard.edu exclusive club. But they never realized that they kept talking and talking about it. While it was true that some of their previous programmers left the team, if they were really focused and believed in their own idea, they would have gone ahead to do it by hook or by crook. They had a distraction, and that was rowing. Because money was at their disposal, they thought that they could use money to buy talent while they concentrated on their own goals, which was to take part in the Olympics. While there is nothing wrong with aiming to participate in the Olympics, it is their blatant disregard of creativity and talent that caused them to lose out in this race.
Do you have that crazy idea that you keep thinking about? So what are you going to do about it? The best time to start action is now. As Sir Richard Branson would say, “Screw it. Just do it.”
Then defend your dreams with your life. As though everything hinges upon it. Zuckerberg fought all the lawsuits and defended himself strongly because he believed in his actions and goals. He knew that there was no one in the mediation room who could even come close to his intellect and capability to design and come up with the Facebook. And he was right. The x-factor was that he placed his heart, mind and soul into creating this baby, and he was not intending to go down without a fight.
Once you are thoroughly committed to your dreams and goals, defend your ideals with your life. Your team can see how much you value your dreams and goals, and model after you too.