Mark Zuckerberg: The Hacker Way

Mark Zuckerberg: The Hacker Way

Unless you have been living under a rock, you heard Facebook filed for a $5B IPO this week. There is no question that Facebook is the leader in social networking with its 800M users and $3.7B  in revenue.  In a letter to investors, CEO Mark Zuckerberg used “The Hacker Way” to describe the corporate culture and management style at Facebook for rejecting the status quo and continuously delivering innovative products and services to its users.  Below is a summary of The Hacker Way, as well as the five core principles he outlined for running the company.

The Hacker Way
While hacking often has a negative connotation to it, what it really means is building something quickly. It involves continuous improvement and iteration, including testing the boundaries of what can be done when people say something is impossible. Hackers believe that projects are never done; they can always be better. Hackers aspire to build the best products and services by releasing and learning from smaller iterations versus trying to get everything right all at once. To always keep shipping, a Facebook motto is: “Done is better than perfect.”

Customers want to use products and services from companies that believe there is more to business than maximizing profits. Thus, hackers do not build products and services to make money; they make money to build better products and services. Moreover, building great products and services does not involve endless debate at Facebook. When someone believes a new product or service is a good idea, a prototype is built to see if it works. Instead of debate, “code wins arguments.” That way, the best ideas always win.

Five Core Principles
1 – Be Bold. Change requires risk. “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.”
2 – Be Open. An open world is a better world. People with more information make better decisions.
3 – Build Social Value. Focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything you do.
4 – Focus On Impact. Focus on solving the biggest, most important problems. Anything less wastes time.
5 – Move Fast. Build more, learn faster. “Move fast and break things.” Break things or not moving fast enough.

Facebook was originally not created to be a company. It was created to accomplish a social mission – make the world more connected and open – which it continues to pursue. The company has been in existence for eight years and has almost a billion users, so the realization of its mission is well underway. Facebook also benefits from the “network effect,” which says, the value of its platform increases in portion to the number of people using it. Facebook is currently adding 5-10 new users per second, so the future looks bright for the company, its employees and its investors.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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