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Mark Zuckerberg IPO Letter – Lessons Learned

By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook has filed for its IPO, in a valuation range between $75-100 BILLION dollars. Very amazing stuff. I am personally in awe of what Facebook has accomplished in such a short period of time, and quite honestly, I believe that it has lots of room to grow in the foreseeable future.

Besides all that, what can you learn from Facebook’s IPO? Well, if you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend that you read the letter that Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO of Facebook) included in the IPO filing. You can find it here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mark-zuckerberg%E2%80%99s-ipo-letter–why-facebook-exists.html

From Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter, there are some very important lessons to be learned. First of all, check out this particular quote from the letter:

“As people share more, they have access to more opinions from the people they trust about the products and services they use. This makes it easier to discover the best products and improve the quality and efficiency of their lives.”

As I’ve been saying for quite awhile, Facebook (and the Internet in general) are moving the world closer and closer to a tight knit community, similar to the kinds that were found in small towns years and years ago. This means that if your business doesn’t deliver the service that you promise, people will find out quickly and you WILL go out of business. For this reason, you absolutely must focus on quality and treat all of your customers as individuals, rather than just a paycheck. The empowerment of the “little guy” means that even one dissatisfied user or customer can wreck havoc on the state of your company. But…to put a positive spin on it, a satisfied customer can become the best salesman (or saleswoman) your company could ever dream of having.

Another quote: “Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”

This has valuable connotations for any business, not just a rapidly growing tech start-up. If there’s one thing you can learn from Facebook’s business culture, it is that building something valuable and great should be the primary goal of your organization. For the business leader’s out there, this means making decisions based on customer value, not internal politics.

One last quote: “Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.”

As businesses grow, they tend to reduce the number of risks they take. The opposite needs to happen. As a business leader, you MUST be willing to try new things and be bold. Opportunities are out there for the taking but only the bold will seize them.

I could go on for hours with lessons from this letter but I’ll end it there. Let us know what you think about Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter and the Facebook IPO in the comments below!

 

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