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Entrepreneurship Lessons from Facebook

This past weekend my husband and I had a rare evening at the movies and watched The Social Network. It was very entertaining especially since just about everyone we know is on Facebook including my 80-year-old father-in-law.

I found myself thinking about the story days later. In case you aren’t familiar with the premise, the trailer gives you a good idea of the storyline.

It is a story that Americans love; with brains and ingenuity a businessperson becomes a self made millionaire billionaire. It was just incredible it happened at age 23. There’s a dark side to that success but I’ll leave it to the movie.

Instead let’s take a lot at what Mark Zuckerberg, the genius behind Facebook, teaches us about entrepreneurship.

Identify Opportunity in the Market

College is a very social time of life and Zuckerberg saw there was a need to make connecting easier. This was a clear case of identifying an opportunity and creating a solution that people didn’t even know they needed.

Think about the businesses that didn’t exist a few years ago and are quite successful including mobile services (pet grooming, car detailing, etc.), cupcake shops, and downsizing experts.

Your Start-Up Needs to Be Unique

Facebook distinguished themselves from other sites in two ways right away. The first was that they invested in infrastructure to nearly eliminate down time. The second was they resisted advertising for the first couple of years as Zuckerman wanted it to be “cool” to college students.

This focus helped make the company attractive to users and kept the company growing from the Harvard University campus to 500 million users worldwide today.

Sucessful Entrepreneurs Work Hard

Success in business still requires hard work even in the digital age. Zuckerberg and his co-founders worked day and night coding and running the company. There’s just no substitute for it.

Part of that hard work included planning the growth even though it was fast and furious!

Celebrate Success

One of the things entrepreneurs often overlook is stepping back for a minute and noting their accomplishments. The movie shows the company anxiously awaiting the one-millionth member for a planned celebration.

Formal acknowledgment of success is a mental reward and motivates employees to keep going. It also might spark new creativity as one chapter is closed and another door can open.

These are just a few of the keys to starting a successful business one can learn from the Facebook story. What other lesson did you find in the movie?

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4 comments comments closed

  1. Great insight, Kay!

    Let me just say that I loved that move soooooooooooooooooooooo much and was blown away by how much I was really into it. I thought it was well done. Not sure how much truth is in the story, but what a story.

    Good insights for entrepreneurs. The day never ends and that is just Zuck was doing in the movie. He didn’t have any tact, but his product was very unique and he worked on it relentlessly.

    Glad you pointed this out to me again because I have been getting too much sleep. Time to press on and keep the press on!

    • Freddie, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one so into the movie. I think a large part of the story is true. The author of the book spent years researching the story, but did take liberty in recreating actual conversations.