Decoding Zuckerberg's management tactics

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most interesting CEOs to watch; probably because when he started out he didn't have time to be educated on how to run a business. Instead, he was forced to operate one of the most iconic companies in the world. This article details some of his tactics for turning Facebook into the giant that, I think, still has its best days ahead.

Persistence, hard work, continuous improvement

[Colleagues] praise his inquisitiveness, persistence, ability to deploy resources, and devotion to improving Facebook and himself. 

Zuckerberg "is a total inspiration in how much he cares about his work and in how hard he works. [...] For all of us who work with him, it’s like, Man, he is so good at improving."

Stability, long term thinking

Zuckerberg, unlike many of his rivals, has been able to keep his leadership team stable.  [...] When Facebook announced that it was buying [Instagram] in April 2012 [...] the deal became a model for how businesses in Facebook’s portfolio get managed. Zuckerberg left cofounders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in charge, encouraged them to preserve their own culture, and gave them access to tools—from Facebook’s recruiting team to its spam-fighting technologies—that helped them get where they were planning to go anyway, only faster.

"We’re not in a rush," says [Messenger CEO David] Marcus.

Macro and micro view

He has a knack for carving up grand plans into small, doable victories. "Most of our conversation was about long-term strategy, and then we’d backtrack from there to what we should do over the next month," [...]

Create dialog and learning through physical proximity

Because Zuckerberg would not be able to interact with [head of artificial intelligence] LeCun in person on a daily basis, he had the AI researchers who did work at Facebook’s main campus sit near him so he could learn from them. "When we moved to the new building, we ended up being separated from Zuck by about 10 yards," LeCun chuckles. "He said, ‘No, this is too far, move closer.’ " And so they did. (This is a signature move that Zuckerberg uses to absorb new material; when the team prepared Facebook’s Timeline feature in 2011, he placed key design talent near his desk, and he seated Systrom near him after the Instagram acquisition.)

Use foresight to anticipate industry shifts

"One of my big regrets," Zuckerberg says, "is that Facebook hasn’t had a major chance to shape the mobile operating system ecosystem." [...] Virtual Reality will be the next major computing platform, supplanting phones the same way that handheld devices usurped desktops [and therefore Facebook acquired Oculus and is at the forefront of this revolution]

Do stuff, see what happens, improve

For Facebook, releasing something, gauging reaction, and then tweaking as necessary is not only normal but also a badge of honor—after all, one of the company’s guiding principles is "Done is better than perfect."

There is a lot to be learned from Zuckerberg, and he is turning Facebook into a company that will last. Full article.


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