I recently took 30+ minutes to watch this Mark Zuckerberg interview from back in 2013. From running through walls to (…not) pushing up hills, I found some great insights worth sharing on the HubRunner blog.
Really Care About What You’re Doing
It’s interesting to hear Zuckerberg reflect on his early days of building Facebook, before he realized his company was going to succeed in connecting billions of people. He says, “someone else is going to have more resources [than you do].” In an environment where any number of existing companies with tons of money and human resources could have overpowered Facebook in their goal to connect people…they didn’t. Why not?
“We just cared way more about it than everyone else.”
It seems like classic entrepreneurial rhetoric to talk about succeeding simply because you cared about an issue more than anyone else, but when Zuckerberg qualifies his statement, it makes more sense:
“We just believe really strongly this is what we are here to do. This is what our company cares about. I care about it, the team cares about it, our culture cares about it – so, we’re just gonna keep pushing on it. And, I actually think a lot of the reason why great stuff gets built is because it’s kind of irrational at the time, so it kind of selects for the people who care most about doing it.”
Keep Running Through The Walls
This point is incredibly important because it’s just so easy to get discouraged when you’re building a company and a product. Zuckerberg sums it up succinctly:
“You just have to keep running through the walls.”
In our own experience, as soon as we solve a problem or overcome a challenge, inevitably there’s another one waiting just around the corner. It’s important to get comfortable with that reality, because if each new challenge gets you down, you’ll be down all the time. So, accept that the process of building a company is going to be a constant stream of challenges, and teach yourself to thrive in that environment.
“So many things go wrong when you’re starting a company…Don’t even bother trying to avoid mistakes, because you’re going to make tons of mistakes. The important thing is actually learning quickly from whatever mistakes you make, and not giving up.”
Don’t Push Uphill
In our years as entrepreneurs, we’ve spent so much time, energy and resources pushing heavy things uphill: we’ve worked incredibly hard to sell products that not enough people really wanted, or that weren’t the right fit for the market. Instead, it’s important to think deeply about what people really need – what they really want – and to build your product accordingly.
“You can’t push uphill on this stuff.”
“We built a lot of tools to enable people to do what they already wanted to [do]…We were solving a problem that people had, and we just needed to remove as much friction as possible.”
Build Something that Resonates
Zuckerberg talks about his focus on “channeling a community’s energy to build some kind of shared asset.” This focus helped him create early products like course graph and, later, Facebook. In the interview, he says that people building products should,
“Build something that resonates with everyone on the planet.”
Even if you’re not creating a product to be used by every person on the planet – for example, in the context of building B2B products – this insight is still useful because it helps keeps you honest. What’s the real potential of your product? What’s the potential market? Does what you’re doing matter enough, to you?
Asking and answering these tough questions can take you back to the first insight discussed above:
“You can win if you care more about an issue than anyone else.”
What We Care About
So, at HubRunner, what do we care deeply about? We care deeply about fixing the broken website industry, and you can see our earlier post, “The Problem with the Website Industry” to learn more.
What do you care about? Feel free to share a thought and a link below.