Mark Zuckerberg employeesFacebook's initial public offering has focused yet another spotlight on the social networking site and on Mark Zuckerberg, its iconic leader. But beyond the hoopla surrounding the IPO, there's another, quieter story to be found in the wunderkind CEO: The lessons about life, personal finance and career that can be gleaned from his choices.

David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World -- the only book about the site written with Zuckerberg's full cooperation -- offers an insider's view of what we can learn from the 27-year-old billionaire, while challenging some of the conventional wisdom on the inscrutable entrepreneur.

Here, according to Kirkpatrick, are the key ingredients in Zuckerberg's recipe for success.

1. Believe in Yourself
Facebook effect
It may sound trite, but it's old-fashioned positive thinking that propelled an idea hatched in a college dorm room into arguably the most influential business of the 21st century.

"Zuckerberg had an extraordinary conviction that he could make his dreams become a reality," Kirkpatrick says. "It is impossible to underestimate the degree to which that is central to his success. He always knew he'd make a massive [impact] on society."

And contrary to public perceptions heavily influenced by the movie The Social Network, Zuckerberg isn't arrogant, Kirkpatrick says -- he's just "incredibly confident."

2. Just Get It Done -- Even If It Isn't Perfect

Think like a hackerThe goal of perfection "is the kiss of death for so many projects," Kirkpatrick says.

By contrast, Zuckerberg operates by the conviction that it's better to be decisive than right. "He doesn't let failure get him down."

Mistakes are bound to get made, and that's OK with Zuckerberg. He figures he can always tweak things later.

Zuckerberg himself discussed this philosophy -- what he calls "The Hacker Way" -- in a letter to prospective investors that was part of Facebook's IPO filing. "Hackers try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once," he wrote. He is so committed to this philosophy that he had it painted on Facebook's walls: "Done is better than perfect."

3. Stick to Your Vision and Tune Out the Naysayers

Time and time again, "Zuckerberg has been in positions when everyone around him was saying he would fail and that he was overreaching," Kirkpatrick says.

He always had a vision that the site would be more than just a social network for college students, even when "the adults" in the company poo-poohed his ambitions.

That conviction was tested in 2006 when Yahoo offered $1 billion for the site. "Zuckerberg turned it down so that Facebook could achieve its ultimate purpose," Kirkpatrick says.

Today the site, which ended up reshaping social interaction worldwide, boasts more than 800 million active users, and its IPO values the company somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion.

4. Loyalty Breeds Success

Zuckerberg with employeesMark Zuckerberg is fiercely loyal, according to Kirkpatrick. If that idea raises eyebrows, it shouldn't, he says, reiterating that the cold and socially-insensitive characterization of Zuckerberg in The Social Network is pure fiction.

"He puts a high priority on the quality of the relationships he has with people. He believes in human relationships, which is what led him to create Facebook in the first place."

Zuckerberg also gets that "helping other people actualize their desires and hopes is central to how the world turns" -- and is integral to a successful venture, Kirkpatrick said.

Zuckerberg home5. Live Below Your Means

Zuckerberg does not live large. It was only last year that the billionaire moved out of a small, rented apartment into a home he bought near Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

"He's never been extravagant," Kirkpatrick says. "He's not extravagant in his consumption, and he'll end up giving away all of his money. He's not a consumer."

6. Follow Your Passion -- Not the Money

It's not coincidental that some of the most successful people in life, from Warren Buffet to Steve Jobs, were never motivated by the prospect of riches, and Zuckerberg is no exception, Kirkpatrick says.

passion"Follow your happiness," he says. Even if you don't end up making a fortune, you'll be doing what you love.

Zuckerberg is happiest when he's writing code and finding new ways to help people connect with each other. Facebook was built to "accomplish a social mission -- to make the world more open and connected," Zuckerberg wrote in the letter to potential investors.

Financial success may flow from following your bliss. But for Zuckerberg, Kirkpatrick insists, "it's not about the money. If he had done it for the money, he would have sold it years ago."

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January 05 2014 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vatasescu Lenuta


February 28 2012 at 8:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

" Finding new ways to help people connect to each other ".
How about connecting DIRECTLY to some one from FACEBOOK, when you have a problem, some one else HACKING an account, pretending to be you,...all you get is a " run-around " bunch of BS, and the choice is NOT yours !!
Obviously Facbook has enough money , 800 # , " direct " messaging to correct the problem ,......when your account is HACKED ,....YOU are guilty ,...until proven innocent,..and its a big run-around bs way that they handle it,.....FACEBOOK only allows so many friends through their bs,..and by the 3rd step you are left with ONLY a handful ,..which 99.9% of them are your LEAST contacted / and / or communicated with , if they leave you with the least contacted friends by the 3rd step, which they are sent a " code ", which you are suppose to call to get , and send back to Facbook ,.....really how reliable kind of BS is that, prove who you are ?
The least contacted either wont respond ,..or just screw it off , if that is the ONLY option to prove who you are ,...and you CANT contact Fackbook any other way ,...........WHERE IS THE " CONNECTING " ?? !!!
This is a MAJOR problem with Facebook,....and its downfall.
If you CANT log in , because your account his HACKED ,....and CANT contact Facebook directly,...either an 800# , or direct message , or email / etc. Then what good is it ???? REALLY ,...A ONE WAY HACK JOB ,....Why can " they " contact you ,...but you CANT contact directly with them, ( Facebook ) ? Too many bs hoops to jump through to prove your ID, when your account is hacked ,......MORE ID needed when signing up ,..even if it includes a phone # / address / etc. ( private use only between you and Facebook ), for proof of ID.
Really ,..if projected IPO will generate $100 BILLION ,...and they WONT let you contact THEM directly for an account being hacked ,...then Facebook really DOESNT CARE about " connecting " !!!!!!
100 Billion, and cant afford an 800 # ??? BS !!!

February 10 2012 at 3:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
M.L. Redd

So this guy took an idea i did say took..... does it do anything as a whole to better the world or society?

what have you done mark to better the world except make money which is ok. Just don't give me any of you life advice I find it hard to be leave you have any real idea of anything except facebook. If you do than take a billon or two and lets create a new education system in America. We need to get rid of the union run crap and make education affordable with choices.

February 09 2012 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Idea # 1...Commit intellectual property theft.
# 2...Sell the idea as yours.
# 3...Sell out your CFO & steal his money.
# 4...Pay out a few 100 million of the billions made, & call it a day.
What a guy!!

February 09 2012 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A lot of people like to say negative thinks about Mark Zuckerberg's personality, but few experienced businessmen in his position would have come up to Facebook's IPO controlling such a large percentage of Facebook's shares and retaining voting control. Say what you will about him, but he's as shrewd and gifted as they come in business. I think that Facebook is rapidly justifying their $100 billion dollar rumored valuation when you consider how so many big brands had Super Bowl ads that featured Facebook URLs at the end of them, when you consider the sheer number of companies listed at that do nothing other than promote business pages, and when you consider that Facebook is nearing a billion active users despite the frequent criticism they receive as the 800 pound gorilla of the online world. Generally Facebook has done a great job building features that people and businesses alike value and I think its going to be a big part of the popular culture for some time to come. I think Mark Zuckerberg generally has the business acumen and judgement to avoid making bad decisions that will harm his company and he's going to do well for a long time to come. Comparing Mark to Steve Jobs as a showman isn't fair because nobody compares in this regard. But as a businessman, I think Zuckerberg is doing a bang up job.

February 09 2012 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Farmville is the only reason facebook has done so well,many wives have made profiles in husbands name so they can trade farmville just looked good on paper,ad a few privacy mishaps and you got enough info to sale.....

February 09 2012 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sholdn't step one have been STEAL someone else's idea !!!!!!!!

February 09 2012 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Zuckerberg a genius? Really? Did he create a product that changed the world? Some may say yes. Was it meaningful to most user? Again some say yes. Does it have a dark side? of course. But does it make Zuckerberg a genius. Not really. Developing a rather simple social network at Harvard to rate" girls". Guys have been doing that from the beginning of time. Prior to the internet they only shared their views with close friends and a closed group. Now thru facebook and others the world can know your thoughts. Good? I am not so sure. Are nearly a billion people using it? Today yes, in a couple of years something new will come along and Facebook will be just another fogotten phase. But will Zuckerberg and many other be grateful for ever and ever, I would be. A bit jealous I admit. Great idea Mark!.

February 09 2012 at 7:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gritzsl's comment

If Facebook is "rather simple" what kept you from developing it?

I saw a study recently which looked at "degrees of separation" among the world's population. It has been pretty steady at right around 6 degrees for over 50 years. But Facebook users are now closer to 5 degrees of separation. And this despite the worlds population having skyrocketed.

I'd say that "changed the world" and is "meaningful".

Of course, every new technology will initially be beyond the intellectual grasp of a component of the population. And this component will invariably lash out at twhat they are incapable of comprehending.

February 09 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rene Kunz

And this crap is making him a billionaire? What is his contribution to society and the country? Zero !

February 09 2012 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rene Kunz's comment

Rene, don't confuse your inabaility to comprehend what 800 million others comprehend as an indication that you are insightful and the 800 million are not.

February 09 2012 at 10:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bggdg's comment

If it had been HIS idea from the start, "The Social Network" would never made it to the screen. There is nothing insightful about intellectual property theft. I'm not certain who's worse; Zuckerberg or Parker. They, of course are iconic figures for having committed the same crime. Low lifes, the both of em'. Owning 800 million sheep is not an accomplishment. The majority isn't right simply because there's more of them.

February 09 2012 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down