Randi Zuckerberg apart from being the sister of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, she is founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media. In May at the World Business Forum, she shared insights into her role at Facebook and the lessons learnt, along with some interesting observations about the direction and impact of social media and technology.
Randi Zuckerberg provided some first-hand insights into the early days of Facebook; she joined when there were only twenty employees. The focus of those early days was on driving innovation. One of the very first things they did was to define and develop the type of culture they wanted to create at Facebook.
The reason for cultural focus was they knew that no matter how great the strategy was to grow Facebook, as people joined they would have a much stronger connection to the culture than they would to any strategy:
- The culture had to be replicatable and scalable so that they retained the same entrepreneurial feel they had at start-up whether the company grew to 1,000 or 10,000 people.
- They did not view people as employees, rather as ‘entreployees’ where people had the opportunity to share ideas and pursue innovative projects that they are passionate about.
- Symbolism became important in maintaining the start-up type culture. Buildings and office design, how people dressed, hours they worked and how they actually went about innovating was a focus.
- A key contributor to innovation was the use of Hackathons. Occurring four or five times a year, Hackathons are where projects outside of normal everyday business are worked on by team members. Hackathons became tradition at Facebook. They were the foundation for some great (and not so great) ideas; one example of a Hackathon outcome was the development of Facebook Live.
Beyond her experiences with Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg shared, with a great deal of humour at times, salutatory lessons based on her own observations of working with Social Media.
- Before diving headfirst into any use of technology or social media, we need to consider the opportunities and the challenges it creates, our focus should just not be on opportunities. We must also consider the impact of what we are doing in various social media. We need to be aware with every entry posted into social media, we are creating a social footprint and log of our activity that is observable and traceable. She asked people in the audience to consider when posting content involving others, how often do we considered how they might respond to the content we are intending to post?
- We have to engage with our customers in ways they are expecting. As an example Gatorade now has a team of people who track major sporting events around the world and post content and responses live.
- Connections are currency. Money is no longer the only exchange mechanism for goods and services. For instance a restaurant in New York decreases the amount of money a patron has to pay based on the number favourable posts sent during their dining experience.
- There is an App for everything. In five years the number of people globally who will have a stable connection to the internet will more than double and grow to 4 billion. The primary connection will be by smartphone and tablet.
Social media is here to stay and change will be a constant. Randi Zuckerberg’s book dot.Complicated is well worth the read as it provides further insight into how to deal with the technology revolution.
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