Facebook Friday: Celebrating Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

December 17, 2010

It’s always great to acknowledge outstanding achievers. And I must say that Time magazine’s recognition of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as its “Person of the Year” is well deserved. In a single day, Zuckerberg said, “about a billion new pieces of content are posted on Facebook. It is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet.” The online network could now be called the “third largest country on earth and surely has more information about its citizens than any government does.” He went on to tell Time that “the next five years for Facebook would be about ‘building out this social platform’ and the “widespread acknowledgment by other industries that this is the way that stuff should be and will be better.”

Zuckerberg’s outlook on Facebook and the future of Facebook is quite fascinating and in a way rather refreshing. When asked about the sale of Facebook, Zuckerberg stated that Facebook would stay independent as that has always been the plan. “As a company we’re very focused on what we’re building and not as focused on the exit. We just believe that we’re adding a certain amount of value to people’s lives if we build a very good product. That’s the reason why more than half of our users use the product every day — it’s a more efficient way for them to communicate with their friends and get information about the people around them than anything else they can do. We’re not really looking to sell the company. We’re not looking to IPO [Initial Public Offering] anytime soon. It’s just not the core focus of the company.”

Pretty amazing to be 26 and named “Person of the Year” (the second youngest to win this title. Charles Lindbergh was the youngest at 25), let alone running a successful corporation such as Facebook. Since it began naming a “Man of the Year” in 1927, Time has selected individuals not necessarily for their good works or intentions but for their impact on the news. Time Editor Rick Stengel said Zuckerberg was chosen “for connecting more than half-a-billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic.”

And how does Mark Zuckerberg respond to the pressures that come along with running a hyper-fast paced, high-profile technology company? Here is his simple, yet quite wise response: “I was watching an interview with Steve Jobs the other day, in which he said that ‘In order to be doing something like this, you have to really, really like what you’re doing, because otherwise it just doesn’t make sense.’ The demands and the amount of work that it takes to put something like [Facebook] into place; it’s just so much that if you weren’t completely into what you were doing and you didn’t think it was an important thing, then it would be irrational to spend that much time on it. Part of the reason why this is fun is because we’ve managed to build a team of really smart people who come from different backgrounds and have different experiences and think in different ways. People constantly try to put us in a bucket: are we trying to sell the company? What are we trying to do? What is the business strategy? People are often more interested in why we’re hiring a stock-options administrator. Whereas for me and a lot of people around me, that’s not really what we focus on. We’re just focused on building things.”

Inspirational stuff. He gets my vote!

If you want to read more of his interview with TIme, check out this link.

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