Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wild Entrepreneurial Ride - Zuckerberg, Keg Cups & More

TechCrunch recently discovered an interview with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg from 2005 when the company was still very much in its infancy.  You can find the video below and watching it in 2011 is almost shocking – a 21 year old Zuckerberg talking about how he doesn’t want to change the world and is happy with a network that solely includes college students.  Meanwhile, he’s holding a keg cup full of beer and glancing at a co-founder taking a keg stand.  This was filmed at their office.  Wow.

Fast forward six years later and you have a company valued at $84 billion and a 27 year old founder/CEO who has, in fact, changed the world.  According to TechCrunch, 11% of the world's population and 35% of people online are part of the Facebook community.

If there was ever a perfect example of the entrepreneurial journey, this is it.  Zuckerberg saw a pain – he couldn’t locate fellow students’ info at Harvard – and he created a solution.  He brought this solution into the marketplace and let the customers (i.e. users) take it from there.  He had no idea what he had created.  He threw his board into the ocean, found a wave and rode it.

To me, entrepreneurship is all about taking smart risks.  I remember my dad, an entrepreneur, telling me that he didn’t gamble in casinos because he couldn’t control the odds … whereas, at work, he gambled every day in venues where he could control the odds.  That stuck with me.

Zuckerberg had some traction at the time of this interview.  He would launch Facebook (“The Facebook” as it was referred to at that time) at a new university and have thousands of users within days.  So, he wasn’t working on blind faith.  He knew he had something, and he ran with it.  The “smart” part of the equation.

On the other hand, he had no clue what that “something” was or where the journey would take him.  As demonstrated by this video, he didn't have visions of grandeur.  But, he had the guts (or intoxicated bravado, depending on perspective) to move to Silicon Valley, put himself on the path and walk down it.  The “risk” part of the equation.

For every Mark Zuckerberg of the world, there are thousands of entrepreneurs who don’t make it.  However, for the millions of people with unexplored entrepreneurial aspirations, there are undoubtedly many Mark Zuckerberg’s out there.  If you take a smart risk, who knows what you'll create. 

Enjoy the video:

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