In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg began The Facebook, a new social network designed to connect Harvard students with each other in order to make the school “more open”. This experiment began to spread, eventually allowing Ivy League students, followed by more universities in the US and Canada. Eventually businesses were allowed, and the expansion continued until everyone over the age of 13 with a valid email address could join. What started as a mission to make Harvard more open eventually became a mission to connect the world. It was through that grand vision that Facebook was able to recruit the best and brightest, developing into the social network that we’re all unbelievably attached to.
Zuckerberg had a focus. It was to connect the world. The choices he made were most often rooted in that focus. Ideas were often cut if they didn’t help fulfill the mission, even when they may have been “money makers”. For Zuckerberg, the money wasn’t the focus. He never intended for it to even be a company. “Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected.” he wrote in a letter to potential investors that was part of Facebook’s IPO filing. Even today, Zuckerberg has had to balance the mission statement with his responsibility to investors, as is evident in the focus on non-intrusive advertising.
Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.
– Mark Zuckerberg
At the core, it is his insistence on remaining true to the company’s mission statement that has made Facebook the unrelenting social juggernaut that it has become. In reality, that same insistence would serve each of us in creating a company that exists well beyond us. Remember, it is your mission that drives the passion for your company in its clients and employees. It is in that mission that you need to place your trust and on the foundation of that mission that you need to build your company.
What do you think? Share your thoughts – and your mission statements – with us in the comments. Have an awesome Tuesday!