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Interview with the Author of "Think like Zuck!"
Posted on February 12th 2013
A few weeks ago, a new business book caught my attention. The title almost pulled me to the book. ‘Think like Zuck’. It was written by Ekaterina Walter, one of the social media strategists at Intel. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing her about her book.
“Think Like Zuck” is an analogy of a leader who follows his/her passion, leads with purpose, builds great teams, and strives for continued excellence in his/her product (or services). It is a mentality that drives great leaders to building successful business and the approach they use to doing so.
Hence, the 5 Ps described in the book are:
PASSION—Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in
PURPOSE—Don’t just create a great product, drive a meaningful movement
PEOPLE—Build powerful teams that can execute your vision
PRODUCT —Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything
But this isn’t the exhaustive list by any means. There are a number of different factors that need to align to drive success. For example, timing is import – are the customers ready to embrace your product? Even a little bit of luck is needed every now and then. Discussion of all of them would probably not fit in one book. So I chose to focus on the ones that I’ve witnessed to be more impactful over the years in anyone’s success and growth.
Who should read Think Like Zuck? What should a reader expect to get from the book?
Anyone who has a passion for innovation and disruption. Those who have an entrepreneurial streak, whether they are an intrapreneur (a person who drives change within a large company) or an entrepreneur (someone who owns his/her own business). And just anyone who wants to learn from other successful leaders.
Packed with examples of Facebook’s success principles in action—as well as those of Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and other companies—Think Like Zuck gives you the inspiration, knowledge, and insight to make your own mark in the world, to build a business that makes a difference, and to lead your organization to long-term profitability and growth.
You talk about both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (someone with the entrepreneurial streak who alights their talent in a large company). Do you think this mindset is critical for every employee to have?
It is very important, yes. But it isn’t always present because we don’t do great job aligning peoples’ passions with the jobs we give them or projects we align them with. Those who are passionate about something are the ones who will lead true change (within a company or beyond). I talk about the fact that there are more entrepreneurs out there than we think there are. You might not think about yourself as one unless you encounter something you care about, your true purpose, then watch out – you will become an entrepreneur, you will make your vision happen and you will probably do it creatively and with the limited resources.
So yes, I believe that every one of us has a hidden entrepreneur within him/her. And it is our responsibility as organizations, as leaders to create an environment where people’s internal entrepreneur would thrive.
What makes Mark Zuckerberg such a unique leader?
Long-term strategic outlook and the courage to stand up to the pressures (both internal and external) that would veer him away from his vision. For example, everyone was saying NewsFeed was a bad idea and now it is the feature we can’t live without. People were saying Facebook becoming a platform is not the right strategic and business decision and now 24.3 percent of the top 10,000 websites in the world have some form of official Facebook integration on their home pages. It isn’t easy (especially when you are in your early twenties) to withstand those pressures. It is even harder to walk away from a billion dollar buy-out offer. But Zuck has a clear long-term vision of where he wants to go and where he wants to take this company and he is executing on that vision.
What is your role as a social media strategist and innovator at Intel?
Over the past 5 years my role has evolved. It started with ensuring that all the basics were in place for social media adoption within our company globally. Then I shifted my attention to establishing global strategies for building, growing and engaging our social communities on multiple social networks. We not only needed to establish those strategies, but to scale them globally. We put tools in place that allowed up to listen, engage, measure, and learn in real-time. We trained a large number of social media practitioners internally. Nowadays I am focusing more on innovation, looking forward to figure out what we need to do next.
How is Facebook changing the face of marketing?
Facebook provides an amazing platform for brands to connect with their customers and fans. Obviously it is a rented land, so brands need to be mindful of that. But the opportunity to connect with your fans around the world is unprecedented. Intel, for example, is able to connect with over 24 million people around the world in over 50 countries on a daily basis. Even if not every single person engages with the brand, that’s still a terrific opportunity for companies to start building relationships with their advocates that hasn’t existed before.
That totally shifts marketing from one-way to a two-way conversation. It is more about building relationships vs. pushing a message; more about listening and participating vs. posting a banner; more about real-time response vs. a six-month campaign. Facebook humanized the way we do marketing.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to emulate this success?
Act! There is an entrepreneur in every single one of us. Our passions fuel our purpose and give us energy and motivation to grow. But if we don’t take that first step and act, our dreams will stay just that – dreams.