The Zuck Highlights

Giff Constable innovation, management

Like many, I just read Mark Zuckerberg’s S-1 letter. There are two things I really appreciated: the focus on long-term value, and the results-oriented innovation culture it espoused.

The letter states that the company wants to embrace risk and focus on long term value, not “maximizing investor returns” or quarterly performance. I’m glad to see more companies resisting Wall Street’s corrosive short-term thinking. If you missed Steve Denning’s Forbes article about how “maximizing shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world“, read it here. He covers the issues well.

The second is the general ethos of how they want to go about creating products. Over on Eric Ries’ blog, people are getting distracted by the word “hacker”. I don’t really care about that word. Here are the things that I highlighted:

an approach to building that involves continuous improvement and iteration

believe that something can always be better, and that nothing is ever complete

try to build the best services over the long term by quickly releasing and learning from smaller iterations rather than trying to get everything right all at once

Done is better than perfect

just prototype something and see what works.

Code wins arguments. (giff’s note: honestly, a better way of putting it would be “proof wins arguments”)

the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people

to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems

Move fast and break things

“The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

All in all, I thought it was a pretty well done letter. Of course, it is easy to talk about these things and much harder to do them, but if nothing else I hope the letter starts a dialogue in other large companies.