Company – Facebook
Founders– Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Andrew McCollum
Facebook is a social networking platform where users can share pictures, post comments, connect with new people from all around the world, live chat, post links or interesting content and watch short videos. Today, it is one the most widely used social networking sites with over one billion people using it on a regular basis.
How It All Started
Facebook was launched on 4th February 2004 at Harvard University as a school-based networking platform by Mark Zuckerberg along with a few roommates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Andrew McCollum. The website’s membership was initially limited to only the students of the University and was gradually extended to Stanford, Columbia and Yale students. Subsequently, the remaining Ivy League institutions, higher educational schools in Boston and MIT were also granted the membership.
Since 2006, anyone who is 13 years of age or claims to be can become a registered user of Facebook. Facebook took off and soon overtook MySpace to be the most popular social networking site in the world.
Facebook is available in thirty-seven different languages and offers the following features:
- Pages– People can create pages built around a particular topic and promote it.
- Marketplace– Members can post and respond to classified ads.
- Events– Members can promote an event, invite others and even keep track of who wish to attend.
- Groups– Members who share a common interest can find each other through groups and interact.
Success Story and Marketing Strategy
Facebook’s staggering success can be attributed to its potential to appeal to people as well as businesses. The site is user-friendly and allows interacting with several websites by offering a single login which would work across all sites.
- Execution Matters- Since Facebook was launched, there was a huge dispute regarding whose idea it was. Two seniors of Harvard University said that the networking platform was their idea and that Mark had stolen it from them. This caused a legal fight which lasted for nearly ten years. On the other hand, there were dozens of entrepreneurs outside Harvard who had similar ideas. Many of them launched their ideas but, only Facebook has been able to make its mark today. This is because in the end, it is only the execution that matters.
- Uncomplicated Features– Most companies these days get so absorbed with startling features they wish to build in their products that the end product ends up being complex. At times, companies take so much time to design their products that by the time they are launched, they are surpassed by a more powerful competitor. However, Facebook was simple and kept on improving over time. With improving technology, Facebook improved too and kept itself up-to-date which is why it is still thriving. Every time it was made sure that their services were still user-friendly.
- Facebook focused on the product and not the business– Zuckerberg remained uninterested in Facebook’s business initially. He focused on the product and he went as far as turning away advertising clients as he didn’t want ads to disrupt the service. As the platform grew, he continued focusing on the product and hired senior executives to take care of the finances and business. He believed that by paying attention to the product and the valuable customers, business would soon follow.
- An efficient Team– A company becomes successful when there are efficient employees working for it. To build a great team, you have to hire reliable people and fire without any hesitation of the need be. During the very early stage of Facebook, the company did make a lot of hiring mistakes. However, it was very quick to realise it and addressed the situation immediately by firing people who weren’t capable of helping the company grow. Also, Facebook was great at replacing executives when the company outgrew them.
- Learning as You Grow– Managing and leading a company requires some serious skills and Zuckerberg’s skills as a CEO were acquired deliberately. He used to be a lousy leader until one executive told him that he needed CEO lessons. Zuckerberg from then on dedicated himself completely to learning as much as he could. He also created a group of advisors comprising of investors, executives and entrepreneurs who were best in what they did including Steve Jobs, Jim Breyer, Warren Buffett, Donald Graham and many more. He never hesitated to learn and that is what has made him a great leader.
- Complete Control– Facebook was and always has been controlled by Mark Zuckerberg which is one of the many reasons behind its phenomenal success. Had Facebook been in control of venture capitalists, it quite possibly would have been sold out by now. Zuckerberg always focused on designing and building his vision instead of capitalizing on small financial rewards. Smaller rewards are more of a distraction and by controlling the company efficiently; he managed to make his vision a reality.
- Focusing on Progress– Had Facebook settled back after overtaking MySpace, it wouldn’t have been where it is now. Facebook ran as fast as it possibly could and managed to distance itself from its competitors. Focusing on progress is the key to success. You could of course sit and congratulate yourself on smaller milestones but the bigger vision should never be forgotten.
- Controlled Growth– Facebook has avoided the temptation to grow rapidly right since the beginning. It began as a network meant only for the Harvard students and then gradually expanded in stages. Facebook focused on building a reliable and robust technology infrastructure and thereby was able to avoid issues which troubled its competitors.
Today, Facebook has approximately 1.49 billion active users on a daily basis while there are nearly 2.27 billion active users on a monthly basis. Of course Facebook ran into a fair share of troubles but what is noteworthy is that it has managed to address the issues and find solutions that people were happy with. Facebook Inc. has shares outstanding worth of 2.913 million which will continue to grow.