Comparing Mark Zuckerberg To Steve Jobs

by Christopher Paul on May 14, 2012

Because of my rule for not posting to the website that limits it’s readers to a handful of articles, I’m going to link to where I found out about this story, instead.

But the story is like a mini-biography of the founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. While not as reclusive or as secretive as Apple’s Steve Jobs (he does, after-all, have to share a bit about himself on his own company lest he look like a hypocrite), he seems to have a relatively low profile. He doesn’t mouth off, blog, certainly doesn’t tweet, and his speeches are really only seen as special industry events and mostly those that involve his company, specifically. He’s more Tim Cook than Jobs but, I suspect, just as motivated, influential, and the visionary that Apple’s famous and iconic founder.

So it’s interesting to me that Kyle Baxter highlights this passage about Zuckerberg’s hikes for potential hires:

"Several people who were hired this way say the strolls usually meandered along the trail — with Mr. Zuckerberg asking questions of the new recruit along the way — and ended atop a lookout. There, Mr. Zuckerberg would explain the terrain in front of them and his vision for the future.

“He pointed out Apple’s headquarters, then Hewlett-Packard and a number of other big tech companies,” one person who was recruited by Mr. Zuckerberg told The New York Times last year. “Then he pointed to Facebook and said that it would eventually be bigger than all of the companies he had just mentioned, and that if I joined the company, I could be a part of it all.”"

It very much reminds me of the quote Jobs said to John Sculley when he asked him to leave Pepsi for Apple. The one where he says, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Now, I don’t know if Facebook can overcome Apple or HP but there is no disputing it’s size in the social networking space. For all of the issues I have with Facebook – and much prefer Twitter over it – Facebook is the place to share private moments with a select group of people. It’s a rather complex platform and for another college dropout (in what seems is a requirement to form the largest companies in the world… Apple, Microsoft being the two that come to mind), it’s made some great features, acquisitions, and deals that have made it what it is today.

Facebook is also notoriously secretive – much like Apple. I’ve read stories (can’t remember where, though, sorry) that describes some rather intricate ways Facebook tries to keep it’s plans safe. I don’t know what HP is doing to keep their strategies safe but I don’t think anyone’s really looking for it, anyway. Besides, HP like so many struggling former behemoths, probably could stand to let a few of their ideas leak to get vetted by the rest of the world before executing them.

All of my long ranting after highlighting the quote that Kyle posted about was to compare Zuckerberg to Jobs. Before and when Jobs died, many people asked when – or if – we’d see another visionary like him: smart, complex, charismatic, profound, and possessing a clear vision of what they believe the future should be like and how they believe it will get there. I’d argue we already found him in Mark Zuckerberg.

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