By Ekaterina Walter ’08

One billion people have Facebook accounts, making it the largest social network in the world. When the company went public in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg became the 29th richest person on the planet. How has this young man achieved such incredible success? Here are five secrets covered in my new book

Passion: If you think of successful CEOs such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, TOMS’ Blake Mycoskie or Zappo’s Tony Hsieh, one thing about all of them is their passion. James Dyson created 5,172 prototypes before he perfected the bagless vacuum cleaner. Passion gives you the perseverance to keep going, no matter what the obstacles.

Purpose: Everything that Facebook does, from the people it hires to its working environment to the way it rolls out new products, is driven by a sense of purpose that infuses the company at every level. Zuckerberg’s purpose is to make the world more transparent and to create connections among people. So build what you believe in, and align your business interests with your personal philosophy.

People: Hiring the right employees is vital for building a company’s culture. It’s not just about having the right skills, it’s also having the right outlook that fits with a company’s values and its purpose. The 4,000 Facebook employees all believe in the “hacker way,” a method of working that prioritizes speed over perfection and results over arguments. And they believe in Zuck’s vision.

Product: Facebook’s philosophy is to “move fast and break things.” Creating an environment of agility and a sense of urgency is critical to the ongoing success of an enterprise that is looking for ways to innovate. 

Partnerships: Having the right partner — Sheryl Sandberg — next to him means Zuckerberg is free to play to his strengths: His imagination, insight and vision, leaving the task of business prosperity to Sandberg. So partner smartly. 

Ekaterina Walter ’08 graduated from Thunderbird’s Online MBA program. She is a social media innovator at Intel and a contributor to Mashable, Fast Company, Huffington Post and other print and online publications.

Think Like Zuck
Author: Ekaterina Walter ’08
Description: Hardcover, 256 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill (Dec. 18, 2012)