After watching the Facebook biopic, “The Social Network” (dir. David Fincher), I started to think about what it would take to become the next Facebook, or Google, or Apple. Looking back at Mark Zuckerberg’s unique constellation of life events, and his own dysfunctional social network, I realized that one does not have to be a computer genius to become the next Facebook. The reason why Mark Zuckerberg is a success isn’t because he came up with a great idea; it’s because he acted on it.
Take, for example, the creation of Mark Zuckerberg’s first viral sensation, FaceMash. He’s blogging away one night, and he comes up with an idea for a website where people could compare the attractiveness of Harvard women. He actually started coding the site, and finished it that night… while he’s blogging about it! He didn’t ask for permission, or see what others thought of the idea, or test it out first. He built it, and launched it.
The FaceMash incident was the reason why Divya Narendra and the Winklevoss twins wanted Mark to work on their concept for an exclusive dating website for Harvard students and alumni. That meeting was what sparked Mark’s idea for Facebook. The Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra should have just coded the site themselves. Instead, they delegated the task of programming to a perfect stranger. If they had just picked up a book on programming, by now, they could have built an online dating empire from that one idea.
Becoming the next Facebook isn’t about being a programming genius, or having a lot of money. It’s not even about having an original idea. Facebook after all was not the only social media network around, nor was it the first. Becoming the next big thing is about seizing opportunities when they are presented. It’s about doing the work. If you want to be the next Facebook, don’t delegate your dreams to someone else. Do the work.