10 Mistakes Mark Zuckerberg Made and How to Learn From Them

The mistakes Mark Zuckerberg made are more telling to savvy businesspeople. In the business world, it’s hard not to envy Mark Zuckerberg. The creator of Facebook is world-famous and astoundingly rich. But his rise to success hasn’t been without its share of mistakes and we can all learn from them as it’s GOOD to share mistakes openly, like I did on my terrible stock trade here just yesterday!

The idea that successful people don’t make mistakes is a lie. Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of Mark Zuckerberg’s mistakes–but perhaps more importantly, how he overcame them. Use these lessons to improve your own performance in business and life.

1. Not being on the same page as colleagues. If you’ve seen The Social Network, you probably remember his legal troubles with those sporty twins, who sued him over the creation of Facebook. This resulted in a hefty multi-million dollar settlement for them.

That had to have hurt, but this so-called failure didn’t make Mark shut down. He kept on going and has ultimately proven successful.

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But it does provide an important reminder that even if you think that a situation is cool, you’ve got to make sure you’re on the same page about things in business, and that when applicable, you receive permissions in writing. Sure, he’s a mega rich business scion now, but losing over $50 million on a settlement must have hurt.

(Source: Flickr)

2. Not being comfortable on stage. When his career began, Zuckerberg was uncomfortable speaking to audiences, and it showed. He came off as non-charismatic and at times a little standoffish. It also affected his reputation, and that of his company.

Realizing this, he has taken steps to becoming a more engaging speaker. This has increased his appeal and that of his company. While this might seem a trivial thing, in the long run it can make a big difference. Always be sure to showcase your best. Get practice by networking and putting yourself out there. Kick start your great network by joining the Tim Sykes Millionaire Challenge.

3. Being the “face” of Facebook. Given the above, it was somewhat surprising that Zuckerberg chose to be the face of his company. Particularly in the early years, he was extremely disliked and even viewed as arrogant.

This is where personal branding comes in. Zuckerberg didn’t understand at first that his conduct affected directly how people thought of his company–not just him. But he got wise to it quick enough, and now he’s on the positive side of PR (most of the time).

The idea that everyone will like you, whether you’re a newbie trader or Mark Zuckerberg, is not realistic. However, whether people like or dislike you, they can tell when you conduct yourself professionally and respectfully. Act as if you are the face of your own company.

4. Not thinking globally. There’s no single way of doing anything. Cultures vary greatly, and Mark Zuckerberg was reminded of this the hard way, when he ran into trouble by trying to adopt a “one size fits all” mode all across the world.

The trouble was, he found that different countries didn’t react to this kind of model in the same way, and he found himself in some hot water, particularly in China and India.

While you may not have to deal with international styles in quite the same way as a trader, it’s an important reminder to always do your due diligence and to remember that every situation is unique. Be sure to always do your research and don’t just assume that because something has worked in the past it will across the board.

5. Not embracing mobile fast enough. In 2010, Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook would have an iPad app, and he implied it was not in the works. In retrospect, this was a big mistake. Mark admits it: he said, much later, “we burned two years not working on mobile.”

One could at this point lament the profits lost and the fact that this might take away from their reputation as a groundbreaker. But is that what happened? No. Mark got to work and made his business mobile. Now, Facebook and mobile are practically interchangeable, they’re so intertwined.

6. Not going native. In 2012, one of the biggest mistakes Zuckerberg made  was choosing Javascript for developing instead of using a “native” approach. By not embracing the most appropriate technology, he set his company back big time.

However, realizing this, he was brave enough to change course and steer his company back in the right direction.

It can be humbling (and potentially expensive) to admit an error like this. However, Mark was able to do that, and the ability to constructively see his mistake and reverse it shows a bravery and character that should act as an inspiration for traders.

(Source: Flickr)

7. Doing now, apologizing later. Over and over, Mark has been guilty of going for it and following the adage that “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. Unfortunately, on a global scale, this can create issues. He’s been rash with developments and hasn’t always thought things through, which has brought him to the hot seat more than once.

As a trader, there’s a lesson to be learned here. While it might be tempting to go for a hot trade or try something risky, you should always try to mitigate the risk by doing your due diligence FIRST before risking your hard-earned money. This is something I try hard to instill in the Tim Sykes Million Challenge Team. Research and prep-work may not be a headache, but it can save your butt in a big way at times.

8. Not buying in sooner. There are plenty of investments that Mark has made that he could have done for far less if he’d been more proactive. For instance, a few years ago he purchased a company called Oculus for an astounding $2 billion to break into virtual reality.

He doesn’t regret buying the company, but does regret that he didn’t buy in sooner; he probably could have purchased it for much less.

The lesson here? Don’t be so afraid to take risks that you set yourself back if they can pay themselves back many times over in the future…this is why we have an application process for my trading challenge as I have ZERO time to waste on those who don’t take their education seriously and aren’t willing to invest in their future considering the enormous potential upside if you study hard and become one of my next top millionaire trading challenge students.

(Source: Flickr)

9. Not taking responsibility. Over the years, Mark has caught some flack for not taking responsibility for various things. For instance, one big example is that he initially scoffed over fake news being shared on the platform as an issue. It came off as a “not my problem” sort of arrogance, and he caught a lot of flak for it.

However, he was able to put things in perspective and recognize his responsibility in the world. He began to put systems in place to regulate and fact check stories. It’s a way to improve the world, and it has positive ripple effects. With such a powerful tool, why not work to do good in the world?

10. Not having a longtime mentor. Mark Zuckerberg famously cites Steve Jobs as a mentor and advisor early on in his career. In a farewell to Jobs, he wrote “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world.”  However, unless it’s someone we don’t know about, Mark doesn’t appear to have had a regular mentor advisor as he ascended into business superstardom and that’s hurt him as you can speed up your learning curve dramatically by being mentored by someone with experience…and that’s why I try to be the mentor to people in my trading challenge that I never had on my own either.

There’s no doubt about it, Zuckerberg has vision. He’s learned things over time, of course. But close guidance from a trusted advisor who could have schooled him on some of the smaller things could have really helped his career.

Mark Zuckerberg acts as proof positive that some of the most brilliant minds can suffer blunders from time to time. However, he shows us that it’s possible to recover from mistakes, even big and public ones. Learning how to overcome adversity like Mark has done is a lesson and inspiration for all of us.

Did you learn from Mark’s mistakes? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!