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Every Possible Mistake You Could Make

This past Sunday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed on 60 minutes. If you didn’t happen to see it, I’ll give you a link in a moment where you can watch it online. It’s fascinating. Definitely worth watching, especially if you use Facebook (you do, don’t you?) or saw the move “The Social Network.” (Highly […]

This past Sunday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was interviewed on 60 minutes. If you didn’t happen to see it, I’ll give you a link in a moment where you can watch it online.

It’s fascinating.

Definitely worth watching, especially if you use Facebook (you do, don’t you?) or saw the move “The Social Network.” (Highly recommended.)

The 60 minutes interview lets you reconcile what you saw in the movie with how Mark is, in real life.

Beyond that, though, two things stood out to me that I think are very much worth talking about, because there are important messages in there for both you and me.

During the interview, Zuckerberg was asked how he would rate himself as a CEO.

But Mark didn’t answer that question, because I think he would have had a conflict over which of several answers to give (and because he probably didn’t want to sound too arrogant on TV).

If he were to be candid about his answer, he’d say that he knew that other people would have given him an A+. I mean, how would YOU rate him? How do his accomplishments measure up to yours? (Or mine, for that matter?) He’s doing pretty well, by all accounts.

After having been labeled the “Toddler CEO” three years ago, he’s done a fantastic job running Facebook.

  • As of this writing, Facebook has over 500,000 members — If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world, larger than the United States, and gaining ground on China and India every day.
  • Facebook’s daily traffic has now surpassed Google’s traffic, and totally eclipses the average Google user’s “time on site”. In fact, the daily time-on-site for Facebook users is more than Google, Yahoo, Youtube, Wikipedia and Amazon COMBINED.
  • Mark Zuckerberg himself is worth just shy of 7 billion dollars (and that’s without even taking Facebook public.)

So I’d agree with you if you gave Zuckerberg an A+.

But I think that Mark would give himself a different grade.

That’s because he’s a guy with some pretty high standards, and is incredibly smart and driven towards his goals. He has a vision, he knows what he wants for his company, and he sets up situations and conditions that cause his goals to be achieved.

But Mark knows that he could have done better, and he constantly works on doing exactly that. My guess is that if he were pressed, he’d give himself a B, “Good, but with lots of room for improvement.”

So what’s the message? Why does this matter to you and me?

I spent the weekend in Las Vegas at an event all about creating Membership sites. It was run by the folks over at Wishlist Member, a plugin that allows you to turn a WordPress blog into a membership site.

There were about 200 people in the room, each of whom either already had a membership site, or were about to create one. I’ll tell you more about the event in another post, but I bet that you would have fit right into this crowd.

After being at this event, and then watching the 60 Minutes Interview, I can’t help but wonder how many of those people are going to move on to creating their own online empire. How many of them would go on to make millions of dollars, or more, in the next few months or years, with their membership sites?

A membership site is an incredibly powerful tool for your online business. In fact, chances are that your online business SHOULD BE a membership site, or include a membership site, on one level or another.

Membership sites can be used as methods for delivering your content, selling your products, building a community, or even giving away free information. YOU can make money with membership sites in almost any niche. It’s HARD to make a mistake big enough so that your membership site doesn’t generate money for you.

And isn’t Facebook just a big — really BIG — membership site?

Ah, so that brings me back to two insights that I have for you about Mark Zuckerberg.

The answer Mark gave to the question about grading himself was “We’ve made a huge number of mistakes along the way. I always say that I think we’ve made every possible mistake we could make.

(And still the guy has 500 million users. )

Also interviewed in the 60 minutes story were the Winklevoss twins, two brothers who had an idea at Harvard similar to Facebook, and who, to some degree, inspired Zuckerberg.

They are still upset that Zuckerberg built Facebook. They think he stole their idea.

So what’s the difference between the Winklevosses and Zuckerberg?

Zuckerberg did the work. He got off his ass and built something. He didn’t wait around for someone else to do the work for him. He had a vision. He had drive. He had motivation. And he had the know-how.

He got started, and is still working on his membership site every day of his life.

He gets the job done.

So let me ask you something…how are YOU doing online?

  • Do you have a vision?
  • Are you motivated every day?
  • Are you determined to build something cool and useful that is helpful and that people need, want or crave?
  • Are you helping other people have what they want?
  • Are you tapping into the obvious (or hidden) desires of your audience?
  • Are you possessed and driven to work on your baby every day?

That’s how Mark Zuckerberg came across in the movie, and how he is in real life.

I must confess that I sometimes have trouble getting started on a project or choosing a direction. I have lots of new ideas, too many, in fact. And many of them require dozens of decisions to be made.

It’s easy for me to come up with ideas for other people.

Sometimes, though, I get stuck on my own stuff.

So I’m going to draw inspiration from Mark Zuckerberg. I’m going to favor action over inaction. I’m going to move as fast as I can. And I’m going to work hard, and hope (better yet, I’ll plan) to make as many mistakes as Mark Zuckerberg has. Maybe more.

What are YOU going to do?

Comment below.

–Mark Widawer

P.S. A few last things…

14 replies on “Every Possible Mistake You Could Make”

Really good post Mark. You made some good points and the most important I think is to have a very clear vision of what you want it to eventually become. For me it’s so frickin easy to question my vision and then procrastinate away valuable time. Thanks Mark… Brent

Thanks for an inspiring post, Mark.

With regards to the last part of your post, I have had a similar problem – too many ideas but at a loss as to which idea to implement first. The result? Action paralysis.

Will be interested to know you tackle or intend to tackle this problem!

Just follow the leaders.

Imagine if you had been there and understood what was happening when Ray Crock discovered the first McDonalds store (created by the McDonald brothers), and realized that the model was a winner that could be duplicated at thousands of locations around the world.

Sheesh, hear I go crying all over again this AM! Your timing is impeccable! Or should I say inspired. I am in the process of changing My Quiet Doll craft kits into ebooks and a membership site is exactly what I needed and I was planning to build it in word press and didn’t know how 🙂 I’ve made plenty of mistakes and expect to make plenty more but these little dolls I make could be the next Webkinz or other big toy “thing”. The pieces just keep falling into place and it appears this might actually work for me in a big way. I’ve already got the domains but the sites not up yet but soon I hope.

Blest Wishes this season!
Vickie Smith
The Quiet Doll Queen

It’s funny how some things just “happen” at exactly the right time.
Ready for another one????
You go buy Wishlist Member this week using the link in this comment, and I’ll give you a presonal 30 minute step-by-step overview of how it works and how to set it up. I’ll record it so that you can watch it over and over again…and I’ll even post the video here or on another of my sites so others can see it too.
Once I walk you through it, you’ll realize how amazingly easy it is to use.
Get Wishlist Member Here

Thanks Mark,

You continue to amaze me by having the right words at the right time. I also have the quirky ability to solve everyone else’s issues, yet struggle with my own. I tend to procrastinate seeking perfection in my own work and forget that “pretty good” now, usually beats “perfect” later, every time.

Your words reminded me of what my Dad taught me: “It is better to fail attempting to do something, than to succeed at doing nothing.”

Getting back in the game and re-engaging my business after a long absence is more challenging than I expected. I didn’t think I was as rusty as I am. The things I formerly did almost instinctively, I find myself having to really think about. Tasks I formerly performed in minutes and took for granted, can now take hours.

I needed every word in your post to make it click. I now realize the best way to shake off rust is to work it off, preferably while moving forward. I’m going to follow your lead and just do it. To hell with the mistakes. I’ll likely learn from them and can always correct them.

Anyhow, gotta jump now. I’ve got mistakes to make. Thanks again for the inspiration and attitude tweak. I needed it.

Hi Mark

I also watched “The Social Network” and the 60 Minutes interview, and was inspired by the guy’s drive.

One scene that sticks out is when he got the idea to include your relationship status from a conversation – he didn’t write it down to do later, he didn’t say to himself “I should do that” and then forget about it.

He dropped everything and RAN back to his dorm room to implement it right away!

That’s the kind of drive and hunger it takes to succeed…

Thanks for the post Mark!

~ Jeff
.-= Jeff Herring´s last blog ..Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg on 60 Minutes =-.

Yes, you’re right. And I think that’s because, at that moment, he realized what the MOST IMPORTANT PART of Facebook really was — relationship status! He knew that this was the one thing that people wanted to know most.
“Who is she dating?”
“Is that guy available?”
“Did they break up yet?”
But that just goes to show that it didn’t matter that Facebook started without the relationship status as part of the equation. What mattered ist hat Facebook had STARTED!
And once it had started, Zuckerberg knew he could improve upon it, every day if necessary.
Great observation, Jeff!

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