Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, spoke with students of Tsinghua University in Chinese on October 24, 2015. He said that the most important reason for launching Facebook in 2004 was based on people’s connections.
“When we do things, how to do it is not the most important, but why we do it is. Once we have a clear mission, stay focused and look ahead. With perseverance, we can make a needle out of an iron rod. In 2004, I launched Facebook. At that time, there were numerous websites on the Internet. You could find nearly everything, such as news, music, books, movies, and shopping, but there was no service that could help us to find the most important thing in life: Other people.
“People are the most important thing in life, and everyone wants to connect with friends and family, so that life becomes more enriched. I wanted to solve a very important problem. I wanted to connect people together, and that is my first story.
“My second story is about working hard. If you have a mission, you don’t need a complete plan in order to go forward! You just need to try hard.
“When I was at Harvard University, my friends and I ate pizza every night and discussed the future. We launched the first version of Facebook. This product connected all students. At that time, I never thought I would create something to connect all the people in the world.
“I was only a college student. And big companies like Microsoft and Google, they have thousands of engineers and hundreds of millions of users. They should develop an international social network, but why didn’t they do it? We were students, and we had no resources. How could we create the largest international social network and connect billions of people?
“We worked harder!
Every step along the way, someone would tell us that new ideas wouldn’t succeed.
“We encountered many problems, and made many changes. Some people said that Facebook was just a little product for students. And it would remain that way, and it would never become important.
“But we continued to move forward. We had Facebook, and it was finally open to everyone.
“Someone said: ‘Now others use Facebook, but they won’t use it for long.’ We kept working hard, and people continued to use it, because connections among people are very important.
“Others also said: ‘Maybe it’s useful in the United States, but it won’t be useful in other countries.’ We worked harder, and expanded it to other countries in the world.
“Some said: ‘Social media will never make money.’ But we still continued to try harder and build a big business. Others said: ‘People will not use Facebook on their phones.’ But we worked even harder, and now we have set up a mobile-centric company. In the process, we did not know the answer to that question. We, however, continue to try, for we work hard.
“My third story is about looking ahead.
“With an important mission, when you know more, you will find more things to do. Always look ahead and keep moving forward. Look! Chinese history has had many innovations. China gave the world four great inventions: Papermaking, printing, the compass, and gunpowder. Learning is the most important innovation.
“A few years ago, my wife Priscilla studied in a Beijing hospital. She chose Beijing because she wanted to learn from very good teachers. My Chinese was very poor, but I still liked to learn Chinese. The more you learn, the more innovations there will be in life and also in work. Before you start, do not just ask yourself how to do it, but ask why you want to do it. You should believe in your mission in order to solve important problems. Remember to stay focused and try hard, don’t give up, and keep looking ahead and moving forward.”
Research by Monica Song and Kathy McWilliams