Top 3 Startup Lessons From “The Social Network” : Under30CEO Top 3 Startup Lessons From “The Social Network” : Under30CEO
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Top 3 Startup Lessons From “The Social Network”

| February 13, 2011 | 7 Comments

the-social-network-posterThe movie, “The Social Network” depicts the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the early days of Facebook.  Although the movie may not be perfectly accurate from a historical perspective, it does offer a number of lessons that any young entrepreneur can learn from when launching a startup.  Young CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg often operate with a trial and error mentality, which is an excellent startup strategy; however, the more you can learn from the success and failure of others, the better.  With that in mind, here are the top 3 startup lessons from “The Social Network.”

Eyeballs First, Revenue Second

One of the keys to success for Facebook in the early days was that they capitalized on the “cool” factor.  In the movie, Zuckerberg opposed his partner’s strategy of implementing advertisements in order to drive revenue.  Zuckerberg focused on creating a great product, that users loved, which drove more users, which ultimately drove more revenue when Facebook implemented a monetization strategy.  Other successful companies like Twitter have used similar models because they know that if you can get the eyes the revenue will come.

Be Indispensable

There was a theme that seemed to keep coming up over and over again in the movie – betrayal.  The major lesson to learn for startup entrepreneurs is to be indispensable.  If you are not needed to execute your plan then what are you good for?  If your leadership is not indispensable to the success of your organization then you must place your hope in the hands of the courts, because your team of engineers may take your idea, make it better, and run.  Protect your business by bringing value to your team every day.

Take Risks

The final startup lesson learned from “The Social Network” is to take big risks.  Zuckerberg took a huge risk.  Much like Bill Gates before him, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, arguably the most prestigious school in the world, in order to move to Silicon Valley and create Facebook, which is arguably the most powerful website in the world.  You have to realize that risk takers don’t always win, but in order to win big you have to be willing to risk big in your startup.

There you have it, the top 3 lessons that the startup entrepreneur can take away from “The Social Network.”  What lessons have you learned in your startup experience?  Do you agree with these 3 points, or not?

Today’s guest post is from Adam Hoeksema.  Adam is the Founder & CEO of ExecutivePlan.  As you continue on your quest to raise capital ExecutivePlan can help you write a more powerful, effective, and memorable business plan executive summary.  Make sure to visit Adam today at and download his 11 Page Guide on How to Write a Powerful Executive Summary.

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Category: Startup Advice

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  • Brian Cox

    I think the third tip is the most powerful, trying to reach the tipping point in my own business has made me fearful of making the wrong decision. So as a result I’ve become more conservative. Just as we’ve seen the population rewards the revolutionaries and we should all learn from this. I will personally take this point to heart.

  • Kristina

    I didn’t think I was going to enjoy The Social Network as much as I did. Along with these three valuable lessons, I think one of the most powerful lines was that entrepreneurs think “it’s better to create a job than find a job.” And actually, we create many jobs, not just one.

  • Antwan

    Tant de lieux communs.

  • Halford

    Eyeballs in general is highly important. However, a loyal target market is invaluable.

  • Alex Matjanec

    I agree eyeballs first, but it also depends on your business model and if you are willing to take on capital. For me I think your second point is a key lesson. Even if you surround yourself with the brightest people, employees should feel that you are an important part to the success of the company.

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