A recent article on BNET by author Donna Fenn talks about why you do not want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. This is contrary to what most young people out seeing The Social Network are thinking. If given the chance just about any high school or college kid would jump at the proposition to follow in Zuckerberg’s footsteps with their company.  As Donna shows the movie and the reality between startup companies and how young people are building companies today are vastly different.

There is nothing wrong with Mark Zuckerberg. He has built one of the most influential companies of our time and did the things he needed to do to get there. However Donna brings up 4 key points that makes most young startups different from how Facebook was built.

  • Partnerships are common and effective: “Approximately 60% of the young entrepreneurs I interviewed for Upstarts! had started companies with one or more partners.”
  • Everyone is not a geek: “Yes, new technology-related companies get a lot of press. But don’t be fooled. There are plenty of successful young entrepreneurs operating largely under the radar in just about every industry imaginable.”
  • Bootstrapping rules: “A painfully small percentage of start-up companies attract venture capital and that’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.  There’s a lot to be said for bootstrapping.”
  • Collaboration trumps competition: “Idea theft and power machinations keep us on the edge of our seats in The Social Network.  In the real world, they also lead to a toxic corporate culture and severe sleep deprivation. Maybe that’s why most of the young entrepreneurs I speak to are far more interested in collaborating than competing.”

Remember that the way Zuckerberg built Facebook is not how most people are doing it. Odds are that if you try to follow in his footsteps you’re actaully hurting the development of your business. The Zuckerberg stories are 1 in a billion and if you follow some of the points Donna brings up above you will have better luck with your startup.

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