People Should Prioritize Relationships Rather Than Being ‘Objective Focused'

Mark Zuckerberg
Founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook)

Facebook, then called Meta, is among the largest tech companies the world has ever seen.

It was Mark Zuckerberg who developed it in his dorm room at Harvard, before he dropped out to pursue his dreams of creating a platform to connect everyone. But that history isn't actually what Zuckerberg had planned from the beginning.

While Zuckerberg never continued his formal studies at the university, he values his time in college more than many other things in his life.

According to him, it was during those early days in college that helped him became what the world would then know him for.

In an episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast hosted by MIT computer scientist Lex Fridman, Zuckerberg said that his initial ability to launch Facebook in 2004 was not caused by the fact that he dropped out and abandoned any of his interests.

Mark Zuckerberg during Lex Fridman's podcast
Mark Zuckerberg during Lex Fridman's podcast.

Instead, Zuckerberg managed to build his social media empire with the help of his personal connections.

Zuckerberg who was once considered the youngest self-made billionaire, said that the time people spend time with in college, is "the most important decision" any student can make on campus.

"You become the people you surround yourself with," he explained. "I think probably people are too, in general, objective focused, and maybe not focused enough on the connections and the people who they’re basically building relationships [with]."

In his case, Zuckerberg met his Facebook co-founders, like Eduardo Saverin, and Dustin Moskovitz.

It was also during that time that Zuckerberg met the Winklevoss twins.

Despite the numerous controversies surrounding the founding of Facebook, which were roughly detailed in the 2010 film The Social Network, it was all a history when the company managed to become one of the world's largest companies with a market capitalization worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

But still, Zuckerberg suggested that he prioritizes relationships he can make with other people, over whatever objectives he has in his mind.

When evaluating a job candidate, for example, Zuckerberg imagines what it would be like to work for that person, instead of being their employer.

"I will only hire someone to work for me if I could see myself working for them," he said.

According to him, that mindset helps him develop the strategy that creates a work environment that is both more cohesive and more productive.

Zuckerberg said that working with people who share share the same values, will make goals easier to achieve.

It’s all about finding personal compatibility, he said, and that is similar to "choosing friends or a partner."

Most insiders said that Mark Zuckerberg's leadership style is between prestigious and dominant.

While it was his goal orientation that made Facebook the largest social media platform on Earth, in which its success made it capable of acquiring both Instagram and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg shows that he can step beyond day-to-day activities and instead focus on the solid creation of a team.

This is why he prioritizes relationships over objectives.

And this also explains why he backed Peter Thiel, a major benefactor of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and said that keeping Thiel on his company's board was more important than any perceived blowback the company might receive.

Zuckerberg at the time said that the company "can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate."

Thiel was among Facebook's earliest investors. Thiel invested $500,000 of his own money, and that happened because he trusted Zuckerberg.

And in return, Zuckerberg also trusted him, and defended him.