Before Facebook launched, Mark Zuckerberg knew his startup would have to overcome one very big obstacle.It’d need to achieve critical mass if it was going to survive.
“I wish good ideas would just market themselves,” he allegedly wrote to Harvard classmate Aaron Greenspan. “That way you could just devote energy to making cool things.”
To achieve critical mass, Zuckerberg knew he had to do two things. He had to overcome peoples’ tendencies to be lazy, and he had to create hype.
Here’s the alleged pre-launch conversation:
zberg02: really i see it as a problem of critical mass
zberg02: people won’t; do it unless other people do it
zberg02: and then it becomes a question of culture
zberg02: because it’s not about who’s actually doing it
ThinkComp: that’s why i’m going to be talking to the uc
zberg02: it’s about who people think are doing it
zberg02: i think it requires some hype
ThinkComp: how do you plan to go about that
zberg02: well mine’s not a straight facebook
zberg02: it has a bunch of cool features which i don’t think i should really mention right now
zberg02: beyond the course stuff
zberg02: and i just think in general people will respond to the next thing i make
zberg02: a crimson reporter called me today to ask if i was making anything new
ThinkComp: i won’t stop you then
zberg02: or planning on making anything new
zberg02: without hearing of anyting i was doing
zberg02: i thought that was interesting
zberg02: well i just think that if we compete neither of us will get the mass we need to make anything worthwhile
zberg02: or i don’t know
zberg02: mine is basically ready
zberg02: i just have some business stuff to work out
ThinkComp: i’m not too concerned.
ThinkComp: we’re doing ok
zberg02: well i know you have lots of users
zberg02: i’m just saying, in terms of either facebook getting used
ThinkComp: you said they were different purposes though…
zberg02: yea but people are lazy
zberg02: and i think will only want to upload stuff to one of them
Here’s the completely 71-page “Lost Chapter” Greenspan posted from his Harvard days with Zuckerberg.
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