Mark Zuckerberg recently visited communities in South Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, and ended up giving the 366th commencement speech at Harvard.
Despite being described by him as a challenge for becoming sensitive toward real communities, media analysts claim that it might be the first steps for a well-envisioned public office campaign, seeing the lack of a leader that can pose a threat to Trump’s antics. He assures that he’s doing so to “get a broader perspective to make sure” Facebook is serving well its 2-billion user base.
Connecting with real communities
Zuckerberg returned to basics by traveling to connect with local communities and get a sense of what they need and what they are doing. He will try to visit every state in the U.S. before 2017 ends, with the goal of learning about the challenges faced by real communities and their hopes for the future. He is writing about the experience on his Facebook wall.
One of the things Zuckerberg learned is that people make decisions influenced by their experiences and those of their friends and family, particularly those that surround us. Our relatives and acquaintances represent important sources of information, and how each person processes it is a crucial factor towards each decision that we make.
The creator of Facebook visited heroin addicts in Ohio. They told him that one of the challenges of fighting addiction is to find new friends, as their old friends tend to be people who are also drug addicts. Staying in touch with the same type of people is a surefire way to relapse, they say building new relationships is one of they key factors for staying out of the vice.
Zuckerberg saw that all the addicts knew that heroin was bad for them, that it was not misinformation but rather the influence of people who surround ourselves with, which has a greater impact than plain knowledge.
Zuckerberg also visited underserved areas in the southern U.S. There, he saw that people are not always inclined toward looking for better opportunities in other regions. One of the reasons appears to be the influence of friends and family. If friends and relatives tend to move away for college or to look for job opportunities, the practice serves as an example. On the other hand, if they tend to stay then there is less incentive to move away.
Facebook is based on relationships, which is what Zuckerberg refers to as “the most important things in our lives,” as they are crucial to remain healthy, keep out of trouble, and seek better opportunities in life.
A Harvard dropout delivers the 366th graduation speech
On Thursday, Zuckerberg gave a speech at the graduation ceremony of the 366th class of Harvard University.
He started off joking that the graduates achieved something that he never could, as he dropped out of Harvard about ten years ago. The first lecture he attended was about his career, Computer Science, which he attended while wearing a shirt backward. While at Harvard, Mark met his future wife Priscilla Chang during a party that was held because he thought he would be kicked out of the university.
Looking for purpose and creating it for others
The speech was focused on purpose, as millennials should be striving to help the world find their own, creating a new world altogether. The key is to be aware that we may be part of something bigger than ourselves, as a sense of purpose is the key to true happiness.
One of the first stages in creating Facebook was managing to connect the Harvard community, even if they believed that some big tech company would already have a similar idea. Zuckerberg and his team kept moving forward, as they believed in their purpose, to make the world a more connected place as Facebook could have an enormously beneficial impact on global communities.
He went even further, calling for Harvard graduates to create a sense of purpose in others:
“You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that’s what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we’d build,” he stated during the speech.
The startup team at first wanted to sell the project that would become Facebook, leaving Zuckerberg alone with just an idea to connect the world. He needed his team to feel in connection, to aim at a higher purpose. According to him, single moments with great ideas are nothing more than a Hollywood stunt, as great ideas require hard work and stubbornness.
“Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking the initiative will get criticized for moving too fast because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.”