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Q&A with Ekaterina Walter, Author of “Think Like Zuck”

I recently featured Think Like Zuck: 5 Business Secrets of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the Hayzlett Book Club. This book is engaging and motivational, but provides more than just regular business “fluff” or a biography about Zuckerberg. It’s about the mindset it takes to build something successful and solid, helpful advice – which is why it was featured! Afterwards, I had the opportunity to ask author Ekaterina Walter questions about her Wall Street Journal best-seller, and provide a deeper analysis on what business leaders can take away from it.

What does “Think Like Zuck” mean to you?

“Think Like Zuck” is an analogy of a leader who follows his/her passion, leads with purpose, builds great teams, and strives for continued excellence in his/her product (or services) and partners smartly. It is a mentality that drives great leaders to building successful business and the approach they use to doing so.

Can you speak more to the 5 P’s of “Zuck-like” companies and their strategies for success and growth: passion, purpose, people, product, partnerships?

The 5 P’s described in the book are:

  • PASSION—Keep your energy and commitment fully charged at all times by pursuing something you believe in
  • PURPOSE—Don’t just create a great product, drive a meaningful movement
  • PEOPLE—Build powerful teams that can execute your vision
  • PRODUCT —Create a product that is innovative, that breaks all the rules, that changes everything
  • PARTNERSHIPS—Build powerful partnerships with people who fuel imagination and energize execution

Who should read Think Like Zuck? What should a reader expect to get from the book?

Anyone who has a passion for innovation and disruption. Those who have an entrepreneurial streak, whether they are an intrapreneur (a person who drives change within a large company) or an entrepreneur (someone who owns his/her own business). And just anyone who wants to learn from other successful leaders.

Packed with examples of Facebook’s success principles in action—as well as those of Zappos, TOMS, Threadless, Dyson, and other companies—Think Like Zuck gives you the inspiration, knowledge, and insight to make your own mark in the world, to build a business that makes a difference, and to lead your organization to long-term profitability and growth.

What can business owners with years more experience than Zuckerberg learn from him?

Creating the culture of urgency, staying in the state of permanent beta, not resting on its laurels – that is something a lot of leaders are struggling with, especially once they reach some level of success. The hacker culture that Zuck created is the key to its continuous innovation and fluid adaptability.

Find and hire passionate people (independent of their age and sometimes experience) and offer them non-traditional career paths. Zuckerberg understands the power of passion and the right attitude. Sometimes Facebook hires people just to have the right talent on board, and later on matches up their passions to the projects that they are best suited to work on. Facebook runs hackathons where engineers can work on new ideas outside of their current projects and anything goes. A lot of traditional leaders a lot of times are afraid to give young and inexperienced a big chance and that’s where they are missing a huge opportunity to tap into passion and motivation of the entrepreneurial generation.

From what you’ve learned through doing research and analysis for this book, what one piece of advice would you give for someone wanting to emulate this success?

Act! There is an entrepreneur in every single one of us. Our passions fuel our purpose and give us energy and motivation to grow. But if we don’t take that first step and act, our dreams will stay just that – dreams.

Ekaterina Walter is a social media strategist and innovator at Intel. She is an author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller “Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg”. A recognized business and marketing thought leader, she is a sought-after speaker and a regular contributor to leading-edge print and online publications. She has been featured in a number of prestigious publications and in 2012 was named among 25 Women Who Rock Social Media. She sits on a Board of Directors of Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and is an active member of the Thunderbird Global Council at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Twitter: @Ekaterina. Blog: www.ekaterinawalter.com.

(For more information on Hayzlett Book Club, and to find out how you can win a copy of the featured book of the month, follow me on Facebook or Twitter.)

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