Randi Zuckerberg Interview


Thank you so much for being with us today Randi Zuckerberg. Welcome to Oklahoma. Are you enjoying your stay? Thank you. I’m really enjoying it. It’s my first time in this lovely state. Let’s jump right in. You’ve had a unique career that’s spanned on both sides of the table. You worked for Ogilvy. You’ve worked for a small business that’s now a very large business in Facebook. What’s a piece of advice that you’ve been given in your career that has stood the test of time that’s carrying you forward as you start your own company? I think the most interesting and useful piece of advice I got right out of college was to be careful what you become good at. I learned this because I was that super eager beaver. I was like yes I’d love to make 1000 photocopies for you and my boss pulled me aside and said listen I love how eager you are but be careful not to get too good at being the photocopier because you don’t want to get overlooked for the things you’re going to be good for down your career. That was one of the most interesting real pieces of advice I’ve been given. I got a lot of question marks from people when I left corporate America to go work for Facebook. I heard feedback such as you’re throwing your life away, are you a moron, different things like that. Little did a lot of those people know that 3-4 years later they’d be asking me for a job. So it’s amazing how things come around full circle. I’ve had some incredible mentors over the years. It’s been really special. You bring up an interesting point, so many people who start their own business or work for a start-up company are perceived to be throwing away your life. What was your reason behind that? I know there was a relationship there, but was there something more significant that was going on in your life? There was definitely some significance. I also think in corporate America, on one hand you know exactly where your career is going to be in 10 years. You know if I’m here for 2 years I’ll get promoted to an account executive and then 2 more years. When I went out to see the start-up culture in Silicon Valley though, none of that 10 year structure or plan exists. No one has a 10 year plan. I doubt they even have a 10 day plan. And suddenly I saw this glimpse that I could have access to make decisions at a much higher level, tackle challenges at a much higher level than I would be able to if I waited 10 years in corporate America. For me that’s what was so exciting about Facebook. I knew it was a gamble. I thought it was a good gamble given the trajectory of the company. But for me it was about the experience of learning and taking on things I wouldn’t have been able to take on. Is it possible for a company today to even try to brand themselves anymore? Absolutely. I think there’s always a space for expert opinions. I think the more noise that’s out there the more those expert voices are paid attention to actually because people want editorial voices that rise above the water. That’s why I think that the traditional media, even though I hate that word, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon even though a lot people argue what’s happening in the traditional media space because people really need those trusted voices. You look online and see what all your friends are saying about the current events, but then you go to the New York Times or CNN or those trusted sites to see what’s happening. I think if you’re a brand, expert, a leader in an area, there’s no better time to jump in and share your thoughts. So you look at the dictionary encyclopedia industry being completely overturned, what’s the next industry? Is it education? It could be. I have my eye if I had to take a gamble on health care. I think you’re starting to see products like the Nike fuel band and the jaw bone up that are making all this metadata about our health seem very accessible and fun for the first time. I think we’ll also see an interesting world of online medical records. That’s just my own personal opinion and guess, but I’m putting my money on health care. What would you say is the number 1 obstacle to making that move quicker. I think definitely privacy and the fact that it’ll take some time to get people comfortable with putting sensitive information online. Although more and more we see people do all of their banking online and putting their monetary information in, so the trend in society definitely seems to be going toward keeping all of our personal information in the cloud. We’ve got a lot of students that wish they could here you speak. To all the OSU students and all college students, what advice do you have for them? First of all, as they’re putting together their social media presence, to think about not just tomorrow and that picture your posting tomorrow, but your entire long and wonderful career that’s in front of you. We live in an interesting world where content is now archived forever and where people are now looking at your Facebook profile and LinkedIn when they’re looking to hire you. It’s very important to communicate the image. Every person’s a brand now and you have to think about your brand while your online. Also, and this is maybe more towards women who are watching, but I just had my first baby. There’s a lot of debate right now about whether as a women you can be a really good mother and have a rewarding career or start a company. Just some words of inspiration to all the women out there that the business woman of the future can have it all. With all the tools we have at our disposal and the technology to work remotely with Skype and others, I think it’s important to pursue both a wonderful family life and an incredible exciting career. Have a little balance. Exactly. So you brought up the students personal brand, is a student who has a personal brand online at an advantage over perhaps a student who doesn’t have any presence online? Absolutely. I think companies that are looking to hire people right out of school are going to look for people who are good writers, who are savvy, who understand the online space. And if you’ve been able to build up 1000 twitter followers for yourself along the way, it shows that people are already listening to you right out of the gate. You bring up an interesting point on having good, strong writing skills, and you have an interesting background with your education. Which is more important, business knowledge or the ability to communicate? I think communication. I think you can learn the business tools that you need but I think if you exhibit savvy and expression in what you post, you can show you’re a good writer but that you don’t just post inappropriate things. You show that you’re smart and articulate and have a good point of view. That’s something I look for in everyone that I hire. Good advice. One last question, you kind of eluded to what the future holds, if you had to make anymore predictions what would they be? That’s a wide open question. It’s so hard to think about what the future will bring, but I think one of the most interesting trends that we’re seeing at the moment is there’s a whole new job out there called community manager. This is a job that didn’t exist even 3 or 4 years ago. It’s a job that was created because of the rise of social media. In universities when students are thinking about what am I going to be when I grow up or what am I going to do, don’t limit yourself to just the careers that have traditionally existed. This whole new area of community management is based around having the skill set to be able to engage with people on Facebook and Twitter on behalf of a brand. There’s all sorts of new jobs and industries that are going to be popping up. If you’ve got a love or a passion, there’s a career out there for it and if it’s not there, invent it. To give Oklahoma State a little credit, they actually have a course on social media and part of that course is the design and development of community management. They’re way ahead of the curve. Well following on the shoulders of giants. Thanks so much for your time. Anything else you’d like to add? Thanks. I’m just excited for my time in Oklahoma. I’ve met some great people so far. I know you mentioned that people would like to chat or ask questions, I’m very reachable online. Facebook message me or send me a tweet at @randizuckerberg. I usually try to respond or at least retweet almost everything I see. Well you’ll be getting about 30 tweets in the next few months I can guarantee that. Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today, we truly appreciate it. Star interviewer over here. Again thank you so much.

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One thought on “Randi Zuckerberg Interview

  1. Randi you have majorly high levels of awesomeness *HIGH FIVE* How can a video bursting with such great stuff have so few views & likes?

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