Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Move Fast, Break Things but Transform Society

Last night, I watched Emily Maitlis's fascinating interview with Mark Zuckerberg; how he has transformed a college prank into one of the world's largest companies is extraordinary. I love how Facebook has fought to maintain a start-up culture in what is a company of over 3,000 employees. Zuckerberg is famous for having said "move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough"; a poster like the one on the right adorns many of the Facebook office walls.

Recent research showed that in the UK a quarter of the working population believes there are good opportunies to start up new businesses where they live but a fear of failure could prevent one in three workers from starting up on their own. If only 1% of these UK workers overcame their fear and seized the opportunity to start-up in their local area, the UK economy could receive a boost of over £33 million, if each individual made a profit of £1,000. If 5% overcame their fear and took a leap into entrepreneurialism, then the injection would be £163 million, and if all of them took the leap, the benefit would be £3.25 billion.

That's a sobering thought for the economy, but what about society? Are we stuck with the status quo because we are scared of making mistakes and innovating? We live in a country with over 1 million young people unemployed, with educational underachievement across the country and 850,000 people living in workless households (a child born into a workless household has about a 50% chance of being in poverty). Isn't it time we released ourselves from the fear of taking a risk? We will make mistakes but as Einstein said, "if you have never made a mistake before then you haven't done anything new"and society needs some new solutions!

Here's a Zuckerberg clip on how he generates innovation.

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