Zuckerberg and Facebook Both Have Growing Pains

Today’s Wall Street Journal devotes 2,400 words to Mark Zuckerberg‘s hiring of former Google exec Sheryl Sandberg as Facebook’s COO, and his attempts to mature into the CEO role at a large company. After reading the article I decided to sum it up in haiku form for our readers.

Growing up is hard
Doing it in public sucks
Facebook needs money

All levity aside, as a young founder Zuckerberg is treading on the worn footsteps of entrepreneurs everywhere. College is one of the best times to start a company because you don’t need to be mature. You have the ability to spend all hours obsessing over your creation, not paying rent and generally avoiding other responsibilities. Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Marc Andreessen, Sergey Brin and Larry Page all began their efforts in or immediately after college.

Zuckerberg is lucky, his collegiate startup has soared. And he now has the unenviable task of growing from a self-absorbed adolescent into a gracious adult in public. Not everyone makes this transition and no one does it without a few awkward moments. He’s also hampered by a point of view that’s unique to entrepreneurs.

Like many entrepreneurs, he’s recognized his flubs and is seeking to address them. Also like a true entrepreneur, he doesn’t spend a lot of time apologizing for his mistakes, but opts to go out and act differently. Those of us in the real world can fault him for that, but that mindset isn’t as much a function of age as it is a hallmark of an entrepreneur. As Zuckerberg matures, he’ll still have that mindset, but he’ll likely hide it a bit better.