We live in a digital age. It’s a world that Randi Zuckerberg knows very well.
Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook and founder of Zuckerberg Media, was this year’s first Excellence in Leadership speaker on Oct. 26 in John R. Emens Auditorium.
Zuckerberg talked about innovation and entrepreneurship — encouraging listeners to dispel the fear of failure.
She shared stories of the beginnings of Facebook, a project for which she left Corporate America to help her brother create.
Zuckerberg said that she was reluctant to join him at first, but she soon found herself going to California to help pioneer the social media company.
“I think I turned him down about a dozen times. I was like, ‘I would never go work for my brother’s silly company, who the hell would do that?’ … Luckily, he was very persistent,” she said.
It might have taken a bit of convincing to get Zuckerberg to California, but the experience was rewarding.
“One thing I did see that was missing in Corporate America: passion,” she said.
Zuckerberg remembered the early days of Facebook, which included early morning debates about the future and a sense that what they were making was really going to change the world.
Being involved in a start-up company like Facebook gave her more exposure to real-life work experience and opportunities that she wouldn’t have received at the advertisement agency where she was working, she said.
“[At a start-up], you create your own career and can bypass so many gears of the corporate ladder by getting your hands dirty and getting that education,” she said.
She said that the creation of Facebook was an “intoxicating” entrepreneurial journey.
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Helping with Facebook is far from Zuckerberg’s only accomplishment, however. She is the CEO of her own marketing firm and production company. She’s also appeared on Broadway in the show “Rock of Ages.” She runs a radio show on Sirius XM and has written two successful books. Zuckerberg’s book “Dot Complicated” was a New York Times Best Seller. Her other book, aimed toward children and called “Dot,” is being made into a television show.
Her speech reflected her résumé, as she discussed other topics besides her work with her brother.
She went over her top ten “cutting-edge” media trends for future professionals to think about.
These trends included thinking like a media company, teaching children about media at a young age, using media for motivation and taking breaks from technology.
Everything is “dot complicated,” she said, the title of her bestselling book. She told the audience that even though there are many helpful media tools, some are negative and "out there," such as an iPotty, a children’s toilet that has an iPad holder.
Zuckerberg also highlighted positive media tools such as Code Academy, an online tool that teaches users how to code and create websites.
People are one of the driving forces in media, she said.
“I think it really is all about people. … In whatever field or industry you go into, remembering that at the other end of that transaction and every computer screen is a person is gonna put you ahead of others in your industry,” she said.
Veronica LeCrone, a speech pathology major, attended Zuckerberg’s lecture.
“[Zuckerberg] was great," she said. "Technology has influenced a lot of the world. It’s bigger than I thought it was. You know you’re in a technical era, but you don’t realize how technical it is.”