When Mark E. Zuckerberg ’06 grew impatient with the creation of an official universal Harvard facebook, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
After about a week of coding, Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com last Wednesday afternoon. The website combines elements of a standard House face book with extensive profile features that allow students to search for others in their courses, social organizations and Houses.
“Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg said. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.”
This is an excerpt from a post on the Harvard Crimson dated February 9, 2004. It might be the first post ever written about what was to become Facebook. At the time, there were 650 users on thefacebook.com. Today, Facebook has over 500,000,000 users. And they don’t all go to Harvard.
Of note for entrepreneurs is the fact that Zuck saw a problem (no universal face book within Harvard) and built his MVP within a week. He got users. He learned. He iterated. Had he waited to launch until he had something more polished, Director of Residential Computing Kevin S. Davis may have created an internal walled-off face book for Harvard students.
And if that had happened, hundreds of millions of people might not have been able to play Farmville today.
Lesson learned: Stop talking about it and just build it.