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Sunday
Jun292014

What Zuckerberg Can Learn from Spielberg 

Build credibility, fulfill potential, find your purpose

When Steven Spielberg did Jaws it showed he could make a blockbuster and earn studios a lot of money.  Then when he did E.T. it showed he could do it again and mesmerize audiences as much as he could excite them.  Then when he did Jurassic Park it showed he could push special effects beyond the imaginable and start the world down a path where every year moviemakers try to quench the insatiable thirst of viewers for directly experencing excitement.

All of those set him up to do the movie that he was meant to do. In Schindler's List he not only proved he could connect with moviegoers, he proved he could reach them in their souls.

In this interpretation of Spielberg's career I find lessons for all of us that I'll divide into three chapters.

Chapter 1 - Building Credibility - what you can do

This is about discovering what you can do, that is of value to others, and then doing it.  When you do it and continue to do it, you build credibility, trust and confidence from others that will enable you to enter your next chapter.

Chapter 2 - Fulfilling Potential - what you could do

After you have proven yourself repeatedly (as opposed to being a "one trick pony") in Chapter 1, the world will begin to be curious about what you have up your sleeve next and even subsidize your poetic license.  This is where you take all the lessons you've learned from prior successes and failures and prior creative efforts to create a masterpiece.  To a certain extent, Spielberg did that with Jurassic Park where we could literally experience living among the dinosaurs in ways that prior movies never quite achieved.  It even spawned interest in "cloning dinosaurs" from DNA discovered in their fossils.

Chapter 3 - Finding Purpose - what you're meant to do

Despite all Spielberg's blockbuster successes, it took Schindler's List, for the world to take him seriously and I'm guessing for him to discover what he was meant to do beyond pure entertainment.

In Schindler's List he not only created a masterpiece, but he offered a dose of insurance that the world might "Never forget" and aspire to a world where "never again" would there be holocausts (Sadly we know how untrue that is when we continue to hear about the genocides continuing to occur in the world).

The above is mostly what's known to Spielberg's moviegoer public.  From the non-movie side, I'm guessing that his sponsorship and leadership of www.starbrightworld.org since 1992 (see www.vimeo.com/32390784 ) and his parallel investment of leadership and capital in the Shoah Interviews and Shoah Foundation is even more closely aligned to what he was meant to do.

Segue to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

Chapter 1 - Building Credibility

After all the hoopla culminating in Facebook going public and then recovering from its embarrassing IPO, Zuckerberg/Facebook is beginning to gain credibility that he/it just might be able to connect the world in a way that is worth investing in as it is turning into a "buy" from its previous "sell" and "hold" status.

Chapter 2 - Fulfilling Potential

It doesn't yet engender the confidence that the world seems to have in Google (possibly because "search and advertising" is more graspable and ROIable than "connecting" people) regarding innovation that people care about, but it is getting better at finding a myriad of way of connecting people to each other that seems to offer great potential.

Chapter 3 - Finding Purpose

I don't imagine Mr. Zuckerberg will be caring about or exploring what he and Facebook are meant to do for at least a couple decades.  But since I may not be around then, I would like to throw out one possibility. What if Facebook not only connected people to each other but qualitatively changed how people related to each other when they connect? 

To connect people without improving or having any concern for the way they relate to each other is tantamount to turbocharging a toddler's tricycle.

What would be the effect if every instance of people communicating AT, OVER or even TO each other was replaced instead by people communicating WITH each other?

Let me give you a taste of the power of that from your own lives.

I'd like you to remember a conversation you had with a person who deeply cared about you and your well-being where they either: talked you through a very dark time, encouraged you to do something you didn't think you could do and/or talked you out of doing something that was foolish and you would have deeply regretted.

In that conversation did it feel like they were talking AT, OVER, TO or WITH you? When I have asked this of audiences where I have done presentations about transforming their companies, communities and lives, nearly all of the participants respond that they were talked WITH.

Furthermore, when I have asked them how important such conversations were, the responses ranged from: "huge" to "life changing" to "life saving."

And finally when I have asked them what would be the effect if they "paid it forward" what that special person did (which I have referred to as the NEW Golden Rule, "do onto others what people who cared about you did onto you), they replied: "Astonishing."

All this brings me to my life and what Heartfelt Leadership is meant to do...

Heal the world - one conversation at a time.

Won't you join us? And Mr. Zuckerberg, won't you join us too?

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