We’ve all heard of Facebook. Regardless of how you feel about it, most people either have or have had one, and many people who claim to not care about it still have a Facebook page that they occasionally check. Though we are accustomed to the idea of Facebook now, ten years ago it was a new phenomenon that no one expected to become as popular as it did. However, though the product was revolutionary, the CEO of the company, Mark Zuckerberg, really exhibits signs of unique creative thought.
Zuckerberg displayed signs of creative thought from a young age. When he was only twelve years old he created a messaging program that his dad used in his dental office, and that his family used within the house. He also used to create games on the computer based on things that his friends would draw. He attended a private preparatory school and after graduating he went on to Harvard. It was while he was at Harvard that he came up with the idea for Facebook, and he launched the website during his sophomore year. It started as only being available to students at Harvard, then to Ivy League students, and then it continued to expand into the international organization that it is today.
Something unique about Zuckerberg is that when creating the company of Facebook, he was sure to make himself the primary shareholder with 57% of the stock. This caused many problems when the company Facebook finally went public, and shareholders were upset at dropping stock prices. However, Zuckerberg insisted that he has never been interested in short-term profits. His only interest was in the long term good of the Facebook site. He wanted to continue to connect people all over the world, regardless of if that meant making money or not. He set up the company with himself as the primary shareholder so that any major decisions would always be up to him, and so that he would not have to listen to the requests of those shareholders who were only interested in turning a profit.
Zuckerberg is a prime example of the sort of creative thinking that Weisberg was describing in his article ”Creative Problem Solving”. Zuckerberg saw the lack of available communication between people as a problem, so he came up with something that he thought was a valid solution. Though his idea started on the smaller scale of simply connecting students at his college to one another, when the site began to expand he noticed that if it continued to rapidly expand he may have issues with shareholders in the future. In much the same way, he came up with a creative solution to this problem as well by having the foresight to organize the company in a way that would give him the power that he wanted no matter what happened to the company in the future.
Today, it is often said that Facebook is on the decline. There are now so many different ways for people to interact with one another, that Facebook is no longer the novelty that it once was. However, with Zuckerberg as the CEO, it seems likely that he may come up with another creative solution to keep improving the site, and accomplishing his goal of connecting people across the world.
Weisberg: Weisberg, R.W. (1993). Chapter 4: Creative problem solving. Creativity: Beyond
the myth of genius. New York: Freeman.