Post-Instagram, a great post by Sarah Lacy at her brilliant Pando Daily on how Mark Zuckerberg sells smaller companies on the idea of being bought by Facebook. It’s not just the money. It’s the chance to be part of something bigger. Other entrepreneurs and programmers WANT Zuckerberg’s blessing. He is the classic Ace salesman, who is able to sell because he’s at the very top of his game. Everyone wants to buy from the best.
“Mark Zuckerberg personally goes to visit with the entrepreneurs and actively sells Facebook — something very few CEOs at his level do…The smaller the company, the more he makes time for it, we hear, because it’s that much more effective…Facebook considers itself an engineer paradise, because it has relatively few engineers compared to other Web giants. Facebook has hundreds; Google has thousands. Or as it’s usually expressed: The ratio of page views per engineer. The message is that one guy can do a lot at Facebook. They aren’t (as much of) a cog in a machine, and that plays to the exact fears of a small team about to be absorbed. In other words: Their code reaches people. It matters.
But what is so staggering about this relatively unique playbook is how obvious it is. Of course, you’d want to sell to a CEO and not a biz/dev guy. And of course you’d rather your code mattered. Those are the things that drive people to work at startups to begin with. To the right hires, those two things would be more important than money. But somewhere along the way to becoming a big company, many entrepreneurs forget that. Zuckerberg apparently hasn’t.”