Randi Zuckerberg advocates greater support for women entrepreneurs
By SANDY CLARKE
In the early days of Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg (pic) was one among the first 20 employees who were brought on board by her brother and company co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
In what was a shrewd move by the famously introverted CEO, his livewire sister was able to take the media spotlight on his behalf. She would also go on to conceptualise the innovative Facebook Live platform, which has featured interviews with former US president Barack Obama and celebrity host Oprah Winfrey.
Randi, a graduate from Harvard, primarily brought her digital media expertise to the world’s most successful social network, adding to it an extra dimension that took Facebook to another level.
In her appearance on The Leaderonomics Show with host Roshan Thiran, she revealed herself to be a media-savvy digital diva who has big plans to help make the world a happier and more connected place.
The former director of market development and spokesperson of Facebook left the company in 2011 and went on to establish Zuckerberg Media. She is the company’s current CEO.
“It was such a difficult decision to leave,” says Randi.
“I had been with Facebook for almost seven years, which is a long time to spend at a company that’s growing. After seven years I decided that it was time to start a family of my own, so I had two start-ups, because I had my son and I also started my own company.”
One of Randi’s passions is to help more women into leadership roles within the tech industry – an effort she has been driving through Zuckerberg Media. This addresses the issue of women empowerment in a number of ways, including bringing more women into pop culture through the company’s TV shows.
Speaking about the difficulty for women to receive funding for start-ups she says, “Luckily, there’s been some improvement, but when you look at the total amount of venture capital that’s out there, only about 4% of it go to women.”
As someone who puts her money where her mouth is, Randi provides a lot of support for women entrepreneurs, investing both her money and time helping women to start up their own businesses and lead the way across industries.
A refreshing voice within the tech world, the innovative disruptor has a strong desire for using her media creativity to alleviate the fear factor many parents feel when it comes to evolving technology.
After all, children will grow up in a tech-rich world where they will be required to be adaptable and creative at a much quicker pace than today.
“All of this tech was created to bring us closer together but most of the time it puts a wall between us because we spend our time interacting through a screen, and we’re not really present in the conversation.”
“So, the best thing we can do is arm parents with the tools to understand the tech and have conversations with their children about appropriate uses and how technology can improve their lives without disrupting their lives,” says Randi.
She urges parents to really understand the difference between tech-time and screen time. Tech-time is when kids learn technology and are innovating and creating. Screen-time is usually when kids end up playing games and watching unproductive videos.
Great parents encourage their children to wisely invest in tech-time and support their children in technology.
Watch the video interview here:
Here are some other key takeaways from the interview with Randi:
1. Take the chance to venture out and find new business ideas through entrepreneurship, especially when you have something new to introduce.
2. In entrepreneurship, accept the fact that failure is a given. Fail for yourself and learn from those experiences than to spend your whole lifetime creating value for others.
3. Instead of being well balanced, be well lopsided instead. In fact, give yourself permission to not feel like you need to do everything under the sun, every single day. Instead, focus and prioritise what you can do each day, and do it well.
4. Never give up on your dreams. Someday, it might come back to you in the most unexpected ways.
5. Young graduates, do get some tech skills and don’t stop learning.
The eldest among the Zuckerberg siblings, Randi is passionate about the intersection of technology and our modern lives and about topics related to tech, women, mothers and parenting. Leaderonomics CEO Roshan Thiran caught up with Randi during the National Achievers Congress 2017 by Success Resources to learn more about her leadership and entrepreneurial journey.
Thinkonomics challenge with Randi Zuckerberg
Q: What are the key leadership characteristics needed to be a successful (global) entrepreneur?
A: You cannot be afraid of failure and you cannot let fear trap you.
Q: At what age would you allow your kids to make their own life decisions?
A: With tech, maybe around the age of 13 or 14, but otherwise I think I’m always going to be involved with decisions in their lives – sorry, kids!
Q: When robots become as intelligent as human beings, what will happen to the human race?
A: I for one welcome our ‘robot overlords’, because there’s a lot of things that I would love to outsource to robots, so I say bring it on!
Q: If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
A: There’s still a lot of places in the world I’d like to travel to, and I would do a lot more singing and music, because that’s my passion.
Q: If you were given US$1mil to create something new, what would it be?
A: It would definitely be something around encouraging more women and girls to go into technology.
Q: If you could choose one person and ask them a question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
A: I would choose Ruth Bader Ginsburg (associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) and I would ask what her secrets are to being an awesome boss lady.
Q: What future development do you look forward to with most anticipation?
A: I think augmented and virtual reality becoming more mainstream. That’s going to let all of us travel all over the world, have tons of careers and do amazing things.
The Leaderonomics Show is a weekly show featuring prominent global leaders hosted by Roshan Thiran. To watch other great guests, including Robert Kiyosaki, Ram Charan, Marshall Goldsmith and prominent global CEOs, go to YouTube and search for the ‘Leaderonomics Show.’
Sandy is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, and previously enjoyed 10 years as a journalist and broadcaster in the UK. He has been fortunate to gain valuable insights into what makes us tick, which has deepened his interests in leadership, emotions, mindfulness, and human behaviour.