A round of applause began even before the 26-year-old social network patriarch could be seen clearly among his courtside entrance at BYU.
The Facebook founder was all smiles as he entered the large Marriott Center filled with an audience of 10,600 people.
He began by introducing three BYU alumni who currently work for Facebook and accompanied him on his trip to Provo.
“It’s an honor to be here with all of you guys today. I have to say, I am a little bit nervous. I have never had to speak to a stadium full of people before,” Zuckerberg said.
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch invited Zuckerberg for the special technology forum at the university and Zuckerberg confirmed that it was the first of its kind. The two sat center stage in blue cushioned chairs, while engaging in the question and answer session.
If Zuckerberg and Jimmer have anything in common it seems as if they both can be bold but unassuming.
“I’d like to ask you a question if I can,” Zuckerberg said to Hatch at one point in the discussion.
“What do you think Congress and our government should be doing to make it so that budding entrepreneurs can do what they do?” Zuckerberg asked.
Hatch responded quickly by saying, “the government can help by staying out of the way of what you are doing.”
The success of Facebook (nearing 600 million members and projected at 1 billion in the near future) has come with a staggering number of employees Zuckerberg said. The company has kept things incredibly small, only employing about 2,000 people.
“You make sure that every person you add to your company is really great,” Zuckerberg said.
When asked which courses the Facebook founder would recommend to technology students, Zuckerberg stumbled mentioning he wasn’t in college very long.
In seriousness, he noted that he was a double major in psychology and computer science and that the idea of Facebook is bigger than technology.
“All of these problems at the end of the day are human problems. What people are really interested in is what’s going on with the people they care about. It’s all about giving people the tools and controls that they need to be comfortable sharing the information that they want. If you do that, you create a very valuable service. It’s as much psychology and sociology as it is technology,” Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg’s advice for budding entrepreneurs is to love and believe in what you’re doing.
“I think that’s the most important thing. If you start to build something … it’s hard and you encounter a lot of challenges. If you don’t completely love and believe in what you’re doing, it actually becomes the rational thing to stop doing it. Most people have something that they’re super passionate about, and I’d encourage you guys to find that thing.”
Photo courtesy of BYU Photo