Zuckerberg says secret of his current success is making lots of mistakes

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Published: December 13, 2014 12:15:55 AM

Now we know why Facebook is so unafraid to make mistakes, whether it is the company’s privacy...

Now we know why Facebook is so unafraid to make mistakes, whether it is the company’s privacy stumbles or new products that fail, like Facebook Home and Slingshot.

Mark Zuckerberg, the social network’s co-founder and chief executive, thinks mistakes are good.

Addressing questions from Facebook users Thursday at his second town hall meeting with the public, held at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and live-streamed on the web, Mr. Zuckerberg said that successful people not only learn from their mistakes but spend most of their time making mistakes.

“If you’re successful, most of the things you’ve done were wrong,” he said. “What ends up mattering is the stuff you get right.” If you get a few big things right, he said, “you can make some pretty important changes in the world.”

As with his first town hall, Mr. Zuckerberg covered a range of topics, like the company’s privacy policies and its new tool that allows people to search past Facebook posts.

Asked if the social network would ever add a dislike button, he said the company was thinking about it. Mr. Zuckerberg said that while there isn’t likely to be a button that says “dislike” because of the potential for hurting people’s feelings, the company is trying to find a way for users to express a wider range of emotional reactions, such as sadness, to a post.

He joked with some of the questioners. When someone asked what his favourite pizza topping was, he said that if you’re going to eat pizza, you might as well go all the way and put fried chicken on top.

Another questioner, a woman who said she lives near Facebook’s headquarters, told him, “Thank you for upping the price of my house.”
Mr. Zuckerberg replied, “That’s the first time anyone has ever thanked me for having Facebook raise housing prices,” a reference to community concerns in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area about tech millionaires driving out longtime residents.

He discussed the importance of software programming skills. “If you can code, you have the power to sit down and make something and no one can stop you,” he said. He predicted that schools would eventually require everyone to learn a little coding because it sharpens analytical skills that are useful in a wide variety of professions.Discussing Facebook’s role in public conversations, such as racial discrimination by police, he said, “We want to give everyone a voice.”

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