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扎克伯格的CEO成长之路

更新时间:2014-1-7 22:02:25 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

How Mark Zuckerberg Came of Age as a Corporate Executive
扎克伯格的CEO成长之路

Mark Zuckerberg needed help. Facebook Inc.'s initial public offering in May 2012 had been a mess. And after turning a website born in his college dorm room into a company valued at $100 billion, the young chief executive was under pressure to prove he could sell lots of ads on smartphones.

马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)需要帮助。Facebook公司(Facebook Inc.)在2012年5月的首次公开募股(IPO)可谓一团糟。而在他把一个诞生自大学宿舍屋中的网站发展为市值1,000亿美元的公司之后,这位年轻的首席执行长迫切需要向他人证明,自己能够在智能手机上大量地卖出广告。

So he went for a long walk a few weeks later through the center of Facebook's corporate campus here with Andrew 'Boz' Bosworth, a top engineer at Facebook and friend who once was Mr. Zuckerberg's teaching assistant at Harvard University.

于是几周后,扎克伯格与博斯沃思(Andrew Bosworth)一起在Facebook公司园区内进行了一次漫长的踱步。博斯沃思是Facebook的顶级工程师,同时也是扎克伯格的朋友,他还曾在哈佛大学(Harvard University)担任过带扎克伯格的助教。

'Wouldn't it be fun to build a billion-dollar business in six months?' Mr. Zuckerberg asked. He wanted Mr. Bosworth to help lead the company's shaky mobile-ad business, then bringing in almost nothing. Another part of the job: figure out all the ways Facebook could make money.

扎克伯格问道:用六个月的时间打造一项数十亿美元的业务,这听上去不是很有意思吗?他想让博斯沃思接管公司当时摇摇欲坠、几乎毫无创收的移动广告业务。而这项工作的另一个职责,是为Facebook挖掘一切可以盈利的方式。

Ads didn't sound like fun to Mr. Bosworth, but his boss persisted. Soon, the engineer was filling in the blanks of a spreadsheet that grew to about 80 pages long. The entries became the manifesto of an in-house project that Mr. Zuckerberg called 'Prioritization.'

博斯沃思并不觉得广告有什么意思,但他的老版坚持让他接手这项任务。很快,这位工程师拉出了一份长达80页的单子,上面的条目昭示着一项被扎克伯格称作“优先任务”的公司内部企划已经展开。

Interviews for this article with the CEO, Facebook directors and executives, and dozens of other engineers, friends and former employees laid out how Mr. Zuckerberg's growing attention to the bottom line was part of a sea change by the often-stubborn, idealistic 29-year-old chief executive once called 'toddler CEO' in Silicon Valley. Taking Facebook public and reshaping it around mobile phones forced him to grow up.

本文对Facebook首席执行长、主管、高管、数十位工程师以及扎克伯格的朋友和前雇员进行了采访。这些访谈内容汇聚在一起,呈现出这位29岁、顽固且理想主义的硅谷毛头CEO,是如何在巨大的转变中增强了对公司利润的重视。Facebook上市和围绕手机的业务改革迫使他成长。

'It's a story of a vertical learning curve,' says venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, a Facebook director and longtime adviser to Mr. Zuckerberg.

风险投资家、Facebook主管兼扎克伯格长期顾问的安德森(Marc Andreessen)说,这是一个讲述学习曲线如何垂直上升的故事。

Mr. Zuckerberg still wears jeans and a T-shirt to work, drives a black, stick-shift Volkswagen GTI and keeps the temperature in his glass meeting room, known as the 'aquarium,' near 68 degrees to keep everyone alert. As a holiday gift, friends of Mr. Zuckerberg got socks decorated with the image of Beast, his white, woolly Hungarian shepherd.

如今的扎克伯格还是穿着牛仔裤和T恤衫上班,驾驶一辆黑色手动挡大众(Volkswagen)GTI,并把他那间被称作“水族箱”的玻璃会议室的温度控制在约20摄氏度,好让所有人都保持清醒。作为节日礼物,扎克伯格会送给他朋友们一双袜子,上面装饰有一只毛茸茸的白色匈牙利牧羊犬,那是他的宠物狗Beast。

Yet Mr. Zuckerberg has learned to embrace--or at least accept--the reality that he now is in charge of what might be bluntly described as the most visible advertising business in the world. It is a big leap for the college dropout who wrote in a letter to potential investors just before the initial public offering: 'Facebook was not originally created to be a company.'

然而此时的扎克伯格已欣然接受(或至少已接受)了一个事实,那就是他现在掌管着(可以坦白地说是)全世界最受注目的广告业务。考虑到这位大学辍学生在公司IPO前,曾致信潜在投资人说最初并不想把Facebook创办为一家公司,扎克伯格的这一改变可谓是个巨大的飞跃。

He embraced the idea in 2012 of selling more ads in Facebook's prized 'news feed,' the center of the screen where the social-networking site's 1.2 billion members spend most of their time. The news feed is a constantly updated list of stories from people and pages followed by a Facebook user.

2012年,扎克伯格欣然决定在Facebook珍贵的“动态消息”栏目中出售更多广告空间,这一位于屏幕中心的栏目是该社交网站的12亿用户最常用的板块。动态消息是一个即时更新的消息列表,能为用户呈现好友和所关注专页的最新讯息。

The intensified focus on advertising, long shunned as less important than the photos and status updates posted by users, generated a surge in new revenue from corporate giants such as McDonald's Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Analysts expect Facebook to announce later this month that its revenue jumped more than 40% in 2013 compared with a year earlier. About $3 billion of the company's revenue--or more than one-third of the overall total--likely came from mobile advertising.

长期以来Facebook重视其照片和消息更新功能,而将广告业务放在次要地位。而对广告业务关注度的提升,使来自麦当劳(McDonald's Corp.)和沃尔玛连锁公司(Wal-Mart Stores Inc.)等巨头企业的新增收入大幅增加。分析人士预计,Facebook本月晚些时候公布的2013年收入将较上年激增40%。移动广告业务料将为公司带来约30亿美元的收入,在总收入中的占比将超过三分之一。

Facebook shares jumped 105% last year, compared with the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite's rise of 38%. On August 2, the stock climbed back above its IPO price of $38, erasing a $50 billion slide in stock-market value. Facebook closed Friday at $54.56 a share.

去年,Facebook股价飙升了105%,而以科技为主的纳斯达克综合指数(Nasdaq Composite)的涨幅为38%。去年8月2日,Facebook股价一度突破38美元的IPO发行价,一举收复500亿美元的市值。Facebook上周五收盘报每股54.56美元。

Still four months away from his thirtieth birthday, Mr. Zuckerberg is worth about $20 billion. Last month, he pocketed about $1 billion in his first stock sale since Facebook went public, and separately he donated about $1 billion in stock to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

还有4个月就要迎来30岁生日的扎克伯格目前的身家已达约200亿美元。上个月,他自Facebook上市以来首次抛售公司股票,从中套现约10亿美元;另外他又向硅谷社区基金会(Silicon Valley Community Foundation)捐赠了价值10亿美元的Facebook股票。

Mr. Zuckerberg bristles at the view of some people close to him that he has changed as a CEO. His primary mission still is to connect the world digitally with Facebook. 'It drives me crazy when people write stuff and assert that we're doing something because the goal is to make a lot of money,' he says.

对于身边人认为他作为CEO已发生转变的看法,扎克伯格嗤之以鼻。他的首要任务仍是用Facebook的数字平台把世界联系起来。他说,每当有人写文章说我们出于赚大钱的目的而做某件事,我都觉得很生气。

Even in his most self-reflective moments, what Mr. Zuckerberg sees is a series of logical moves and adaptations that are part of what he calls a 'continuous trajectory.' In an interview, he paused abruptly after saying the words 'business review.'

即便是在他最自我反思的时刻,扎克伯格还是认为Facebook所进行的是一系列符合逻辑的行动和调整,这是被他称作公司的“连续轨迹”的一部分。在一次访问中,他在说出“业务回顾”这个词后突然停顿了一下。

'Uh, I've never used that term before,' he said with a smile.

他笑着说:我以前从未用过这个词。

Despite all the improvements, Mr. Zuckerberg must show that Facebook can out-innovate a steady stream of upstarts. Investors were rattled in October when Facebook reported a decline in use among young teenagers, some of whom are migrating to newer mobile-phone apps such as Snapchat. Snapchat messages automatically disappear in 10 seconds or less.

尽管有了长足的改善,扎克伯格仍须让外界看到,Facebook在创新方面可以拼得过那些络绎不绝的新手。Facebook去年10月称,青少年用户有所减少,因为一些青少年开始使用Snapchat等较新的手机应用程序。这让投资者感到不安。通过Snapchat发出的消息会在10秒后或更短时间里自动消失。

Last fall, Mr. Zuckerberg approached Snapchat with a takeover offer for more than $3 billion. Snapchat's 23-year-old chief executive said no. Facebook previously tried to create a similar app called Poke, with Mr. Zuckerberg even contributing some computer code, but the project flopped.

去年秋季,扎克伯格找到Snapchat,提出愿以30多亿美元将其收购,但被后者23岁的首席执行长否决。Facebook此前也曾试图打造一个名为“戳戳乐”(Poke)的类似应用程序,扎克伯格甚至还贡献了一些计算机代码,但这个项目后来以失败告终。

A secret project called Firefly included a 'social' phone that was to be created with HTC Ltd. of Taiwan--but was killed by Mr. Zuckerberg in mid-2012 because of glitches, according to people who worked on the project. An app for Google Inc.'s Android operating-system mobile phones, known as Home, has failed to gain momentum since last spring's debut, despite a big publicity push by Facebook. And a smartphone released by HTC and based largely on Firefly's design has been a dud.

此外,还有一个被称为“萤火虫”(Firefly)的秘密项目。据参与该项目的人表示,项目里有一款原定由台湾宏达国际(HTC Ltd.)生产的“社交”手机。但由于技术故障,这个项目在2012年年中被扎克伯格毙掉。为谷歌公司(Google Inc.)手机操作系统安卓(Android)设计的一个应用程序“Home”尽管受到Facebook的大力宣传,但自从去年春天推出以来便悄无声息。宏达国际发布的一款主要基于“萤火虫”设计的智能手机也成了哑弹一枚。

Just a few years ago, Mr. Zuckerberg paid little attention to many of the numbers that are obsessions to shareholders. In 2010, he said there was 'no point right now in having a massive profit.' He boasted that the ad business 'factors in, like, not at all' to decisions about Facebook's operating platform and user services. His No. 1 goal: increase the company's total membership to one billion users.

就在几年前,扎克伯格还对股东痴迷的很多数据不放心上。他曾在2010年说,斩获丰厚利润在眼下完全没有意义。他夸口说,Facebook在制定有关操作平台和用户服务方面的决定时,完全不考虑广告业务。他的首要目标是,将Facebook的用户数量增至10亿。

'If you brought up revenue in an argument with Zuck, you would lose automatically,' says one former senior employee. He recalls being chided for mentioning revenue while discussing a new product. Mr. Zuckerberg says such comments are a reminder that Facebook was designed to care more about its mission than money.

Facebook的一位前高级雇员说,如果你拿收入问题和扎克伯格争论,你铁定是要输的。他回忆说,有一次讨论新产品时,他因提到收入问题而挨批。扎克伯格说,这样的意见是对自己的一种提醒,即Facebook的创建初衷是要更加关注自身使命,而不是利润。

At the time, most Facebook users looked at the site on a desktop computer. Ads usually were banished to the right-side gutter of the screen, the Facebook equivalent of Siberia.

那时,大多数Facebook用户是在台式电脑上登陆该网站。广告通常会被置于屏幕右侧,那里相当于Facebook的西伯利亚。

By the end of 2011, though, the surging popularity of smartphones was causing Facebook users to spend less time on computers. 'The IPO process surfaced how fast the mobile shift was happening,' says Facebook director Peter Thiel, a founder of PayPal and one of Facebook's earliest investors. Executives worried that Facebook was falling behind at an alarming rate.

但到2011年底,智能手机大行其道,Facebook的用户在电脑上花的时间少了。Facebook董事、首批投资人之一、贝宝(PayPal)创始人蒂勒(Peter Thiel)说,IPO程序凸显出用户向移动设备的转变有多迅速。当时Facebook的高管担心,该公司会以惊人的速度被甩到后面去。

Internal data showed that many users were so frustrated by Facebook's mobile software that they would quit the app and use their tedious mobile Web browsers to reach the social-networking site instead.

内部数据显示,很多用户对Facebook的移动软件深感失望,他们简直想放弃这个软件,改用无聊的网页浏览器来上Facebook。

The smartphone shift also was a problem for Facebook's ad business. There was no easy way for the company to relegate ads to the side of small screens, and Facebook had no mobile ads to sell anyway. Meanwhile, efforts to sell older types of ads on desktop computers were starting to lose their punch as more users embraced mobile devices.

人们改用智能手机对Facebook的广告业务来说也是个问题。并没有简单易行的方法让Facebook把广告放到小屏幕的一侧,再说Facebook也没有可以出售的移动广告。在台式电脑上出售老款广告也开始行不通,因为已有更多用户接受移动设备。

'We pulled the lever, but this time, it didn't work,' recalls one senior employee about 2012's first quarter.

Facebook一位前高级雇员回忆2012年第一季度时说,我们拉了操纵杆,但这次没起作用。

Just before Facebook went public in May 2012, Mr. Zuckerberg walked into the 'aquarium' and did something that surprised everyone.

就在2012年5月Facebook上市前,扎克伯格走进“水族箱”,做了一件让所有人感到意外的事。

A group of Facebook engineers presented the latest mock-ups of ads for Facebook's iPad app. The ads were marooned on a separate screen--and to the right of the news feed.

Facebook的一群工程师向大家展示了最新版的iPad应用程序广告模型。这些广告被安置在另外一个屏幕上,动态消息的右边。

The CEO quietly studied them. 'Why don't we just explore ads in news feed?' he said, according to people at the meeting. Mr. Zuckerberg indicated that he would be open to the possibility of more types of ads there, including ones not tied to 'likes.'

扎克伯格静静地看了一会儿。据与会人士表示,他说,我们为什么不在动态消息里探索广告机会呢?他暗示,自己对在那里开发更多广告类型持开放态度,包括那些没有绑定“赞”的广告。

'Oh, my gosh, he's actually open to it,' one executive present at the meeting remembers thinking. No one in the room asked Mr. Zuckerberg why. They were too worried he would change his mind.

一位出席了那次会议的高管当时想:天啊,他真的想通了。会议室里没人问扎克伯格为什么,他们都很担心他会改变主意。

'It's not like I just decided to get more involved in ads,' he says now. 'I needed to because basically the ad product had to be more integrated.' He adds: 'And that created all these hard decisions that we needed to do well.'

扎克伯格说,不是说我突然就决定了要投放更多广告,而是真有必要,广告产品必须进一步整合。他还说,由此派生了所有这些艰难的决定,我们应该做好。

Mr. Zuckerberg's willingness to upend even what some people close to him describe as sacrosanct beliefs took on more urgency after Facebook's bungled IPO, which subtracted more than 25% from the share price in its first 10 days of trading.

扎克伯格愿意颠覆被一些身边人称为神 信仰的东西。在Facebook上市失败后,他的这种意愿变得更为紧迫。Facebook上市仅10天,股价便缩水超过25%。

In public, he tried to play down the importance of the stock price. Mr. Thiel now says the CEO was more worried than he let on, citing the risk that Facebook employees who owned stock might get discouraged and quit. 'I care about this because I want to retain my people,' Mr. Zuckerberg told senior executives in a private meeting.

在公开场合下,扎克伯格试图淡化Facebook股价的重要性。蒂勒说,扎克伯格并不像表面看上去那样轻松,他心里其实很担心,因为持有公司股票的Facebook雇员可能会灰心继而离职。扎克伯格曾在非公开会议上对高管说,我关心股价是因为我希望留住人。

Facebook's first earnings report, which hit analysts' targets but disappointed investors who wanted even more, sent the stock into another tailspin. The mood of some employees darkened.

Facebook的首份业绩报告达到了分析师的预期,但却让要求更高的投资者感到失望,这导致其股价再度遭到重挫。部分员工的情绪因此变得低落。

A worried Mr. Zuckerberg asked Facebook executive Mike Schroepfer, one of his most trusted lieutenants, to interview engineers about morale. They were frustrated about the plummeting stock price and worried that top management couldn't relate to their financial stress because those executives owned so many Facebook shares that they were rich despite the stock's slide.

焦虑中的扎克伯格要求公司高管、他最信任的手之一施罗普费(Mike Schroepfer)与工程师面谈,了解他们的士气。Facebook股价大跌令公司的工程师们感到沮丧,而且他们担心公司最高管理层不会关心他们的财务压力,因为这些高管持有大量Facebook股票,即便股价下跌,他们仍是富有的。

Mr. Schroepfer, usually an unemotional software engineer, choked up when he presented the results to a room full of engineers. 'I know you are fathers, parents. I am, too, and I know that you have to think about putting your kids through school,' he said, according to someone at the meeting.

平素不轻易流露感情的施罗普费在向满满一屋子的工程师陈述公司业绩时也哽咽了。据在场人士透露,施罗普费说,我知道你们是父亲、是家长,我也是,我知道你们不得不考虑让你们的孩子完成学业的问题。

Mr. Bosworth, the Facebook engineer who agreed to help Mr. Zuckerberg hunt for new revenue, worked on his spreadsheet for about 11/2 months, quizzing scores of employees. Around the same time, Mr. Zuckerberg began assigning revenue targets to certain product teams. Previously, he resisted the idea because he worried managers would become too fixated on money.

同意帮助扎克伯格寻找新收入的Facebook工程师博斯沃思花费了大约五个半月的时间制作电子表格,用来考察员工的分数。与此同时,扎克伯格开始向某些产品团队下达收入目标。而在这之前,由于担忧经理们会过于关注收入,他对此持反对意见。

Over the next several months, Mr. Zuckerberg also grew to fully embrace putting 'nonsocial' ads, or those that aren't tied to a user's 'likes' or other signals, in the news feed. The shift came after Chris Cox, Facebook's vice president of product, showed the CEO internal data that suggested his previous resistance to nonsocial ads was hurting Facebook's business.

接下来的几个月,扎克伯格也逐渐接受在动态信息中置放“非社交”广告(即那些与用户喜好不相关的广告)。此前,Facebook产品副总裁考克斯(Chris Cox)给扎克伯格看了一些内部数据,这些数据表明他此前反对非社交广告的做法正在伤害Facebook的业务。

Tests by the company showed that adding nonsocial ads improved the overall quality of Facebook's advertising for users. 'At the time, it kind of struck me as a crazy idea,' Mr. Zuckerberg says, since those ads veered away from Facebook's traditional word-of-mouth-based pitches.

公司的测试表明增加非社交广告改善了Facebook给用户提供的广告的整体质量。扎克伯格说,那个时候,我觉得这是个疯狂的想法,因为这些广告与Facebook传统的口碑宣传相背离。

The CEO even compromised on a subject where he had rarely budged before: user experience.

扎克伯格甚至在另一个之前极少让步的方面作出了妥协:用户体验。

Mr. Zuckerberg told Mr. Cox that some decline in usage would be an acceptable trade-off for higher ad sales, as long as Facebook made improvements elsewhere that more than offset the decline. The first test showed that more ads reduced user activity by 2%, below a target of a low single-digit percentage, while overall 'engagement' rose by a much bigger percentage. Engagement is a broad gauge of user activity.

扎克伯格告诉考克斯,以一些使用量下滑为代价来换取更高的广告销售额是可以接受的,只要Facebook在其他方面做出的改善能够抵消使用量下滑的影响。第一个测试显示,更多广告令用户活跃度下降了2%,但同时总体“参与度”(engagement)有了更大幅度的上升。参与度是衡量用户活跃度的一项宽泛指标。

Facebook's sales gain of 53% to $1.81 billion in the second quarter was the company's largest jump ever. In July, a beaming Mr. Zuckerberg addressed most of the company's more than 5,000 employees. 'We did a good job,' he said. 'We're figuring this out.' A few days later, Facebook shares drifted above their IPO price.

第二财季Facebook销售额增长53%,至18.1亿美元,是该公司最大的一次飞越。去年7月,扎克伯格笑容满面地向公司逾5,000名员工致辞。他说,我们做得不错,我们正在解决问题。几天之后,Facebook股价重返IPO价格上方。

Mr. Zuckerberg now meets often with Facebook's biggest advertising clients, often spending hours with them. He has told customers to message him with ideas, which he will consider incorporating into product decisions.

扎克伯格现在经常与公司最大的广告客户见面,而且常常一聊就是几个小时。他告诉客户把想法发给他,他会考虑把这些想法揉入到产品决策中。

At a visit last summer to the headquarters of Facebook ad client McDonald's in Oak Brook, Ill., he learned how to cook an egg-white breakfast sandwich and asked the head of french fry taste tests why one batch he tasted looked a few shades lighter than fries served in McDonald's restaurants.

去年夏天,扎克伯格访问了公司广告客户麦当劳(McDonald's)在伊利诺伊州橡溪镇的总部。他学习了如何烹饪蛋清三明治早餐,并询问薯条口味测试部门负责人为何他品尝的那批薯条的颜色看上去比麦当劳门店供应的颜色浅。

Her answer: French fries sold at McDonald's are cooked in oil that has been through multiple fry cycles. Mr. Zuckerberg said: 'You have the greatest job ever.' His own Facebook page has long been peppered with McDonald's and Chicken McNuggets references.

这位负责人的回答是:麦当劳门店出售的薯条用的是反复炸过多次的油。扎克伯格说,你做的是最伟大的工作。长期以来,扎克伯格自己的Facebook主页都被麦当劳和麦乐鸡推荐链接所占据。

This year, Mr. Zuckerberg will have to wrestle with how to avoid turning off some Facebook users with too many ads, as some critics have warned. Some investors are antsy for Facebook to wow users with something new.

今年,正如一些批评人士所警告的那样,扎克伯格将设法解决怎么避免过多广告导致部分用户流失的问题。一些投资者对Facebook尝试用新的东西来赢得用户赞赏而感到不安。

Mr. Zuckerberg says he is aware of the risks, but notes that user activity still is rising. The company does more than 35,000 surveys a day to monitor user sentiment, and the 'driving force behind everything is that we're trying to build the best experience for mobile,' he says.

扎克伯格说,他知道这样做有风险,但他指出用户活跃度仍在上升。该公司每天进行逾35,000次调查来追踪用户人气。他说,我们正在努力为手机用户提供最好的体验,这是所有事情背后的驱动力。

Some of the changes at Facebook remind him of walkways at his old high school, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. As a student, he was befuddled by a meandering path to the campus cafe. The route seemed strange, so Mr. Zuckerberg did some research.

Facebook的一些变化让他想起了他中学(新罕布什尔州的菲利普斯埃克塞特中学)的步道。当时他还是个学生,通往校园咖啡馆的蜿蜒的道路让他感到迷糊。这条路线看上去很奇怪,所以扎克伯格做了一些调查。

The answer? 'Instead of choosing the path up front, they kind of waited and saw where people walked and put a path where people walked,' he says.

答案如何?他说,人们在等待,看其他人从哪儿走,走其他人走过的路,而不是选择眼前的道路。

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