Facebook drones take flight: Commit to the WHAT and not the HOW

As news emerged that Facebook has completed first test flight of its giant Internet drone, I remembered the words of Mark Zuckerberg at the last F8 conference. He told the crowd that if someone had told him 10 years ago that they would be building drones to deliver the internet, he would have told them they were out of their minds.

A quest to connect people on a website led to building a 737-sized Aquila, meant to fly on solar power at altitudes of 60,000 feet or more and deliver wireless Internet for three months at a time. Crazy! Who would have thought??

This then reminds me of a very important lesson for every innovator. We must define WHAT we are doing and clearly spell it out (i.e Facebook wants to connect everybody in the world to each other), but we must be flexible with HOW we want to do it.

Indeed, as newer technology is developed, better and more efficient ways of executing your vision will emerge and you have to adopt that.

If you are in the car business, you are doomed. However, if you are in the transportation business, you will always be relevant. People will always need to be transported, but people would not always need cars.

The goal is to move people and things from one place to another, the goal is not to use cars! (It is worth it to stop and think about this sentence)

Mark Zuckerberg recently said in an hangout that if he were to start over today, he would still work on connecting people. The only difference is that he would not start by building a website like he did in 2004. Mark Zuckerberg noted that if he were to build Facebook today, he’d probably use a mobile application or any “other future technology,” but the core concept would remain the same.

Commit to WHAT you want to do, as for the HOW, allow it to be malleable to change.


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