Steve Jobs held Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in high esteem, in part because he admired Zuckerberg’s vision and determination to make Facebook the best company it could be, and more importantly, because Faceboko wasn’t looking to sell out for a large payday. This, of course, stands in contrast to some startups whose ultimate goal is seemingly to get big enough to warrant a lucrative buy-out from a larger corporation – a type of business plan Jobs didn’t entirely care for.
So while Apple and Facebook may have mildly butted head in the past, Jobs liked the fact that Zuckerberg was intent on building a long-lasting a company, a much more challenging feat that simply guiding a company to a point where it’s sufficiently deserving of an acquisition.
Recently, Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson appeared on stage with Washington Post CEO and Facebook board member Don Graham.
When the topic turned to Jobs and Zuckerberg, Graham recounted:
Jobs meant an enormous amount to the education of Mark. Mark will talk about that until the cows come home.
What’s more, Graham recalled that he once asked Jobs who he admired most in Silicon Valley and that Zuckerberg was the first person Jobs mentioned.
Jobs admired Zuckerberg for his “intuitive feel” for what Facebook needed next, for his passion and willingness to “do stuff that allows him to be on shifting sands—his willing to cannibalize old things. He felt an odd kinship to Mark.”
Jobs, it seems, also admired Facebook for its complete dominance in the social media space. Indeed, Jobs once scoffed at the idea that there was any competition in the space, pointing out that it’s effectively owned by Facebook.
Apple, of course, hasn’t really jumped on the “social” bandwagon, and its effort with Ping was underwhelming to say the least. Interestingly, Isaacson asked Jobs why the company didn’t give social another go.
Maybe because Mark did it so well. There’s not a need for a whole lot of social networks and Facebook has got it licked.
And as you might expect, the level of admiration between the two CEOs was mutual.
Following the passing of Jobs, Zuckerberg said in a statement:
Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.
One month later, Zuckerberg appeared in an interview with Charlie Rose where he explained in more detail the connection he felt with Jobs.
Mark Zuckerberg: Oh, I don’t know. I mean, he — he’s amazing. He was amazing. I mean, he — I had a lot of questions for him on –
Charlie Rose: Like what?
Mark Zuckerberg: How to build a team around you, right, that’s focused on building as high quality and good things as you are. How to keep an organization focused, right, when I think the tendency for larger companies is to try to fray and go into all these different areas. Yeah, I mean a lot just on the aesthetics and kind of mission orientation of companies. I mean, Apple is a company that is so focused on just building products that — for their customers and their users. And — and that’s like — it’s such a deep part of their mission is build these beautiful products for their users. And I think we connected a lot on this level of, okay, Facebook has this mission that’s really more than just trying to build a company, right, that has a market cap or a value. It’s like we’re trying to do this thing in the world. And I don’t know, a lot of it I just think we connected on that level.
Lastly, Zuckerberg, like Jobs before him, has a $1 salary as CEO.