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Among other interesting passages in the interview, Mark explains why they don’t believe at Facebook that experience is that important when hiring:
SamAltman: Another thing that I think Facebook has done exceptionally well is hiring, and I always tell founders that this is the thing you have to get good at. So how have you hired your team and what do you look for when you bring people on?
MarkZuckerberg: If you think about it, I started the company when I was 19, so I can’t institutionally believe that experience is that important, right, or else I would have a hard time reckoning selling myself and the company. So we invest in people who we think are just really talented, even if they haven’t done that thing before. And that applies to people who are fresh out of university as well as people like the CFO, who took the company public, had not taken a company public before, and a lot of his background was in production development at Genentech before. So just focusing on really talented people.
SamAltman: So if you don’t have the experience to look for, how do you assess someone’s raw talent?
MarkZuckerberg: Well, often you can tell from different things that they’ve done. So it’s not that… Obviously, everyone’s done something. Even if you’re 19, you’ve done side projects and interesting stuff, and I think what’s important is not to believe that someone has to have specifically done the job that they’re going to do in order to be able to do it well. One of the things that I think we’ve done well is just giving the people at the company a lot of opportunity, so it’s not just me who started when I was 19 and now I’m running this big company. There were a number of people who joined who were people I did problem sets with at Harvard or dropped out of Stanford or different programs who’ve grown with the company over this long period of time. And one of the things that I’m most proud of is we have about 12 different product groups at the company, and all of the people who are running them, with the exception of one, did not join the company running a product group or reporting to me.