When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in February 2004, he was, famously, a student at Harvard. He dropped out his sophomore year to build the company. So at an age when many people have not yet had their first full-time job, Zuckerberg was running a tech company that had very quickly gone from dorm-room project to the darling of Silicon Valley.
Zuckerberg, however, didn't grow as a manager quite as quickly as the business he was running scaled.
That became obvious in July 2006, when Facebook got billion a dollar buyout offer from Yahoo.
Zuckerberg said, "No, thanks." He had a dream and a vision and he wanted to see it through.
"We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this, it could change how we learn about the world," he says in the commencement speech he recently delivered at Harvard.
The problem was, as CEO, Zuckerberg had not clearly communicated Facebook's mission to his team to get them on board. It was a leadership mistake. And as a result, they were furious he had turned down the cash cow.
"Without a sense of higher purpose" the Yahoo offer was "the start-up dream come true," explains Zuckerberg.
"It tore our company apart," he remembers. "After one tense argument, an advisor told me if I didn't agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life. Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so, every single person on the management team was gone.
"That was my hardest time leading Facebook," he says.