Influential Leaders: The Opt-Out Dropout

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Ironically, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t do much on Facebook, the social networking site he cofounded in 2004 (and which we named a Rising Star last year). In fact, www.facebook.com/markzuckerberg only had four 2010 Wall Posts at press time: references to a few Facebook engineers, the site’s sixth anniversary, a developers’ event, and—oh, yeah, an Op-Ed piece Zuckerberg just happened to dash off for The Washington Post. (Doesn’t hurt that the Post’s chairman is on Facebook’s board.) But Zuckerberg proves you don’t need to be prolific to have influence—you just have to bring 500 million users onto a platform and then piss them off slightly less than what it would take to drive them away. “When half a billion people can’t seem to live without your application, it’s safe to say you’re pretty influential in shaping the attitudes and demands of the social customer,” says Brent Leary, cofounder of CRM Essentials.  “People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them,” Zuckerberg wrote in the Post—and that’s the essential basis of social media and social CRM. “Mark created a social imprint—essentially overnight—that will last for decades to come,” says Ray Wang, a partner at Altimeter Group. “[Facebook’s] approach to interface, interaction, and relationship permeates every product in CRM today.” Is it any wonder that Zuckerberg’s fellow Influential Leader Marc Benioff labeled Salesforce.com’s Chatter collaboration product “Facebook for the enterprise”? 

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