What We Can Learn from Facebook’s 5 Core Values

When Facebook filed its regulatory papers for IPO (Initial Public Offering) of stock on Wednesday, it included a letter to potential investors which outlines the company’s principles and core values. As a fundamentalist, I was enthusiastic to take a deeper look at them. The core principles and values of a company are the ones that form the destiny of a certain business. With the great success of Facebook as one of the leading internet and tech companies in the industry, business owners and entrepreneurs can surely get golden lessons from realizing what the Facebook team has achieved for years. The following are the 5 core values of Facebook as outlined by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, in that letter that accompanied their filing for IPO with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Let’s take a look and learn.

Facebook’s 5 core values

1. Focus on Impact
If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.

2. Move Fast
Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they’re more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.

3. Be Bold
Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

4. Be Open
We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.

5. Build Social Value
Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.

What we can learn

On focusing on big impact
Facebook focuses on big problems to come up with the big solutions. This is indeed not practiced by most business owners since this means more hard work and sacrifice to accomplish. If we want to achieve great success, we should choose to solve the bigger problems and not only choose those which we can easily crack. We might be thinking that investing more time and money on the quality of our products and on our customers’ satisfaction is just a waste. But the truth is… we will be wasting more time and money if we will not provide the best solutions to our consumers. Hitting the right success is actually the process of helping people get their biggest success before getting yours. Hence, we should always focus on providing the biggest solutions to the world’s biggest problems. It’s simple and tough as that.

On moving fast
Facebook emphasizes the advantage of speed and acceleration. As the company focuses on business decisions that have “big impact”, its second core value is to ensure this “great impact” by being fast. In the business world, there are a lot of things to learn and we need to continuously move to explore many things on our way. Furthermore, technology is also fast changing. Thus, every business, small or big, should be optimized. We should also value timeliness to keep our companies innovative. In the business world where competition is quick and tough, if you will not come up with the most innovative product, your brand will be left behind. What a useful product today may quickly become useless in less than a year. Consider that.

On being bold
Facebook’s big success is not achieved without taking big risks. This is actually more on investing. If we want to earn more money, then we need to invest more money. If we need people paying us more attention, then we should also invest more time and attention to them. More than 800 million active users are paying their precious time to Facebook because Mark Zuckerberg and his team are also dedicating most of their time and attention to Facebook’s users. If we want success on our own business, we’ve got to do what we want people to do to us. To think for others before ourselves actually requires courage and a great sense of sacrifice.

On being open
Facebook has determined what the world needs, that is, a world with a more accessible information, communication and connection. When you go to your Facebook wall or timeline, the first thing you will read is the question “what’s on your mind”, which encourages people from sharing information to their friends and subscribers. People are naturally askers and givers of information. Facebook has provided them with the media where they can ask and share those information. Although privacy is a current issue, we are not forced to tell the world about ourselves. Remember that freedom attracts people.

On building social value
Most business owners and entrepreneurs are busy building their companies, but they failed. The people behind Facebook are busy building a valuable community, and they succeed. What’s the point? The point is if you will focus on providing value to people, these people will provide you value in return. All of Facebook’s core values are actually directed to effectively building social value. Solving big problems, timeliness, taking risk involved, transparency and focusing on the society… they are all for a single objective – to provide social value.


Every business must have core values that will define their destiny. Facebook became a success because they are keeping with them values and principles that work for one great purpose – to provide value and solutions to people. For business owners and entrepreneurs who are just starting on their companies and for those who have not yet achieved their ultimate success, we can reflect on what the Facebook team has accomplished. Who knows, you will be the next billionaire or the next Mark Zuckerberg in the near future.

You may read the full text of the letter Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, included when the company filed Wednesday for an initial public offering of stock with the Securities and Exchange Commission here.

Victorino Abrugar is a retired CPA practitioner, a blogger, speaker, and an entrepreneur. He's the President of Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing company based in the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter at @viclogic.


  1. says

    Facebook’s core values seem to be exactly correct for their business model. I wonder if their business model grew out of their values or if their values grew out of their business model and subsequent success. Even so, perhaps to some extent they evolve together, especially in an industry that has changed so much in the last few years.
    As stated in the article for any business it is important to have a set of core values, just as each of us have own core values.

  2. says

    You’re right Joe, we can’t really say if these core values were the ones that Facebook have been embracing from the beginning. But since they are just released to the public recently, I think these are the values have evolved from the beginning. Nevertheless, they exactly fit what Facebook needs, as well as what other business models may be needing to get such success.

  3. says

    Hi Vic, You points about Facebook are very well made and very true but for me, I think that Facebook’s genius was in opening up it’s platform to businesses/developers in relation to apps, games etc. Great post, thanks for sharing, Niall

    • says

      Hello Nial. I agree with you. I also think that Facebook’s success is driven by collaboration. Facebook give great opportunities to business owners and marketers. These marketers have also helped Facebook to be promoted in return. For examples, a blogger gets exposure in Facebook, while Facebook also gets exposure in the blogger’s blog through a Facebook widget.

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