We all know the impact that Mark Zuckerberg had on our daily lives for starting Facebook. But did you know that his sister Randi has also affected your life?
I’ve lived in California’s Silicon Valley for nearly two decades. When most of your friends are geeks, techies and engineers working for Google, Apple, and Facebook, you kind of become a nerd too. That’s what happened to me. So, in 2010 I left my businessman cloak at my management consulting office to participate in a Facebook Hackathon. At the famous social media giant’s head office and with a team of software engineers and friends, I spent the better part of a full day and night trying to come up with a new app for Facebook. The next morning all groups were invited to present in front of a panel of experts. Our app didn’t do too well, but we had a blast working on the project. Most importantly, that weekend I met with Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg and I even had dinner with his sister Randi.
Well, who knew that a just few years later I would be sharing the stage with Randi in multiple occasions as a travel around the world to speak at business events.
Ever since Randi renounced her role at Facebook, she’s been traveling the world on the speaking circuit as well. Over the past three years I spoke at several events where she was also a speaker in the USA and even one in South Africa. Over time, I got to know the real, fun loving, businesswoman quite well. I believe our paths were really meant to cross.
Let me tell you this about Randi: She’s freaking awesome. She’s a down-to-earth, feminine businesswoman and mother who lives her face-paced life with confidence and without apology.
You may not know that in the early years of Facebook, Randi was overseeing its marketing department in the Palo Alto office. Luckily, back when she agreed to join Facebook, Mark convinced her to forgo most of her salary in exchange for stock options. At first, the twenty-two-year-old Randi was not too keen on the idea of getting shares in her little brother’s business. Today she’s very grateful that Mark insisted so much. Only in her mid thirties, she’s now worth an estimated 200 million dollars.
After Facebook went public, she left the Silicon Valley with her newfound fortune. She moved back to New York city to pursue artistic interests and open Zuckerberg Media.
Last week I got to share the stage with her again, but this time it was at a smaller private business retreat. No big crowds. We had a lot of time together. I also got to interview her in front of a room filled with business owners, and CEO’s from five continents who had gathered in Georgia’s Appalachian Mountains for the event.
We discussed her time in the Silicon Valley and her enthusiasm for technology. But more importantly, as she shared insights about her diverse business projects, the audience got to know a woman passionate for the arts and for children’s education.
Trivia: Did you know Randi came up with Facebook Live? Yes, she did. It’s the funniest story. At first it was a complete flop. On her very first Live broadcast, she only had two viewers – her mom and dad. And they both tuned out after a few minutes because they thought she was too boring. Funny eh?
Today, because of that flop, every business in the world can also be a media company. With tools such as Facebook Live, every business owner can create their own media channels. Thanks to Randi.
After my interview with her, all attendees were invited to gather for a sumptuous buffet of southern food, like the warm Georgians are famous for. It was a fun evening. There was also a rock band playing 80s, and 90s hits. We ate profusely, drank moderately, played games and danced outdoors for hours. Then, around 10pm the MC went to the microphone to announce a surprise. Randi, a former Broadway performer was going to sing. You should have seen this: grownups-business-people cheering like teenagers at a sports event.
Before long, Randi jumped on the stage and started to sing “Wanted Dead or Alive”, the Bon Jovi tune. Aided by a back-vocal singer [a woman CEO who had flown from England for the event], Randi surprised the audience with her passionate entertainment ability.
The rest of the night was spent mingling and taking pictures.
What an event! No one in attendance will ever forget it.
I am telling you, you’d better be on the lookout for those Zuckerberg’s. They are out to make our world a better place.
Marco Robert, International Public Speaker & Business Turnaround Expert