Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly had some slightly unconventional employee motivational techniques in Facebook’s early days, including throwing water, verbal abuses and a samurai sword.
In a new e-book titled “How I Lost $170 Million: MY TIME as #30 AT FACEBOOK,” former Facebook engineer Noah Kagan recounts some of his working experiences with a 24-25-year-old Zuckerberg, whose social maturity allegedly failed to match his business savvy.
“He had some great motivational lines. With love, he’d say, ‘If you don’t get that done sooner, I will punch you in the face,’ or ‘I will chop you with this huge sword,’ while holding a huge sword in hand,” Kagan wrote.
Zuckerberg’s unique technique wasn’t limited to verbal threats.
“While I don’t remember the feature we were working on, engineer Chris Putnam and I had spent almost a month building something we thought Mark would love,” Kagan wrote. “He walks to Chris’ computer and we demo the product to Mark. Mark thought it was shit. I know so because instead of giving product feedback, he screamed, ‘this is shit — redo it!’ threw water on Chris’ computer, and walked away. All of us stood around in shock.”
Though apparently not shy about damaging sensitive electronics, Zuckerberg more frequently relied on his office katana to do the motivating.
“He’d walk around with a samurai sword fake threatening to attack you for bad work,” Kagan wrote. “Where the hell he got that samurai sword, who the hell knows? Luckily, no employees were harmed while I was there. He’d come around and pretend to cut you joking if you take down the site he’ll chop your head off.”
Kagan, who went on to found the daily deals website AppSumo, recalled his very first meeting with Zuckerberg in 2005 on his first day of work, where he informed him he had just fired his boss.
He looks at me.
“Who are you?”
“Noah,” I said. “It’s my first day.”
“Noah — got it. Uh, I just fired your boss,” he stammers.
It’s my first day and my boss gets fired? I think.
“How do I avoid messing up so I don’t get fired, too?” I said. It was the first thing that came to mind. Everyone laughed, but I was serious.
“Don’t try to sell my company out from under me,” he answered.
“You have to remember you have a 23-year old uber nerd running one of the fastest growing sites on the web,” Kagan wrote. “As mature as he could be he also was still immature.”