Everybody gets a different feeling when meeting a celebrity. by that I mean a feeling unlike the norm. Being in the industry I’m in has afforded me many opportunities to relive that feeling as well as seeing those who have wanted that opportunity for so long. I admit I don’t necessarily get giddy unless it’s a St. Louis Cardinal or someone who has truly had a hand in shaping society. A true innovator that will forever go down as an individual who changed the world. A few Saturdays back, I had to opportunity to see a few of them.
My best friend of childhood Nick, accepted a position as a merchandise planning analyst at the Wal-Mart corporate offices in Bentonville, AR. Since he started he has become a regular at Wal-Mart’s Saturday Morning Meetings. As I understand it, are ‘optional’ but usually get a decent attendance because corporate brings in some high profiles names to speak. It just speaks volumes of the name the Wal-Mart brand carries. Today was certainly no exception. Nick called me about a week in advance and asked that I come down for this, stating that he could not “confirm or deny that a Mr. Clay Mathews, Mr. Kirk Herbstreit & Mr. Mark Zuckerberg would be in attendance’. Couldn’t really pass that up…
The meeting began at 7:30am with the kind of production you would expect to pay for at a seminar. Clay Mathews spoke of teamwork, effort and dedication. Kirk challenged folks to come out and support a good cause in the name of competition at a game he had set up on Bentonville’s square for Wal-Mart’s 50 year anniversary celebration. But towards the end of the meeting, the vibe started to pick up around the room. We all knew what was coming.
Entering the meeting, signs were clearly marked stating ‘NO Photography’, yet when Zuckerberg came up to speak with Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, cameras, iPads, phones, you name it. All were out and pointing at the man of the evening. The man who changed the internet.
For 15 minutes, it was incredible. Watching a ridiculous amount of our nation’s net worth having a conversation, bouncing ideas off one another. Before a room full of Wal-Mart employees, family, friends and myself, there was a lot to take in. Zuckerberg is a rock star in the digital world, yet slightly awkward in reality. His words came matter-of-factly, but not without great merit. I took away two things from what he had to say.
1) Move fast and break things: This is by no means meant to be taken in a literal sense. Rather, it’s that if you spend so much time trying to perfect every single detail you are going to miss out on the opportunity for innovation.
2) Always ask yourself what decisions you would make were you not afraid to make them. So powerful.
From listening to this conversation, to watching what will most likely be the most expensive handshake I will ever see in my life, to the experience in general. No doubt, it will forever change my life.