Zuckerberg and Circles of Influence

I have always been fascinated by circles of influence, where extremely successful people connect. One of these elite circles is run by a man named Divesh Makan, known for his connection to Mark Zuckerberg and other tech billionaires. In 2004, Makan was working for Goldman Sachs in San Francisco, where he met Zuckerberg.  As Facebook grew into the behemoth it is today, Makan became an influential player in Silicon Valley through his firm Iconiq Capital. What can we learn from his rise?

  1. People’s circles open very early in their rise and close quickly. Zuckerberg met the man he trusts with his fortune in 2004, a time when Facebook was not even worth $100 million. And through Zuckerberg, Makan was able to bring in Reid Hoffman, an early Facebook investor, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Those connections would not have been possible a few years down the road.
  2. Making introductions is an extremely valuable skill. Makan knew Sheryl Sandburg before Google’s IPO; he eventually recommended that Zuckerberg hire her to Facebook. Sandburg would go on to become COO and help bring Facebook to profitability. Makan brought himself an immense amount of goodwill from Zuckerberg from that introduction.
  3. There’s a game being played around us. Most investors rely on standard pitches. When Iconiq wants to invest in a company, Makan can set up a dinner with the CEO and Zuckerberg himself. Who can say no to that? Game. Set. Match. But even beyond investing, this lesson still applies. While some apply for internships through job portals, others reach out to the right people in the company to cut in line and land the position.

Network and meet the right people, and you never know where the world can take you.