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'Give before you get' from Mark Zuckerberg
Dan Rose on lessons from Facebook's early, critical deal with Microsoft
Today’s update features a foundational partnership lesson from an unlikely source: Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s CEO is not widely viewed as a master deal-maker yet his track record isn’t bad.
The story below comes from Dan Rose, who led Business Development at Facebook (2006 - 2019) and before that, at Amazon (1999 - 2006). If there was a partnerships hall-of-fame, Dan would likely have a plaque hanging along the Internet Hall.
Dan’s story highlights what will be an ongoing theme of This for That: give before you get. To get more value from your partner, deliver more value for your partner. There is a reason I chose the name This for That rather than That for This. Focus first on what you can offer them.
Stories like the one below are one of the reasons I launched This for That. If there is a partnership story or storyteller you think should be highlighted, please let me know. You can just reply to this email. And if this is you’re a first-time reader …
Take-aways from Dan’s story:
“How’s it going for Microsoft” Zuckerberg’s question says it all. Are you asking this question enough in your partnerships? Dan’s reaction to Zuckerberg’s question shows how demonstrating the right values towards a partnership can instill loyalty in your team. Are the leaders of your organization aligned with your own values when it comes to partnerships?
“If you dig deeper into motivations on each side, you might find one party cares about the meat while the other cares around the rind.” This is a fundamental law of negotiations - you can create value when you uncover that you each want something different. And it begins with that critical phrase: “if you dig deeper.” To build truly transformative partnerships you have to listen closely to your partner. Rose uses a fruit metaphor (meat vs. rind) to capture this idea. But I often apply the onion metaphor: you need to peel back the layers of the onion to get beneath the surface and understand their underlying motivations. Peeling back layers of the onion takes time, commitment, curiosity and creativity.
“The deal gave us learnings and guaranteed revenue which we invested in R&D …” Understand the ‘why’ beneath the deal you’re pursuing. It can be easy to get sidetracked by financial or legal terms that are not central to what you’re trying to accomplish. Stay focused on the objective.
“They bid more than Google for the right to run banner ads but MySpace was owned by NewsCorp and Rupert liked Google more.” Price isn’t always what wins the deal. Understand what is motivating your partner. Sometimes the key motivator is someone other than the person you are negotiating with. To understand who is driving the deal, you need to dig deeper and peel back the onion (see bullet #2 above) to truly understand their motivations.
“We found mutual alignment in our fear of Google.” There is no partnership matchmaker more powerful than a common enemy. Who is the common enemy that you can harness to align interests with your prospective partner(s)?
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