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Mark Zuckerberg's Tip for Keeping Your Job at Twitter: Control Your Company

"If you have control of the company -- like I do at Facebook and an increasing number of founders do -- then it is very difficult for investors to fire you."

Asa Mathat

Even though yesterday was his last day on the job, outgoing Twitter CEO Dick Costolo may have an ally in Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Well-known tech pundit Om Malik posed a question to Zuckerberg on Facebook Wednesday, asking how he thinks founder-CEOs are judged differently from non-founder CEOs. Specifically, Malik wanted to know if this double standard is what created Wall Street’s angst with Twitter, where non-founder Costolo stepped down after months of criticism and pressure from investors.

“I can answer that,” wrote Zuckerberg, along with a smiley face emoticon.

Zuckerberg’s response: Founders are usually given the benefit of the doubt to make company-altering decisions. Also, actually owning the company doesn’t hurt much either.

“If you have control of the company — like I do at Facebook and an increasing number of founders do — then it is very difficult for investors to fire you,” Zuckerberg wrote. “This means you don’t need to worry about losing your job over a couple of bad quarters or controversial short term decisions, and that makes it easier for you to make the decisions you think are correct as well.”

That could bode well for Twitter, since its co-founder and inventor Jack Dorsey has now taken over as interim CEO while the company looks for a permanent replacement. Some speculate that Dorsey could be there for good, while others think there will be another candidate chosen or even the sale of the San Francisco company itself.

In fact, Zuckerberg once tried to buy Twitter in its infancy and it is once again mulling a purchase, according to sources.

Zuckerberg didn’t weigh in on who he thinks Twitter’s new CEO should be. But he did note that there are some clear benefits to having a founder at the helm — among them, more time to get your ideas and long-term vision into place.

“The social capital and moral authority that comes from being the founder and having built many of the company’s key products means that on balance people trust you more and give you the benefit of the doubt more when you make tough calls,” he wrote. “Fewer people complain and take your time to manage. Fewer people quit and slow your execution. Everything is easier with social capital.”

Despite answering a question specifically about Twitter, Zuckerberg never mentioned it by name in his lengthy nine-paragraph answer. He did, however, touch on the importance of building a strong executive team, a notable mention considering he once famously described Twitter’s executive team as people who had driven “a clown car into a gold mine and fell in.”

“People focus too much on the single CEO role and not enough on the broader team,” he wrote. “No one builds something by themselves. We could not have built Facebook without our core team. This is not just about the founder or CEO but about the strength of the whole team.”

You can read the whole Zuckerberg response here (click on comment link below):

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