If you’re unfamiliar with it, F8 is a two-day event focused on developers, a crucial part of Facebook’s ecosystem. I was fortunate enough to attend, and though I have many takeaways, which I'll discuss in upcoming posts, the one that surprises me most is Mark Zuckerberg himself.

Zuckerberg’s rousing introductory keynote set the foundation for the two-day event. He kicked things off with an ambitious 10-year road map.

(Image credit: Facebook News)

Let’s be honest: The most we see from companies today is a three-year road map or, for the adventurous, a five-year road map. Yes, Zuckerberg caught our attention once he took the stage; however, when the 10-year road map slide appeared, a new type of energy filled the venue. As a result, I couldn’t help but take a holistic look at his approach and name it “Zuckerberg 101.” For F8, this approach consisted of a foundational message, expectation setting, and an appeal to the audience. Take note marketers because this approach is one we can all use to foster connections with our audiences. It also helps us understand Facebook’s long-term strategy, along with its near- and long-term investments. Zuckerberg 101 consists of:

  • A foundational message. F8 2016's message is that Facebook’s mission of connecting everyone is everything. The 10-year road map echoes this vision with key milestones that aim to provide everyone with the power to share. All subsequent presentations reflected this theme throughout the event, creating a consistent message.
    Key takeaway: If you're trying to change the world (or anything else), make sure everyone knows why you’re in it to win it.
  • Expectation setting. Facebook is a well-oiled machine with a penchant for process. If you’ve ever wondered about its vision for an acquired or new technology, remember this rinse-and-repeat process: It builds a technology, incorporates it into a product, scales it to 1 billion users, and then builds a supporting ecosystem. By the time it has incorporated the product, you’d better believe that it has already discussed the mechanics that can power the potential ecosystem (what it needs, how it will monetize, etc.). We’ve seen this with Facebook’s core product, with Instagram, and we’re about to see it with Messenger with its 900 million monthly active users.
    Key takeway: Stay tuned and if you’re curious about Messenger’s use of bots, read this post from my colleagues: Julie Ask and Michael Facemire.
  • An appeal to the audience and validation of their contributions. The folks at Instagram believe in “community first.” Facebook’s mission is deeply intertwined with community. Zuckerberg shared: “Our lives are connected. The path forward is to connect more, not less.” He believes that one global community can provide more people with a voice. And Facebook will bring people together one connection at a time and one innovation at a time.
    Key takeaway: Validate your audience — in this case, developers.