Back in 2005, long before they began approaching $10 billion in annual revenue, everyone thought that Facebook was a cool app, but no one thought that it would ever make any money. Observers laughed at the idea that Facebook could be a real business.
With that backdrop of doubters and detractors, Noah Kagan, employee #30 at Facebook, pitched Mark Zuckerberg with what he thought was a genius idea: prove the Facebook skeptics wrong and show them that the fledgling startup could make real money.
As Kagan recounts the story, Mark listened to the pitch and then wrote out one word on a whiteboard: “GROWTH.” Then he “proclaimed he would not entertain ANY idea unless it helped Facebook grow by total number of ‘users.’”
To Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley luminaries like PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, the secret to productivity is this: focus is singular. You don’t get three or four or five. You only get one.