A Guide for Deciding Whether or Not You Like Mark Zuckerberg
By Jeff Arnaudo
The other day, I asked myself: Do I like Mark Zuckerberg?
Myself didn’t have an answer. And in most cases, how people like myself feel about celebrities and savvy CEO’s, well, just isn’t all that important.
But there may come a day in the not-so-distant future when ambiguity will be less than satisfactory when it comes to my, or your, feelings about Mark.
For starters, the Zuck is big. Really big. Like, (according to Forbes) the 10th most powerful person on planet Earth big. After creating today’s largest social media platform; Mark Zuckerberg, only 33, is the youngest on Forbes’ list. Suffice it to say, he’s big now, and he’ll be big for awhile.
More importantly, however, is the rumor that he might be running for president as early as 2020. This rumor gained some legitimacy recently, when Zuckerberg confirmed plans to begin selling off large portions of his Facebook stock to fund his charity and (presumably and eventually) free up some responsibility for other pursuits.
Now, the campaign bid is still just speculation. But regardless, it begs the question:
Do you like Mark Zuckerberg?
And as I experienced, it can be difficult to answer that question honestly and confidently.
Zuckerberg and his company have been involved with numerous lawsuits, his creation may have aided in the election of Trump, and he apparently wore coding-humor t-shirts in college. Still, he donates an incredible amount to charity, wants to get every single person online, and made it significantly easier for me to pretend like I’m good at staying in touch with far away friends.
It’s a lot to wrap a head around. But Mark, you have eluded our judgement for far too long.
To help, I’ve created the following Guide for Deciding Whether or Not You Like Mark Zuckerberg:
The rules are simple. I’ll brief you on something Zuckerberg did or does, and you assign points from -5 to 5. If he ends up at zero or below, you’re not a fan; but above zero, and you’re pro-Zuck. I’ll include my grading for reference.
Note: Mark created Facebook, and has maintained decision-making power within the company; so as far as this article is concerned, problems with Facebook are problems with Mark; and benefits of Facebook are in thanks to Mark. Sorry, Mark. Also, you’re welcome, Mark.
He’s selling Facebook shares to fund his and his wife’s charity.
We’ll start with the most recent. After initially planning to issue Class C no-vote stock, Zuck called an audible, and is now selling off voting shares to fund his and his wife’s charity, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. And over the next 18 months, he plans to liquidate $6 – $13 billion more, all for the foundation. That’s a lot of much needed cabbage for health and education.
I like this.
+4 points (Score: 4)
He was kind of a dick in college.
Mark can thank Jesse Eisenberg and these instant messages for this one. Long story short, he told the Winkleoff twins and another dude that he’d help them build a dating tool, then half-stole the idea and built Facebook himself. Personally, I’m not bothered that he took the idea, since he was doing all the legwork anyway. But those messages are bad, and I can never fully get behind an Eisenberg character.
Poor form, Zuck.
-2 points (Score: 2)
I appreciate the thought, and support the minimalist approach. But a little color never hurt anybody. Or a button up. Or a bird shirt…
-1 point (Score: 1)
He wants to get every single person online.
This is overwhelming, but really good. Less than half of the world’s population is on the Internet, but 85% live within range of an internet-supporting cell tower. The other 15% would be covered by technologically advanced tools, like wifi-providing drones. Zuckerberg is the face of, and (mostly) financially supports, the coalition of tech companies hoping to achieve this. However, this is not something he or his company is doing alone, and there’s certainly at least a small profit motive behind tripling your market size…
+2 points (Score: 3)
Facebook might not have hired a guy because he was ‘too old.’
According to this report, Stephen Cohen says he lost out on an interview for a job at Facebook because of his age. Moreover, the lawsuit claims that Zuckerberg once said that “young people are just smarter.” Now, I’m a smart young person that waits for verdicts and quite simply, Zuckerberg might not have said it (suit hasn’t been settled). Also, this entire report might be a load of crock. Either way, ageism is a real problem in tech, and I’m sure Facebook is at least somewhat guilty of it.
-1 points (Score: 2)
He’s a family man.
I’m basing this entirely off of his Instagram. He’s recently revved up the family photos (campaign prep-work!!!), but there’s no way Zuckerberg is a good enough actor to fake that fatherly emotion. Good dad. Good husband. Definitely points.
+3 points (Score: 5)
Facebook, and Zuckerberg, may have unintentionally played a role in spreading fake news (that also supported Trump).
This deserves more than a paragraph, but essentially some trolls in Russia bought advertising space on Facebook for pro-Trump propaganda rooted in fake news. Initially, these claims were brushed off by Facebook/Zuck, and then as evidence has surfaced, they’ve taken their time releasing the ads to Congress. And if this report is real, apparently Obama warned Zuckerberg of the ads two months before the inauguration, and Mark reassured him that the ads weren’t widespread. In the end, it’s expensive and inefficient to check every ad that’s to be published to Facebook. Zuckerberg cut corners, and schemers took advantage. Not a great look.
-3 points (Score: 2)
This one can really go either way, depending on how you feel about AI. Elon Musk and Vladimir Putin are certain that AI is potentially war-causing technology while Zuckerberg has been doing his best Iron Man impression, trying to build an AI butler for his home. I’m fine with Mark Zuckerberg not believing that AI will harm humanity, but he should probably, at least publicly, admit that it could.
-1 point (Score:1)
Jeff’s Final Zuck-Rating: 1
There are definitely other points to address, but I think this is a good place to start. As of right now, I like Mark Zuckerberg. Barely. And that feels about right.
Let us know your score in the comments, or tweet us @ladderpodcast!
In the meantime, Mark, you’re on thin ice with me. Consider this a warning.