Should Mark Zuckerberg be fired?


Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO Facebook, Alain Berttrand, Modus Operandi, Mauritius, Social Media

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For how much it weighs, my answer is NO!

The way some murky capitalist system treats successful self-made men and women, especially in the innovative tech sector, is really indecent. Brilliant founder brains like Twitter‘s Dorsey, Vimeo‘s Lodwick, Google‘s Larry Page have gone down that lane. Even Charismatic Steve Jobs learned it the hardest way and more… during the past months, Facebook founder’s legitimacy has been and is still being questioned too.

Now what?

Does that mean that Entrepreneurs cannot be leaders? Or is it because, and for reasons attached to outrageous financial greed, thinkers must make place for coin counters?

As the harshest critics tend to move away from Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg and focus more on the finance-motivated people/ advisors of his entourage, worries seem to have again reached another level, especially around the company’s failure to hold its share price at “reasonable” levels (to the eyes of brokers mostly, I guess). The Company stocks hit another low Friday last, crashing at $18.06.

As Facebook’s stock continues to collapse, the volume of whining is increasing.

Business Insider

Wait a minute! Facebook ain’t gonna die tomorrow because of 54 Bn USD, is it?

Should we consider this situation as critically dangerous for the Social Media Juggernaut? I don’t think so personally. Facebook still weighs 50 Bn USD and has crucial development options coming their way! I personally do not think that Zuck’s mob are stupid enough to indulge into the dubious speculative activities that brought down the Lehman Brothers.

On the other side, it could well be that Marky’s strategy to keep control away from greedy Wall Street sharks is just working. Who would try buying into a company that has been losing value since its largely mediatized IPO? May well be that the over-valuation was meant to give more breathing time and head room to the young visionary who strongly believes in the global utility dimension of whatever he created.

My positioning is not about outrageously and cheaply defending Mark Zuckerberg, he’s not a saint (like me) and he’s got the best pros (unlike me) for that….And Oh yeah… May be to some bit, because Facebook is part of my dough-maker.

But what I despise the most, is the way the Wall Street pack aims at sending signals that fuel rumors of bad health on successful tech companies. I despise the way Ultra-capitalism would suck dry to the marrow and leave the bones to the wind. So many promising tech-gems have disappeared this way. Brokers know how to kill remotely, I might think. But I guess that Marky doesn’t want Facebook to end up like that.

What makes Zuckerberg different?

Fighting for what’s yours is quality and saying it aloud is transparency! I strongly believe in my saying and hopefully think that more than one will agree to that.

Zuckerberg’s best asset is his vision and integrity. Get both in one same context and he sure can develop. He reminds of Sabeer Bathia who created Hotmail and gave it away to build Salsebolo which helped to empower the whole Indian nation towards mastering the Internet. He reminds me of Google’s Sergei Brin who is positively acting at the heart of the community.

These techy people have at least that one thing in common; They think user-centric. They are community-driven and are less profit oriented than the usual CEO or founder. They are massively contributing to the World’s future and doing it in the right way. This is how they have built their multi-billion Dollar empires (and that’s theirs) and are still building additional sustainable wealth in some other currency, that can be made accessible to almost every human being (that’s their legacy to humanity).

He is part of that new generation of what I will call Value Added Entrepreneur

Along with those others like WordPress‘s Matt Mullenweg, Skype‘s Zennström and Friis, Wikipedia‘s Jimmy Wales, amongst more, they are the new breed of “entrepreneurs with a focus on people and for a more sustainable world”, I keep thinking. Kind of Capitalism with a social face! It was about time!

In April 2010 I wrote about Zuckerberg and in 2012 this remains pertinent:

He is, by far, the one who more than anybody understood that money comes along naturally with a neat, true and caring service and not the other way round. By refusing to go along with an IPO in 2010 and postponing it into 2012, he showed his total commitment to making Facebook a better and safer place to interact and not just an application with the obligation of yielding profits to shareholders (even if it is a prime objective for a private company).

extracted from Isn’t Social Media About Being… Social, Human, Not Speculative? (2012),
by Alain Bertrand – originally posted in April 2010

And he had this to say to Diane Sawyer on ABC about the Facebook IPO:

When it makes sense, right. I mean, what we’re most focused on is just building these tools that help people stay connected with the people that they care about. And at some point along the path, I think it’ll make sense to have an I.P.O. But we’re not running the company to do that. We’re running the company to serve more people.

Zuckerberg to Diane Sawyer on ABC.

Compared to what Mark Zuckerberg said when the IPO came in, through his letter to the shareholders, the discourse has remained the same. The goals and objectives haven’t moved, remaining focused on the relevancy of his fabulous connection tool. Today, even with stock prices dropping from 104 Bn to 50 Bn USD, 955 Million users are on Facebook and still counting. Even if the figures have slowed their uptrend, the billion-user mark will soon be achieved… with China and Africa still not counting for much therein. And we haven’t even talked about optimizing the services for mobile. Can you wipe out the World’s third largest population just like that? 

The Letter

In his letter to Facebook shareholders and investors, he explains how he conceives and perceives Facebook. He gives a personal perspective to the catastrophic episode. He explains how he feels redeemable towards the shareholders but also how he sees profits coming after the mission. I sense that this was a sensible move that shows that even with billions and bullion one could still think social.

So NO… In September 2012 there is still no reason to fire Mark Zuckerberg.

Hereafter my summing up of Marky’s long letter.

  • It starts with the firm re-statement of Facebook’s mission.
  • He reminds that he has complete control over  Facebook with his 57% of the Companies voting stock.
  • He makes sure that everone understands that he organized the company in such a way, many years ago, that he deliberately intented of maintaining complete control over it. He just didn’t want to be overturned and ousted by venture capitalists.
  • He somehow made it clear that if some didn’t agree, they could always hit the roads.
  • He gets to his main point saying that what he cares about most, is Facebook’s product and service and “social mission.”
  • Business is secondary he says.
  • What he states about Facebook is clear: Facebook’s core is the social platform.
  • The business sidekick is only there to fund the core’s further development.
  • He re-affirms how Facebook was never meant to go public and that the market and financing issues pressured the company to do so.
  • He admits that Facebook and him will still know some screw-ups, that they will stay on a perpetual learning curve and that they will move on and keep innovating for users’ sake.

Read Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to Facebook shareholders dated 02.01.12

Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.

We think it’s important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do. I will try to outline our approach in this letter.

At Facebook, we’re inspired by technologies that have revolutionized how people spread and consume information. We often talk about inventions like the printing press and the television – by simply making communication more efficient, they led to a complete transformation of many important parts of society. They gave more people a voice. They encouraged progress. They changed the way society was organized. They brought us closer together. [Read More >>>]

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