Daily Archives: June 6, 2010

Why Mark Zuckerberg should have a Carol Bartz moment

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Everyone seems to be against Mark Zuckerberg, founder/CEO of Facebook, lately.

Shel Israel says he should step down.

Market Watch’s Therese Poletti says he had a Nixon moment on stage at the AllThingsD Conference.

Jason Calacanis details what Zuckerberg should do to regain trust, all while noting that he imploded on stage at AllThingsD.

Even Steve Jobs was schooling Zuckerberg on privacy. More on Jobs later.

Heck, on this week’s Gillmor Gang, even +I+ was saying that Zuckerberg should put Sheryl Sandberg into the CEO role and should go and run R&D, basically agreeing with Shel Israel.

Part of me wants Mark to tell us all to go to hell and keep changing the world. He would be justified in having a Carol Bartz moment. After all, in his 26 years he’s done more than me or Calacanis TOGETHER will ever do. To detail:

1. He has — in less than seven years — created a company that has hired more than 1,000 people. How many other USA companies have hired 1,000 people in Silicon Valley in the past five years?
2. His company has been valued at many billions of dollars.
3. His company has created a platform that supports, among many companies, Zynga, which also has hired 800 employees (it’s only two years old) and my friends are throwing around valuations of billions for Zynga.
4. His company has 500 million people using it around the world and most love it a lot. My wife still is effusive with love over Facebook.

He’s done 100x more in his few years of running Facebook than Carol Bartz has AT ANY COMPANY! In her entire career! But she felt enough confidence to tell off Mike Arrington, on stage at his own conference, and telling him to “f*** off.” (that part comes at about 25 minutes into the video of Bartz on stage at Techcrunch Disrupt).

Zuckerberg, for some reason, doesn’t have that kind of personal confidence to clearly answer questions and also tell all of us to f*** off.

He should take some lessons from Bartz and have his own “Bartz moment.”

After all? How many people have I hired? 1? Israel? 0. Calcanis? 40? Even add Arrington’s 15 into the pile, it isn’t even a wart on the pile of people Zuckerberg has hired.

Have any of us changed the world the way Zuckerberg has? No. Not even close.

Have any of us caused Google to look at itself differently? No. Not even close (even Bartz hasn’t been able to do that).

Plus, he’s 26 years old. I’m not as smart or done as much and I’m 45 years old. Heck, add us all together, that’s more than 100 years of living more than Zuckerberg has and, yet, we haven’t accomplished nearly as much.

Heck, Calacanis has done such a poor job of being a CEO that he doesn’t even talk about HIS OWN COMPANY anymore. Zuckerberg should have just stared back at him and asked him “how’s Mahalo going again?”

OK, OK, now I’m going to tell you why Mark should still step down. Even though his answer to me SHOULD BE to “f*** off.”

1. Life is too short to do stuff you don’t like to do and it’s clear that Mark doesn’t like being the public face of Facebook. He doesn’t enjoy it. If he did, he would be happier on stage and wouldn’t be sweating. I’ve seen him up front and close and he’s far better when he starts talking geekery than when he is trying to represent Facebook’s business interests. I’ve recently turned down some pretty serious money to do something else because I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as what I’m doing now for Rackspace. This is something I ask myself every week or so. “Am I having fun?” If I’m not, I’m going to do something else. So should Zuckerberg. Not to mention Zuckerberg ALREADY has financial freedom I’ll never know in my life.

2. I’ve been studying Zuckerberg for a while and comparing notes with people who know him even better than me, like David Kilpatrick, who wrote an excellent book on Facebook, and it’s clear Zuckerberg has a vision for changing the world with social technologies. If we get his brain focused more on the technology side of things and less on the representing Facebook side of things I think we’ll win more. Do we really want Zuckerberg in front of Congress trying to convince politicians that Facebook isn’t evil? No. He has far more value to all of us focusing on the tech side of things, even though he’s hired very well and built a world-class organization that is disrupting Silicon Valley in a huge way.

3. My boss evaluates the job I’m doing every six months and we look at whether I’m doing more good or harm to Rackspace. I think Zuckerberg should do the same with his performance. Could he find a role that would let him use his skills in a better way? My report card of him? Hiring: A+. Mergers and Acquistions: A+. Technology leadership: A-. Execution: B+ (only because they could have gotten privacy right when they first shipped). Ability to sell: D-. Ability to positively affect perceptions: D-.

It’s clear to me where Mark has considerable skill. So why is he trying to do something he clearly isn’t having fun at? Just to get the experience? Or is there some other reason, like ambition and wanting to be the next Bill Gates? (Bill, by the way, has always sucked at public speaking and hasn’t been a loved character either, until recently when he started to save the world, so, again, why shouldn’t Zuckerberg tell us all to screw off?)

I come down to #1 the most. If Mark called me tonight and asked my opinion (he has not) I’d focus on that. Is he having fun? He sure doesn’t look like it. To me that would lead me to tell him to step down from CEO and take on a role that he’d have more fun with, like head of R&D.

But, if Mark was on the phone and I gave him that advice I’d be secretly hoping he’d tell me (and Calacanis and Israel and all the rest of the chattering masses) to screw off and have him go off and change the world again.

Oh, and back to Steve Jobs. If I were him I’d worry that I’ve lived without my iPhone for seven days so far and I haven’t missed having the crappy cell phone service from AT&T, not to mention I like having the extra features of the Android OS that aren’t yet available on the iPhone. Now, most of those features are rumored to show up on Monday but Steve should worry about AT&T. More and more of us are deciding to leave iPhones because of that (to me AT&T’s quality is worse than ANY of Zuckerberg’s privacy problems). Jobs should also worry about the kinds of anti-Apple stuff I’m hearing from developers lately, too. One developer just wrote me and told me his app hasn’t been approved for two months. How is THAT not worse than anything Zuckerberg has done to our privacy? Jobs should worry more about what his own company is doing rather than poking at Zuckerberg.