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.


  1. Hey, villians advance the plot too. Ultimately the world may be a better place for what Zuckerberg has done. Maybe it will improve our immune system for dealing with people that think there’s no limit to the number of times they can burn us and spin it, burn us and spin it. He’s so bad at PR, it may be like the weakened virus that gives us better immunity to the real thing.

    And you’re right, I haven’t lied and cheated my way into a high profile position. Maybe Zuckerberg shouldn’t listen to users like me based on our lack of comparable track records. But there is another reason he should.

    There was a psych study of a strong righteous anger trait in humanity where people would act against their own best interests in order to see someone who wronged them get punished. While FB is holding my social graph hostage, and there is no way to leave without losing contact with the majority of my FB friends, I’ll stay. But when there is an alternative, I will work damn hard to get everyone in my graph over to it and off FB, even if I have to go to every one of their houses and help them through it. That’s how pissed I am at FB continually changing their side of the deal we made when I lobbied hard to get my friends into FB in the first place as the one place on the web where everyone could use their real names safely, because only their friends would see what they posted.

    And I think a significant number of 400m facebook users that are super-influencers feel the same way. That should scare the piss out of Zuckerberg.

  2. The little swipes at Calacanis kind of grate on me- Calacanis is one of my personal favorite tech pundits even if he has an attitude. Zuckerberg might be an incredibly successful man, but past successes in no way negates mistakes in the present, even if those mistakes are being grossly exaggerated. I don’t believe any of the privacy issues will have any kind of lasting effect on Facebook; the majority of users are either ignorant or just don’t give a damn, but it doesn’t mean he needs to be excused for his mistakes.

    As for AT&T, the vast majority of people I know who have them get good service and have no issues with them. They really only seem to irritate people in larger, tech-centric cities like SF or NY, but I’m convinced those places don’t make up the majority of iPhone owners.

  3. 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?”

    Amen. You hit the nail on that one. Zuck should not be afraid of all these so called “industry experts” or bloggers who have no idea how to run a multibillion dollar company.

    But I do not think he should step down. It will show a sign of weakness. Just let Sandy Sandberg do all the public appearances and early next year, promote her as CEO and promote yourself as President overseeing Products, very similar to what Google did.

  4. If I were Sequoia Cap, I would immediately write off my investment no matter what and dump Jason. Not because Mahalo is failing, but because he is the lowest quality person Sequoia Cap has ever worked with and he is damaging Sequoia’s reputation as the backer of the largest internet companies to date.

    Jason couldn’t make it at Netscape and he was fired in a very short amount of time, Netscape lost half of its traffic during his tenure, his only success was to sell a blogging network company for less than 30MM – out of luck. He’s not the guy who can do big things, and he doesn’t have any right to criticize Marc – who created the world’s largest internet property. He is trying to hurt Facebook because that’s the only value he can create for the world. But you guys shouldn’t give him this chance by sharing his opinions on your blogs. He’s definitely not worth it.

    Mike Arrington has created the future of media, so he’s a visionary – and you Robert, you are the love of everyone in Silicon Valley, you make a great job. So don’t put you and Mike in the same category with Jason.

    Socrates says: “I’ve noticed three kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen, those who watch what happens, and those who wonder what happened.” – Jason is not any of them, he is “the one who’s trying to prevent what’s happening”, which is the lowest humanity point one could reach, in my opinion.

  5. Congrats on new job Scoble. Nice work. You are now official Facebook evangelist or PR however.
    I am going to remove you from my “Good to know if you are interested in Tech” list….from one of the moste interesting ppl on the web you become just another PR. Goodbye Scoble…this was my last visit

  6. Robert, it seems you are having a Bart Simpson moment by, once again, dropping your pants, for Zuck. Repeatedly seeing your denuded backside with “Mark” emblazoned on one cheek and “Zuckerberg” on the other is getting, frankly, a little embarrasing for your followers. My suggestion is you should encourage Zuck to resign, if for no other reason than to allow the two of you some quality time in a private room.

  7. tl:dr response [or a concise summary for those oldies among us;)] = Zuckerberg isn't a people person. That's why he should step down.

    1. I mean your argument that Zuckerberg is super awesome because he has 500 million users and made 1000 jobs blah blah blah……

      I’m not the first to use this argument but that’s the same as saying McDonalds is the best burger cause they’ve served 245 billion.

      McDonalds is cheap and familiar so people go there. They have a “meal” for $3. Then you watch Super Size Me and realize how horrible it is for you, just like how horrible Facebook is to the free and open web (calling it an “Open Graph” doesn’t make it so). I care about my body so I rarely eat McDonalds and unfortunately all my friends are on facebook so I have to click on a link every now and then. The world would be a better off and more healthy place if neither were around though. No one is denying McDonalds doesn’t fill your stomach though just like facebook is an easy way to talk to friends. You can eat it now but you’ll pay for it later..

    2. You’re saying he’s super awesome because he’s got 500 million users and created 1000 jobs and blah blah blah….

      Someone else has said this before me – that’s the same argument as McDonalds has served 245 billion hamburgers so it stands to reason they have the best burgers.

      McDonalds is cheap and familiar so people keep going back. You can get a whole “meal” for $3. Then you see

    3. I know the feeling, your entire post contradicts EVERYTHING you are saying.

      1. On one hand you are saying Zuck should not listen to Jason because or any of you guys because none of you have ever achieved anything -but last time I looked Jason has made a relative ton of cash. Then you go on to tell us and Zuck what he should do? I am confused as to whether or not you were bored and wrote the post or you are just trying to put the boot in.

      2. You also go on to say Jason’s company is doing so bad that he doesnt even mention it? Now again, to be clear I personally wish Jason would STFU mentioning all the money he is making etc, because literally EVERY second post is about how they are crushing it.

      3. Again, you say that Zuck should not listen to you guys, but then you go on and tell Jobs what he should do. I am flummoxed to understand the message you are trying to convey? Are you saying that these guys should or should not listen to you? As an extension, does that mean that we should not listen to you?

      4. I fundamentally believe that you wrote this post less to defend Zuck and more to shiv Jason for some reason that I do not really care about.

      My own personal view is that Zuck is costing Facebook and costing them big. The 25B valuation is 100% bullshit, as that is the figure people are selling their options for. Until the IPO happens those figures are just static. To be succinct the 25B valuation is about as real as the existence of Unicorns. Could FB be worth 25B? Perhaps, however if you look at the good people of MySpace they discovered that we live in a fickle society and while the enjoyed an extended period of flavor of the month, there is always a new flavor waiting in the wings to usurp your position.

      Granted, I do not believe that is going to happen today or tomorrow to Facebook.

      I watched the Zuck debacle at D8 and the feeling I came away with was that Zuck made excuses and while the words may have been apologetic, I do not believe that he was. I think that Zuck is a spoiled child. He comes from an extremely privileged background and that comes across when he speaks.

      If you look at the Uconnect stuff -remember they settled that battle by paying the Uconnect tens of millions of dollars to go away, Jason -and the original source of that story SAI- showed that Zuck did screw those guys and he really has been a bit of a shit to a lot of people in the valley. This leaves me with the impression that Zuck is a world class asshat and I think he will be removed by the investors at some point under the guise of him being the R&D guy and then out the door completely.

      Your comparison to Gates is pretty insulting to me, because a few years back when Gates was your employer you were giving him verbal blowjobs left and right. Plus gates could actually talk to the investment community without them laughing with derision. Zuck can’t do that. That’s why Google brought in Eric. Eric is boring but stable and he doesnt scare the shit out of the institutional investors.

      Also, you mentioned Bartz has not had as much of an impact on any company as zuck has had on Facebook.

      OK that is just bullshit and you know it, Bartz for all her trucker talk made more profits for AutoDesk in her last year than Facebook has since its creation. I am not saying that she is going to turn Y! around, but I am saying that she has more of a proven track record. The last time I looked you can only spend profits and one would be stupid to accept checks from the Bank of Hype?

  8. So you want Zuckerberg to not worry about the likes of you.
    Then you want Jobs to worry about what the likes of you say.

    If I were you, I'd put that weapon of confusion down and walk away. :)

  9. agree w/ robert here. Calacanis is too busy building his hollywood persona as a tesla driving, courtside laker fan and proving where he eats his $500 meals at in LA. Zuck has made mistakes and issues but is confronting them and addressing them. Zuck will build facebook out and correct what'd needed (i.e. CPO: Chief Privacy Officer). Calacanis will build Mahalo out, sell, and then move onto a different project.

  10. The chorus of it's-cool-to-declare-Apple-evil by a small but vocal minority has been pretty deafening as of late, no? So why wouldn't he? :)

    But did/do you really think that companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook that give you free services would continue to do so without selling you out to advertisers? So at what point did you believe that they would maximize your privacy and minimize their ability to derive revenue from it? Why be shocked or upset about what Zuckerberg (or Google, Twitter, etc) does? Or are you simply hoping that some other CEO could run a better PR story (while doing the same thing behind the curtain)?

  11. I'm not shocked at all. Heck, the world is moving to be more public. Look at Blippy for a good example. But even the founders of Tungle.me (calendaring/scheduling service) say that most of their customers opt in to be public with their calendars. Me? I like Twitter's more public way of working than Facebook's anyway.

    1. Right. Twitter’s Timeline has been public from Day 1, unlike Facebook’s.

      What I’m curious about is if people *really* believed that a massive operation for half a billion people could possibly be run for free without selling non-public info to advertisers? Did you warn your readers to that obvious fact when it mattered? And are you warning them about the same eventuality concerning, say, Google/Android?

    2. Do you think that privacy is something that is almost entirely cultural, as opposed to being so ingrained in our DNA that we’ll indefinitely refuse to let it go? It seems to be the case, and Blippy is a great example. Most younger people I’ve talked to don’t seem to have a problem with the service, while older folks much more often do.

      Are people going to continue to be more social and public with what they do as the internet continues to develop and is able to share more of our actions on a daily basis?

  12. If Zuck had a Bartz moment Robert, that would certainly be the nail in his coffin. (Is that the plan?) What's actually happened here is a monumental 'Zuck up' of epic proportions, which has broken things at so many levels. I no longer trust a whole host of journalists who have been defending Zuck post privacy/ Wikipedia rape and unlike BP who are still accountable, but having to deal with an unintentional disaster, this was pre-meditated and fuelled by a despotic arrogance on an unprecedented scale. All those positive developments are true, but have been overshadowed by the indefensible. The expression 'power corrupts etc.' is exemplified here by the tech media reaction of so many who have, in so many cases, grovelled in fear of exclusion and put a gloss over Facebook's oil spill. Remember this famous scene from Good Will Hunting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-gZintWDc) where Robin Williams reminds the boy genius that he actually hasn't really experienced enough to force his opinions on others… As a parent myself, I think Mark, however nice he may be in person, screwed up terminally on this one. So love Jason or not, he is the brash fuse to an inevitable tinder keg and has merely led where so many cowards have waited to follow. The world is better with Scoble in it, but to hide in Jason's wake and effectively endorse his opinion in a backhanded way is beneath you. Besides which, you work for Rackspace and though that's one of the best companies in the world, it still means any opinion of yours has to be considered on that basis. (What turnover does Lanham get from Facebook, directly or indirectly including App Co's?)

    The irony here is that everyone's perspective is based on Facebook being so big and therefore nobody is properly challenging the fundamental business model which in the grand scheme of things is still failing!

    In my humble opinion, if Zuck could monetize in a more logical way and build trust and style instead of riding roughshod over both, he … See Morecould have billions of users and may even be revered/ 'liked'. … Maybe Mark Zuckerberg is finally showing his vulnerability by his recent actions and demonstrating his limitations by pandering to inevitable investor pressures and the sheer size of the business… who knows! But it is all about context… or maybe there is a sign that some very powerful people are circling on the basis that it is now too big to Zuck up!

    Personally I still think the big 'identity' money or the 20% of the 80:20 rule is outside the platform, which should itself just gradually become a utility like a telephone or electricity. Then maybe the whole world would be truly connected and Zuck gets his vision realised… but advertising as a model won't achieve it in my view. (Facebook last year still only did 700m revenue vs Yahoo at 6.5bn) Depends how far he wants to go… I hope it won't all be a contrived sell out to tie in with the movie and that there is some integrity buried in there somewhere.. Lord knows the world could do with some at the moment and on his opt out approach to privacy and cynical rape/ commercialization of Wikipedia's generously contributed content, provided to a public asset not Facebook's back pocket, I currently couldn't care less what happens to Zuck! and if Sheryl winked at me, I'd bite…

  13. So you don’t allow my comment.Why? Because you don’t like how it sounds and what will ppl think,
    they might agree with me. So, you care about what informations about you goes in public and with this CommentSystem you have choise to allow or not allow, you have control.
    Do you see my point?
    Just give me control and you can do anything with my bio,info,birth,work if you sign me as anonymous.

  14. I agree that Zuck should have a Baratz moment. He should send an open letter (a la Steve Jobs) to Calacanis and the rest of the crowd to STFU.

    I do not agree that he should step down. He's done an amazing job of trying to move the Web past the search era in such a short time. As an observer, it will be more interesting to me to see how Facebook evolves under his leadership.

    I wish Twitter was this controversial!

  15. Calacanis is a bandwagon jumping opportunity seeker and should look in the mirror before bashing anyone.

  16. He's trying to be Jobs-like, a founder who excels as CEO, when he should focus on being like Sergey & Larry / David & Jerry, a visionary who knows when to bring in someone who can really handle the pressures of running a multi billion dollar company.

  17. Fair point, but I suspect he’s having trouble finding a Carol Bartz moment because he knows he’s wrong on this one. That’s a sign of growing maturity, and I think you have to give him credit for this.

  18. nice article – I think revenue is a better measure of success than employee count though.

    He doesn't seem comfortable – or as you say like he's having fun – in the CEO role, he's not a great communicator, he's damaging Facebook's public perception. Get back to that fun place Mark – you can do whatever you like; not everyone is meant to be CEO – be the owner in the background instead?

  19. Hahaha. You have such man-love for Zuck. You’ve fallen head over heels and fallen right into the Zuck Reality Distortion Field. But your dislike of Steve Jobs proves that one can only be influenced by one RDF, and the strength of the nearest RDF cancels all other out. But speaking about Zuckerborg’s interview, if that was a job interview he wouldn’t even get hired for an internship.

  20. These are childish arguments Robert. Basically all you are saying to the critics are “oh yea what about yourself”. Sounds like something from the school yard or from somebody who has no arguments so they attach their critics personally insted of reflecting on what is being said. Wether one like @jason or @shelisrael they do have some valid points.
    For serious article on the matter go to the post of @parislemon http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/05/facebook-steve…)
    He does agree with Calacanis either but at least he sticks to the point of discussion.

  21. I had never thought about it this way before. I was so busy being annoyed at Mark because he was being a douche about privacy issues, but I'd never once considered all the awesome things he's done. Thanks for writing this!

  22. Great observation. The young think they know what the world needs before they ever live in it… to our benefit or to our detriment.

    To me, a different movie scene came to mind… Pinnochio on Pleasure Island.

    90% of the world runs Windows of one flavor or other and make it run feverishly with anti-virus and anti-spyware and anti-whatever-else-is-out-there, then they turn around and for the FUN of it and because it's FREE, they GIVE AWAY everything they're working so hard to stop someone from taking of their hard drives… and more.

    Facebook, Blippy, Foursquare… and yes, Google and others. They're all building the infrastructure of a total surveillance system that even knows who your most trusted friends are. It's all fun and games until it's too late.


    At least Google has Sergey Brin who understands the implications of what they're doing and has a conscience to some extent in the area of human freedoms.

    [Facebook is] one big database of hundreds of millions of people containing the kind of information far beyond what the secret police in 20th-century totalitarian regimes had.
    —Eben Moglen, Software Freedom Law Center

    Jackasses or “Dumb F***s”. Same thing.


  23. As an experienced public speaker I have had the kind of meltdown he has had and gone on to do just fine as a speaker. EVERY time that happens to someone it means they are for whatever reason saying something they are not comfortable with. He was either badgered into taking positions by his handlers that he did not agree with, or he just didn’t think about the topics beforehand. If he learns to be true to himself and speak his mind he’ll be fine. Until then he is in the enviable position of being able to ignore his detractors. The only audience he has to care about are Facebook users.

  24. All good point Scoble. What no one seems to question or ask is why MZ is so cavalier about privacy. I think it’s entirely generational. His gen. grew up with everyone knowing everything – they are much more ‘open book’ much less concerned about privacy. Maybe that’s because the world seems smaller to them, or more connected, or less threatening. I don’t know, I’m not 26. Read this – http://www.wbur.org/npr/127118179) about youropenbook.org “Heidi Irbi in South Carolina was a little surprised that NPR was able to see her photo, her status update — and her number. She thought that information went only to her Facebook “friends.” At the same time, Irbi says she doesn’t really mind that her number went out to the rest of the world. ”

    In short, most kids don’t care. They share everything online, and have since birth, and they are too unfiltered to know or care about privacy. Pretty sure MZ has the same attitude. Love him or hate him, Scoble is right – he runs circles around Calcanis, etc. in terms of accomplishments.

  25. Calacanis is an attention whore: responding to him would be doing him a favor.

    Robert: you of everyone should know that being a CEO is not a static job. it is not able representing the company publicly neither. It is about making hundreds of decisions every week. Mark is a much better person for making those decisions for facebook. He has made some mistakes about privacy but they are learning and moving forward. On the communication front, he has made tremendous progress over the last 2 years (compare his f8 appearances).

    Facebook is going through hypergrowth, continuing to innovate, hiring and retaining super smart people. This is much more than any employee and investor can ask for.

  26. I am with Marian, great article from a new vantage point. Facebook does not cost me money, or make me money, and like the scobleizer, I expect anything and everything on/in my account to be made public (either on purpose or more likely by accident), so I don't give Zuckerberg much thought.

    But he has accomplished a lot. Therefore, my hat is off to him.

  27. I can't help but agree with Robert. I have been in the Anti-Zuck camp for a while; however had not looked at it from this angle.
    Zuckerberg has achieved quite a bit in his life and Facebook has done all that the rest of the networks couldn't (like orkut, etc.) So Zuck screwed-up, well as long as he can fix it, we should move on and get busy connecting on Facebook :)


  28. I call BS. I like your blog posts in general but your coverage of this issue seems like a transparent attempt to kiss up to someone who’s poised to be a powerful player for some time. In my opinion, he deserves all of the criticism that he is getting and then some.

  29. i like the site its very good design rest of the neworks could be orkut etc. but we should move on and get busy connecting on facebook has achieved quite distance bit in his life
    Compare ISA

  30. You can admire what Mark has accomplished and still disagree with his manipulative engineering tactics to make users be open to the public. Don't forget what Mark has NOT done… provide an easily found, clear and honest DELETE button.

  31. I’d second that.
    If he were to step down – and he shouldn’t – the new CEO wouldn’t have the same vision
    It’s his baby. Let him do what he wants!

  32. I have busted Jason Calcanis's balls more then once over the pomp & circus of the Jason nation “look at me” train but I gave it up. He is a smart controversial marketer and I give him huge respect for having the balls to call people and situations out such as the Zucker Melt.

    Your points are accurate regarding some of the accomplishments that have trailed Mark Zuckerberg, but are they of worth, value, and of honesty? Facebook's direction would have been fine if they were honest, and transparent versus the complete duping that has been going on. Sure, Zuckerberg is an interesting and accomplished individual, and who knows the guy might be super nice in person. I have to respect his business accomplishments, but that does not mean I have to like or respect what he is creating? I don't think this company has any regard for honesty whatsoever.

    We all must pay the piper at some point or another and it looks like Mark's meltdown stems from the fact he knows he is wrong, can't account for it, and dodged the D8 questions better then Top Gun getting chased down by IceMan. He looked like a kid who did something really bad but couldn't own up to it. It's sad but such is life sometimes. I do not feel one bit bad for this guy. He's CEO and everyone else is Bitch.

    Time will tell if he remains CEO, and I would love for him to make a comeback on that front but his voice is as annoying as they come. Back that with zero speaking skill and character along with dodging questions is a recipe for disaster. I don't hate Zuckerberg, in fact I quite admire him, but I have little respect for how they are going about things.


  33. Jobs provides another example for Zuckerberg – another reason why Zuckerberg SHOULDN'T take a reduced role. Back in the early 1980s, Jobs decided that he needed to bring in an experienced manager to help him learn the business side of things. A few years later, John Sculley was running Apple, and Jobs was out of the company. Maybe Zuckerberg isn't having fun as the public face of Facebook, but he'd have even LESS fun if he gave someone else the power to boot him out of the company. I don't know that MySpace's Tom is all that happy these days…

  34. If Zuck follows your advice, he'll be toast. Bartz can get away with some things as a “tough bird” that a man, much less a young one, will not be able to do.

  35. FB is a tool for communication, fun etc. People of a certain generation are tired of jumping from tool to tool because of the Marks of the world. When the next tool arrive, if FB continues the same path will become the next MySpace.

    Marks of the world do not realize that once you have such a large number of users, your creation is bigger than you. Users will decide if what you are doing is right. Users will leave you alone eventually.

    And no, I will not look up to a 26 year old because he had the time, opportunity and the brains to discover the virtual wheel. Eventually someone would, someone will find the next one. The hard part will be to still have the same company 10 years later. Then, we can discuss again.

  36. facebook is the success that it is because it/he didnt listen to the likes of you, or any other bloggers/experts (call them what you will). it grew organically (for the most part) and followed a vision. Zuckerberg is a bad face man for the company. Good. He doesn’t need to be. Because building a service that people think they cant live without so seriously trumps the ability to answer Walt Mossberg’s privacy concerns that maybe we need to re-evaluate what’s important in a leader. He/they have built something that transcends the sandbox that is ther internet. Give him time to become a marketer or as you say let him have a Bartz moment. Or better still, let the guy build something amazing, the way he sees it. Is he a visionary? I don’t know. I don’t care. But forcing him to try to be a speaker at a conference for us geeks and geek observers as opposed to a leader in the social tech space, and criticizing him when he fails (spectacularly) at the former is short sighted. If the negative backlash makes him lose focus on what he is doing, providing a service that 98% of the users are thrilled with and 2 or whatever hate, we are all a bit poorer for it.
    In short, he is well advised to avoid conferences and to ignore the ‘nattering nabobs of negativity’. Let him create. Let him fail. That’s the market. But if he can build something as successful as Facebook and still get beat up for sweating profusely, and admittedly sounding pre-programmed, then the coverage and i dare say the reporters providing that coverage really havent prioritized what they value properly.

  37. Robert, the problem with your arguments here is twofold:

    1) Carol Bartz is having a “Carol Bartz” moment because her brand is about telling people to fuck off and doing what she does. She's always been a tough as nails leader who leads by example. Confident, determined and not very concerned with the opinion of others, she was cementing her brand and reputation through the conversation with Arrington, rather than undermining it. Zuckerberg, on the other hand, does not have that type of brand. Given his past and what his company does (collect and monetize people's personal information and communications) an approach similar to Bartz's would do damage because it would reinforce the idea that he doesn't care about Facebook users, which is an unintended outcome. The brand he appears to be trying to cultivate is one that apologizes and makes relatively quick responses to user concerns – a “Fuck off and go to hell” approach does NOTHING to further that.

    2) The idea that Zuckerberg has “changed the world” is fundamentally flawed and a reason as to why Facebook is in more trouble than you're acknowledging. Facebook is a technology platform that enables people to connect and share with people they care about. The world-changing that is going on is more about how people are USING the platform and changing their participation in a digital communications environment. Facebook's philosophy appears to be completely ignorant of the fact that the benefits aggregating to the company are entirely based upon the people using their products. As a company, FB needs to be structured to respect and listen to the people making it successful. It's quite clear in its actions, however, that the company (and Zuckerberg in particular) believes that they are in control of user information and communication. This is false.

  38. So Jobs is a senile old man stuck in his ways and Zuckerberg doesn't have the balls to tell everyone to F*** off. I LOVE IT! haha.

    I think you're right about Zuckerberg and the R&D stuff, the guy is a visionary for sure, and I have to imagine a hell of a leader as well considering what he's accomplished. However, to me, the true sign of a leader is knowing when to let others do what they're good at (especially if they're better at it than you).

    Zuckerberg's persona doesn't match the companies mission statement (to make the world open and connected) and he needs to consider giving facebook a fresh public face to match the companies “open, honest, and transparent” goals. He always seems nervous, which can easily be translated into “he's hiding something” – bad news for a company struggling with privacy issues already.

    But I'm with you buddy, I'd love Zuckerberg to tell everyone to F*** off and continue watching us eat crow as facebook, and facebook's awesome new beta service “Facebook Questions” http://bit.ly/aHOTnp (which answered my question about his weird cult-ish hoodie image by the way) take over the internet as we know it.

    Give. Get. Give
    -Chase Brumfield

  39. Scoble! what up bro?
    It's a show of class that he doesn't respond and frankly is more of a “fuck you” than saying those words to those people. Just responding to them says “you matter” when in fact they don't (relative to facebook). So he should go on not saying anything to them… it's a far worse slap in the face.

  40. Smart post.

    Agree fully…Zuckerberg has changed the world and added 'social' to our vocabulary and the way we live.

    Whether he can acknowledge his own limitations as a leader and focus on what he is good at? So far, actions don't portray a level of maturity or self introspection that would drive that. But an interesting idea.

  41. If Facebook isn't able to produce NET INCOME (not revenue) in the $1 billion/year range within the next 24 months they'll have to go public. In that case the marketplace will demand a new CEO before the IPO is even filed.

    Remember, most visionaries are not good operators at scale. There's no shame in appointing a talented executive to scale and run the business end of the enterprise, just ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

  42. The members of Facebook have happily continued using it for all the things it enables even as the bloggerati and punditocracy furiously debate the implications of Zuckerberg's sweaty forehead at D. Zuckerberg is doing what those 500 million people want–that is demonstrated conclusively by the fact that they still use his service. This is the incontrovertible reality that Zuckerberg focuses on day in and day out. He has a data set far more important to him than the verbiage of his Silicon Valley-centric critics–what the users of Facebook do every day. It gives him the confidence to continue focusing on what he thinks really matters, and not much on what Jason Calacanis, of all people, thinks of him.

    Zuckerberg's achievement is monumental. It's why it made sense to write a book about him and his company. Facebook became so big so fast that many people started accepting it as part of the landscape without ever reflecting on what an amazing thing it is that it grew so fast. It is so monumental in its scale and the speed with which it has been accomplished that it may not be matched by anyone else in the history of business.

    It's conceivable that if he found exactly the right person-his Eric Schmidt–Zuckerberg might let someone else become the company's CEO. But he will inevitably always be its public face, because Facebook so completely reflects his vision and his values. Nobody else can take responsibility when he controls 3 of 5 board seats.

    You can fault the vision and fault the values, but you cannot ignore the fact that it has led 500 million people to want to use the service he created.

  43. “Zuckerberg is doing what those 500 million people want …”? I think it's a stretch to assume that if people don't leave Facebook that they're happy with the state of affairs. Furthermore, the fact that users don't cancel their accounts is a hollow validation of the platform. The real danger for Facebook are the numbers hidden behind the 500 million number;

    1) How many people have curtailed their activity and/or have for all practial purposes stopped providing content/updates of any kind?

    2) Of the users that use the service most frequently, how many of them are even monetizable? Strip out Zynga game players and the numbers are negligible.

    I agree completely with @awaldstein above re Mark: “Whether he can acknowledge his own limitations as a leader and focus on what he is good at? So far, actions don't portray a level of maturity or self introspection that would drive that. But an interesting idea.”

  44. Thank you Scoble for being fair about yourself and the blogging community. Zuck has made a big change to the way we perceive web and has made mistakes like every other good big Silicon Valley company has made. We are too eager to hang him for his mistakes.
    @Kontra thinks advertising is selling out customers. We better find him a place with no net, TV or radio. Apple is not evil. Jobs has his own vision. Many people dislike his methods. Simple and common thing.

  45. Yahoo is a dying brand no matter how much vocabulary Bartz showers on everyone. Her methods are doing a good job from keeping people from discussing Yahoo's failure to build upon great acquisitions and huge userbase.

  46. I sure hope Zuck has made a big change to the way we perceive the web.

    And no, every other good big Silicon Valley company has not made the kind of mistakes with people's privacy and information which Zuckerberg has. Period.

    Jobs “own vision” has resulted in a $232.9 Billion marketcap, which is based on real revenues from customers who pay a premium for the experience and have never been attacked by a virus.

    Apple's market cap is almost 10 times Facebook's Market cap of $25 Billion, which is based on future potential advertising revenues assumed by an investor. To make those future potential revenues Mark Zuckerberg & those great hires are betraying his users' trust and repeatedly making them vulnerable to a worm that attacks their computers – oh yeah, IF they are working on a PC and not a Mac.

    The consumer purchase market which Apple aims for is 7 times bigger than the advertising market. Apple's market is growing. The advertising market is shrinking.

    Let's see. Who else thinks Jobs “vision” is pretty cool? Let's see the company with the dominant share of the internet advertising market, Google, is launching its own phone to compete with Apple. Oh and the guy who established Google as the dominator in the internet advertising market, Tim Armstrong, is pursuing a content strategy at AOL.

    Hey but if you want to tell everyone that Zuckerberg knows best, I'm sure Jobs, Schmidt, and Armstrong are all saying – “good luck with that!”

    Katherine Warman Kern

    Katherine Warman Kern

    Why on earth no one

  47. I allow all comments unless they are racist or illegal or are spam or something else that doesn't add to the conversation. In your case I was simply sleeping and first time commenters get stuck in moderation.

  48. I allow all comments unless they are racist or illegal or are spam or something else that doesn't add to the conversation. In your case I was simply sleeping and first time commenters get stuck in moderation.

  49. Quantity or quality, please elaborate on “He’s done 100x more in his few years of running Facebook than Carol Bartz has AT ANY COMPANY”. What is “more”? “More” what? I would hardly characterize $500 million in revenues and marginal profitability as more of much that matters in the “real world” compared to Yahoo, AutoDesk, and so on.

    In any case, humor me and explain what “100X more” is all about…

  50. Despite the over-active sweat glands on stage, and any personal thoughts I may have about FB and its privacy regime, I think Zuck still has some tricks up his sleeve and is shrewd enough with his public face that he'll keep folks guessing for a while to come.

    For instance, while I may be giving him more credit than I should, I think his posturing around the sweatshirt on stage was a bit of shrewd PR. Never mind that the insignia looks like something straight out of a Dan Brown novel, consider how much free publicity that he and FB have gotten over the last few days because of it. Also, consider that D8 was full of big names vying for the spotlight and somehow he's managed to grab the lion's share of the press coverage.

  51. This piece and all of the comments seem to operate firmly within the tradition of Corporations as the Heroic Adventures of their CEOs. So Facebook is seen as Zuckerberg's achievement, therefore Zuck must be way cleverer than us, and it's seen as a success like Apple or Whole Foods or Lexus.

    I'd like to suggest that Facebook is not a success because of its management. Social networking websites have a circular 'winner takes all' quality in which users flock to the site that is perceived to be the site that everyone's going to. And the users create the value for the other users. When an entire sector has that characteristic, the market leader doesn't have be smarter than the competition. One of the players is going to get lucky because of network effects.

    Facebook got lucky because somebody had to. It's the logic of the sector. The challenge now is, can it hang onto what it's got? Can Facebook stay top dog, or will it go the way of MySpace and Geocities? Thus far, we've seen social websites as startups. We haven't seen what it's like to be an incumbent, a market leader trying to hold its market share against new insurgents. And we don't know what tactics will work.

  52. 1). Scoble, you're totally right. 2). I never understood why the CEO has to be the default face of a company. Scott Monty's doing a bang up job for ford. 3). The social media definitely needs to find someone ridiculously persuasive representing us in front of Congress

  53. Your friend Gary Vaynerchuk has pointed out that Zuckerberg just signed a *five year deal* with Zynga at *30 percent*.

    Privacy, shmaivacy. He's got the Zynga account and the Farmville people, they give up their privacy to play their games. Mission accomplished. Let the rest of the world squawk, he's making bank.

  54. Bartz is someone who likes the spotlight.

    Zuckerberg is someone who does not.

    Bartz is very personable.

    Zuckerberg is not.

    Facebook is very personal.

    Yahoo is not.

    Bartz's language is seen as part of her colorful personality, the celebrity CEO telling it like it is.

    If Zuckerberg tried that, it would be seem to be very creepy and dismissive.

    Bartz takes aim at Yahoo's critics, most of whom are analysts and pundits.

    Zuckerberg would be directly telling his users to f**** off.

    The main thing both Bartz and Zuck have in common is not really answering questions.

    Bartz uses obscenity to hide it.

    Zuckerberg rambles on in a stream of consciousness.

    Both of these approaches seem to work for their CEOs.

    Why should Zuck be like Bartz?

    Why would Bartz start acting like Zuck?

  55. I think the swiping at Calacanis is way out of line. Can anyone refute anything Jason said that wasn't true about Zuckerberg?. The only thing people can throw at Jason is that he hustles or he is opinionated or brash. Since when did we start looking down on that?

    This entire post seemed to be more about you Robert then Zuckerberg. Your own shortcomings. However I think I have finally figured you out: You are just a harmless unapologetic geek who does try to help entrepreneurs. I actually think you are somehow trying to “help” Marc with this post. I don't think it will work, but it's too late to hit the delete button now.

  56. I do three things for them: 1. I'm their ambassador to Silicon Valley and SF tech companies (they are in Texas, I live here and attend lots of events for Rackspace). 2. I help them with PR, I know most of the world's tech press. 3. I travel the world learning about the bleeding edge of the Internet for http://building43.com where I, and Rocky, do videos and also bring that learning back to the company so they keep their offerings up to date.

  57. I do not believe he or I suggested that, however; I know as customer of Rackspace and I am willing to bet that I can call your CEO to esquire about your belief that Zuck has delivered to the people that pay your salary.

    PLZ oh PLZ give me shit.

    Bottom line, are you the measure of your convictions?

  58. Carol Bartz took an already existing company that had about 250 million in sales up to 1.5 billion in sales. Impressive, but not even close to starting a company from scratch and getting to $700 million in sales, not to mention a second company exists on top of his that is doing somewhere around $300 million a year in revenues. Geesh, you REALLY think what Carol did is more impressive? I don't. As for her job at Yahoo, well, she swears a lot. What else has she done there yet?

  59. The irony here is that everyone's perspective is based on Facebook being so big and therefore nobody is properly challenging the fundamental business model which in the grand scheme of things is still failing!

    In my humble opinion, if Zuck could monetize in a more logical way and build trust and style instead of riding roughshod over both, he could have billions of users and may even be revered/ 'liked'. … Maybe Mark Zuckerberg is finally showing his vulnerability by his recent actions and demonstrating his limitations by pandering to inevitable investor pressures and the sheer size of the business… who knows! But it is all about context… or maybe there is a sign that some very powerful people are circling on the basis that it is now too big to Zuck up!

    Personally I still think the big 'identity' money or the 20% of the 80:20 rule is outside the platform, which should itself just gradually become a utility like a telephone or electricity. Then maybe the whole world would be truly connected and Zuck gets his vision realised… but advertising as a model won't achieve it in my view. (Facebook last year still only did 700m revenue vs Yahoo at 6.5bn) Depends how far he wants to go… I hope it won't all be a contrived sell out to tie in with the movie and that there is some integrity buried in there somewhere.. Lord knows the world could do with some at the moment and on his opt out approach to privacy and cynical rape/ commercialization of Wikipedia's generously contributed content, provided to a public asset not Facebook's back pocket, I currently couldn't care less what happens to Zuck! and if Sheryl winked at me, I'd bite…

  60. Let those saying Mark Zuckerberg should step down first learn about his age, how valuable Facebook is and whether or not any one of them can do better. Then tell him to step them if they have the gull to match his.

  61. If you remember Apple threw out Jobs, the best tech CEO of all-time. You want me to point a bigger mistake. What Zuck is trying is in new uncharted territory and FB is surely trying to get it right. I don't know what motivated you to talk Apple here – a 30 year old technology behemoth against a 5 year old company.

  62. Robert, you don't have to approve this comment, Censor it with full abandon as you long as you get the core message, Please can you try not to delay publishing the comments which agree the least with your blog posts. I for one have begun to notice, your scented flora appear first with their comments. It is only after you have published a fresh post, so the previous one is stale and loses its readership, hey presto, the least agreeable comments start appearing. It clearly allows you state you don't censor, whilst influencing the audience sizes for viewing favourable versus unfavourable comments. Lets keep the debate fair. In any case some of my more successful blogging friends seem to practice the mantra no publicity is bad publicity. It is you preaching greater transparency on the web. Lets see you practice it. Thanks!

  63. Jason says and does what ever makes him look good to Google and Matt Cutts. His entire business model for Mahalo is built around kissing Google's butt.

  64. If he's not having fun, you're right, he should do something else. That being said, I was reviewing some of the stats on Facebook for a marketing project for a client (see here if interested: http://seewhy.com/blog/2010/06/10/10-eye-poppin…) and how could it not be fun to run a company that is this successful???

    Zuck is about to completely take over the Internet. That has to be at least a little bit fun. Very hard to step away from that level of power.