Facebook’s Zuckerberg is no vilain

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 12.17.2010 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (1 Comment)

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Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook a few years ago while studying at Harvard in what is now a very famous story thanks to Ben Mezrich’s “Accidental Billionaires” and the movie that was inspired from the book; The Social Network. If you have not read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend doing so. Both will give you an inside look at how a tiny operation started by a few friends became the largest social network in the world. Facebook has been called all kinds of things both good and bad. The bottom line though is that as I wrote recently, I think Facebook is going to be relevant for a very long time and represents the best investment opportunity out there. The big problem of course is that it’s a very difficult investment to make given the fact that the company remains private.

Mark Zuckerberg’s story has been made very public and by all accounts he wasn’t an angel. He had to go to courts and give out both money and recognition on more than one occasion. There have been countless rumors regarding hisAs well, Zuckerberg’s Facebook remains on a thin and grey line regarding privacy. Also, since Facebook is gaining power and influence very quickly, there have been a lot of worries regarding his role in the company.

Social Network Trailer

Give him a break

I’m not saying that some of his mistakes were not serious. But Zuckerberg was 19 when all of this started. At 19 years old, most of us did things that we would prefer not be public. Professional athletes and hollywood celebrities have provided countless examples of bad behaviour, bad examples and how money and fame could get to someone. That is not to excuse what Zuckerberg did for he does deserve some blame. But I don’t think he should be held to the same standard that we expect from a typical CEO.

He is looking more executive-like

As young and irresponsible as Zueckberg once looked, he is looking more and more like an executive. Mark recent gave an interview to 60 minutes that you can see below. He behaved like most Sillicon Valley executives and even looked mature when you consider that he is 26 years old.  As well, Facebook’s progress in recent months and its ability to stay on course and focused on growth and on the user experience rather than making the quick money has been very impressive.

60 minutes video

Charity

A few weeks before the release of the Social Network,  Mark Zuckerberg made a $200 million donation towards the New Jersey school system. It was seen by some as opportunistic and by others as noble. But a lot of doubt remained. I hope that last week settled the debate about Zuckerberg’s intentions. He became the youngest member to sign the “Giving Pledge“, the Gates/Buffet initiative that has been gathering pledges by billionaires to give away over 50% of their net worth to charity over their lifetimes. Sure, he has enough money to do it. But do you really think that he needed to do this? No, he clearly did not.

In the end

I think it’s easy to set Zuckerberg is the vilain given his role, his numerous errors and all of the legitimate worries about Facebook. But I think he deserves credit for what he has been doing in the past few years both with Facebook and with his personal holdings. Is he making the world a better place? I would say he clearly has been.

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1 Comment

  1. avatar

    [...] much easier to make that judgments years later right? Very few people would say that Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg made an error when they quit college or that a few of Warren Buffett‘s big bets would work [...]

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