I've been following the exploits of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook long enough to know that Zuckerberg is toast. He shouldn't be toast, though, because Facebook wouldn’t be better off with a different CEO – but still, this seems to be the goal of some dark powers.
The forces of evil are lining up to pepper Zuckerberg with invectives and doing everything possible to create insecurities both within the company and among its users.
Let me preface this by saying that many readers will find this column funny, since it epitomises all my old fuddy-duddy views that have now become expected of me as I've been writing about tech since the beginning of personal computing. I'm only writing this column to inform outsiders of the inner workings of this tech mania you are always reading about.
So here we are. Zuckerberg stands at the top of the hill and I guess everyone hates him. The Social Network portrayed Zuckerberg as an unlikeable introvert with a "kid in a sandbox" mentality. Nobody in tech has had a movie made about them so early in their career.
In my opinion, Zuckerberg is part of the fourth generation of modern Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Robert Noyce, Chuck Peddle and their ilk comprise the first generation. Gary Kildall, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are part of the second generation. Then comes Marc Andreessen, Shawn Fanning and Elon Musk in the third generation. The fourth generation is led by Mark Zuckerberg.
I'll admit that the latest generation is not the best bunch of folks. They are all preoccupied with social networking largely because they are looking for a way to be more social than they really are. You never hear from any of them, and would only find them at one of their own company mixers where they tend to be aloof and weird. I rarely encounter any of them, despite my proximity, and I've never even attempted to chat with Zuckerberg, which I find weird but natural.
As a result, I get to analyse things from a more objective distance and I can assure you that the community surrounding Zuckerberg is out to get him – or at least out to dethrone him.
I do not know whether the kids of Silicon Valley's gen-four have what it takes to resist peer group pressure. These folks view social media as the be-all and end-all, and they can be manipulated by more savvy members of the older communities who are not as invested in everything social. The gen-three bullies lord over gen-four and have mostly become hard-ass investors and know-it-alls with big portfolios and lots of opinions. I see this gen-three group as more brutal and destructive than anything before.
Many of these folks are unpleasant to be around and they're after Zuckerberg and his social standing. I do not know why a guy who invented Facebook, actually managed to monetise it, and led a super successful IPO should be ousted. But okay, I'll play along and watch what happens.
Well, the IPO price was set too high so that the company got a lot more money in its coffers than it should have. How is this bad? It's only trouble for the shareholders who need to pay closer attention. The only reason anyone at the company considers the falling share price a big deal is because it can be used to leverage hate on Zuckerberg and get him spooked so he actually does something stupid. Then they can pounce.
We are witnessing a smear campaign that has some ulterior motive. Some group or individual really wants to get control of Facebook because it is some sort of personal goldmine.
If Zuckerberg is still CEO a year from now, I'll be surprised. If Facebook is the same company two years from now, I'd be more surprised. I'm prepared, but I'm not expecting to be surprised.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
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