Facebook, an Enormous Company Run by a Child

Well, Move Fast and
Break Things
may be a great motto in a dorm room, but it hasn’t worked out
all that well for Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook rose to a Forbes rating of the 4th
most valuable brand in the world.

There’s a lot at stake.

Facebook has
moved fast. Blindingly fast and lots
of stuff has been broken, most notably when lying to its users about
confidentiality and selling user-data for profit to bad actors, including those
who most likely have criminally swung elections in America and misrepresented
the Brexit referendum in Britain.

Experts, prosecutors,
defenders, users and national governments have all taken a swing at Facebook
and they know far more than I am able to parse about the inner workings of this
very complicated company.

But, personally, I think it all boils down to Facebook
being run by a kid. Owning 66% of Facebook, no one can second-guess the

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t
think Zuckerberg is a bad guy, with evil intentions. So, what do I mean when I charge him with too little
maturity to run so large a show?

Well, he’s a wildly smart guy
and his background education is quite diverse, but he’s never been out in
the world of work
. And out there,
rubbing elbows among we commoners, is where one matures. Mark was raised in privilege, all the best schools and
never a day-job.

That’s not a disqualifier but it suggests a need,
particularly at age thirty-four, for mentoring—the reflection upon and advice of others before shooting from the
hip. Mark had such mentors early on,
but he dismissed them one-by-one, along with his founding associates at

Like the Trump Cabinet, they’ve largely been shown the door and
replaced, or left in frustration. 
Only two of Facebook’s first twenty employees still work at the company
and you can probably guess that Zuck is one of them.

, was Zuckerberg’s college roommate. The two dropped out of
Harvard together to move to California and create Facebook. He left ten years

, a cofounder of Facebook served as the site’s first
spokesman. He picked up and went elsewhere fifteen years ago.

, another co-founder sued Zuckerberg and the two reached a
settlement. Gone in 2004.

, an early employee at Napster was the founding president
of Facebook. Gone thirteen years ago.

came on board soon after it was founded and built-out the
entire initial hardware infrastructure. Hired in 2004 and gone in 2009.

Facebook’s first VP of Sales, came in 2005 and left in
2006—and on and on.

And as I write this, Chris Cox,
the top product executive at Facebook as well as a top lieutenant to Zuckerberg
has just turned off the lights and left the company. Chris Daniels, the
executive in charge of the WhatsApp messaging platform left along with him.

WIRED commented, “If Mark Zuckerberg were to ever leave the
company, Cox, his longtime confidant and a representative of the engineering
and product side, would be set up to run it.”

Now, it seems not.

In a statement, Cox said, “For over a decade, I’ve been sharing the
same message that Mark and I have always believed: Social media’s history is
not yet written, and its effects are not neutral. It is tied up in the richness
and complexity of social life. As its builders, we must endeavor to understand
its impact—all the good, and all the bad—and take up the daily work of bending
it towards the positive, and towards the good. This is our greatest

The point of which is that, with Zuck, it seems to be my way or the highway and that’s not
working out all that well for a thirty-four year old. The company’s receiving
incoming-fire from all sides and its commander-in-chief has never faced an

Zuck’s still a kid,
with a kid’s stubbornness, a limited view of the world and a very profit-focused business plan.
That’s made him America’s fourth richest individual. Good on him, but he’s shown
himself to be far from the nation’s most trustworthy.

Trustworthiness is most often
gained from skills that result from direct participation in the down-and-dirty
work common to those of us who have to answer
for our actions

Zuckerberg answers to no one, from his Facebook associates to
the parliaments and congresses of nations.

And it shows.

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