coffee talk, oct 2010

As appropriate as it is, The New Yorker published a lengthy ten-page feature on Mark Zuckerberg (The Face of Facebook by Joe Vargas) just in time for the release of the new movie The Social Network.  The article begins with details on what Zuckerberg has on his Facebook profile including a few titles from his photo albums, some of his status updates, the places he’s been via Facebook Places, and his bio: “I’m trying to make the world a more open place”.  I don’t know about you but there were a couple of geeky occasions in the past when my friends and I looked up his profile and attempted to add him as a friend solely to break our curiosities free from the mysterious guy behind this whole thing.

Zuckerberg is obviously a very, at least technically, intelligent man, and although this may spark a debate I must say that I’m glad he walked away from Yahoo’s billion dollar offer four years ago.  I remember at the time this happened, so many people from so many different industries were rolling their eyes and criticizing how Zuckerberg was a dumba** for not taking the offer.  Some even went as far as saying that Zuckerberg was being “cocky” and too conceited for thinking that his enterprise was worth more than a billion dollars.   I really hate how Facebook changes its privacy policies and sometimes without notifying its users.  And sometimes it scares me how seriously (and pathetically) people’s unnecessary drama can revolve around this virtual platform.  But I’ve got to admit: I give Zuckerberg two thumbs up for keeping the enterprise for himself – even if it meant walking away from a billion dollars.  Why, you may ask?

There are many articles/comments/etc out there that compliment, praise, and worship Zuckerberg for being the pioneer or the creator of establishing a new depth to today’s digital age marketing/advertising/making money model.  Facebook has become an open platform for various applications to make money…i.e.  Zynga (the makers of FarmVille and Mafia Wars) is expected to earn more than five hundred million dollars this year!  Indeed, it is safe to say that “success” is a huge understatement for Facebook’s achievements so far.

But I just want to point out that perhaps 99% of this success comes from us: the mass users of the Internet.  Yes, Zuckerberg did create a platform with all the complex codes and whatever-else techies call it; but our willingness and participation has led Zuckerberg to get lucky enough to get Facebook churning on a solid and successful momentum.  Today’s marketing strategy revolves highly around digital technology and our participation.  And I feel as though Zuckerberg knew all this because if he had given up Facebook for a billion dollars, he wouldn’t have become as powerful as he is today by getting all this credit.  He’s going to be long talked about when today becomes nothing but the past…  The thing is that this all should not come as a surprise.  Social networking has always existed… the term is being tossed around more frequently today because it’s only beginning to become a high priority.  If it weren’t for our openness, Zuckerberg will never be able to “make the world a more open place”.