Zuckerberg joins Stalin and Dubya

Posted on December 16, 2010

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So Mr Facebook must be well pleased today. Not only is Glassdoor listing his company as the best place to work, but he is also Time’s Person of the Year. He’s joining a list that includes Stalin, Hitler, Walis Simpson and George W Bush – not exactly popular in their own right.

So what is it that Mr Z does that is so popular and why is he equally hated. My view is that his success and failure to impress is rolled up in the same answer. He’s a huge experimenter and he encouragesw others to do the same. Take a look down the list of comments from employees and you’ll see the words pace, freedom, energy, everyday etc appear. He’s letting people off the leash to go and play.

That’s great for a work culture, but for a world culture he’s playing with something of immense power – it’s like a cultural nuclear bomb. I just can’t see Oppenheimer saying to his team, “Hey guys, this split atom stuff is brilliant. Take some home and play with it and see what you can make. If it’s cool we’ll release it in all major US cities.” Yet that is what he’s done and that’s why people dislike him.

It remains to be seen what damage and what benefit the cultural destruction of privacy will do to our young people. What will today’s 12 year old Facebookers be like having grown up in an age where nothing was hidden. It is certain Mr Z doesn’t know as he never had such a cultural tool at his disposal when he was 12. In many ways he is a digital immigrant to the very tool he has created.

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