There is a fantastic article, Mark Zuckerberg’s close-up,  by Peter Foster in today’s Financial Post – definitely recommended reading for anyone who has seen The Social Network movie and is fascinated by the portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg.

Peter reviews Mark vs. the Mark portrayed in The Social Network movie and in doing so gives a run down on the current financial situation facing Facebook.  Eloquently written, Peter reminds us that the ‘moral’ issue today is Facebook’s business model that proffers users information to buyers.   He writes:

A more fundamental “moral” issue, however, relates to the nature of Facebook’s business model, which is based on the exploitation of networks of alleged friendship to sell stuff. Read more:

Note:  I haven’t figured out why the SEC would force an IPO on Facebook – is this because of Goldman Sachs?

I see Mark Zuckerberg as the misunderstood genius – what I can’t tell from the movie is just how much of an idea was shared from the Winklevoss twins.  If it was only a conversation in a fancy private club, as depicted in the movie, then the $65M for a conversation is a pretty good return given they didn’t execute.  If they paid MZ while he blew them off looking at the code he did not use, then arguably the issue is larger.

In MZ’s defense (and I can’t help likely a smart a** who would re-calculate 18K + 1K = $19K for a condescending lawyer), the right idea is important but development and refinement of the idea to create a business and its online execution or activation is extremely difficult to nail.  I guess that’s why Mark Z is person of the year.   Now take time to read Time’s article – it certainly depicts Mark in a completely different light and at the same time, explains just what an amazing accomplishment facebook really is.

2 thoughts on “Zuckerberg – “morally challenged geek or misunderstood genius” – Peter Foster, Financial Post

  1. Yes, Facebook is a tremendous accomplishment. Here are a few of the milestones achieved in Facebook’s history:

    2008 – Facebook violates copyright by claiming all content in User Accounts belongs to Facebook.
    2008 – Facebook apologises and recants its position
    2009 – Facebook violates copyright by claiming all content in Dormant User Accounts belongs to Facebook
    2009 – Facebook apologises and recants its position
    2010 – Facebook stomps all over privacy laws by making User Account information available to third party corporations
    2010 – Facebook apologises and recants its position
    2011 – Facebook attempts to worm around SEC regulations preventing public trading without and IPO

    And for these achievements, Facebook is applauded and Mark Zuckerberg is proclaimed Person of the Year by Time. Yet I doubt anyone would want to spend much time in a room with someone who steps on your toes as often as Mark Zuckerberg.

    Is he being lauded because he is making a large sum of money? It certainly can’t be as a result of his support for small business; he is on record as saying he doesn’t wan them on Facebook. And it can’t be because Facebook is a terrific product – Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t even use it. How terrific can it be?

    Facebook is simply the biggest blower on the newest tech bubble.

  2. Conrad –

    First off – thanks for visiting my blog. I love your comments. I’m totally guilty of being sucked into the movie – which I just watched. And this fascination helps me forget some of the salient issues (pretty freaking salient)you raise – despite having blogged about privacy issues in the past.

    As always – I love your frankness & point of view. Clearly, Facebook is worthy of a long in person discussion and without your comments, my blog lacks the multiple points of view.

    Admittedly, there is a part of me that agrees with the recognition that, for right or wrong, this company has significantly changed the internet behaviours of 1/12th of the world’s population. This change has its costs, however. Thanks for keeping us on the up and up.

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