Sunday, 2 December 2007

Zuckerberg Shrugged: Man Vs. Ecosystem

It's in the Webs DNA to go around obstructions. We've seen it in the past with things like P2P, online music downloading.

There's something to DNA and Umair's posting on the subject got me thinking. So let's talk about what's wrong with the DNA of Facebook and how they let this whole Beacon issue get completely out of control.

Firstly, we could blame Harvard of course. Old school business models that have at their core a specific type of elitism (a friend of mine who did his degree there called "The H Bomb"). But it appears that the arrogance of Facebook has begun to mirror Zuckerberg himself as he stands of the PR stages of the world commanding his people from high upon the hills. With the ever expanding belief that his opinions and contributions should supersede those of the Facebook members themselves.

He built the company so there must be something to this. He's the one who refused to sell at a billion dollars and as it turns out, he was right. But the real question becomes, is his type of thinking 'sustainable' in the digitally connected ecosystem of the Web?

Missing The Forest For The Trees

Zuckerberg seems to take a classic command and control approach to his ecosystem management. Why do I say this? Command and control models have these characteristics:

- Model of master and servant
- Knowledge as a tool for domination
- Top down system of management and control
- Belief that ecosystems are static
- Belief that what happens outside the ecosystem does not impact what goes on inside it

Hum...sound familiar? Think of it this way, if Zuckerberg were in charge of a forest, he would end up cutting down the entire thing, leaving a barren landscape at the end of it. So much for the forest ecosystem.

And, in the end, will that be good for business? Well, one might suggest in the short term it probably brings in a lot of revenue and might appear to be successful. But similar to what has happened in the logging industry, in the end, you just end up with a wasteland and a lot of really pissed off community members on both sides of the fence.

And Zuckerberg? I think he should consider forgetting about business for a while and consider taking an ecology and environmental planning course or two (or three). Otherwise as Zuckerberg shrugs, he'll end up missing the forest for the trees.


AE6RT said...

I could not agree more with you and Umair re Facebook's culture and Zuckerberg. Microsoft all over again, complete with broken trust, but not yet (by any means) the world domination to go with it. This guy has not the sense to quietly walk down the hill and have his way with the herd. He insists on running down with his oversized ego blazing, scaring them all away.

Mark said...

If money is the measure of a person, then Zuckerberg is truly the legend that he believes he is. But I think he resembles more of a Marc Andreesen - a kid who came up with a great idea, and began to believe the hype of his backers and promoters. Arguably, Andreesen was bigger, and more influential in the mid-90s than Zuckerberg is now. And yet, how many people who might read this comment can even place the name today?

I'm not sure whether it is irony or cynicism that characterizes the growing disparity between what Facebook creates in terms of environment, and what Facebook is becoming in terms of a business via its business practices and management culture. Or, put another way, Facebook-the-company is being obsolesced by Facebook-the-ethos.

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