Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg: Step Down

June 3, 2010 · 77 comments in Social Media,tech business

Dear Mark,

First off, my congratulations. The company–and team–you have created are very likely to be remembered as the most important–and successful–new company of this decade.

You have taken Facebook from fraternity row at a few elite campuses to everywhere. Facebook has more users than America has citizens. Being on Facebook today is more important than being in the Yellow Pages was a generation ago.

You have ignored courtships and advice to be acquired. You have gone it essentially alone and you have succeeded wildly.

Mark, I think you would be wise if at this point, you took a few of the billions you are entitled to and went home, or maybe kicked yourself upstairs to become Facebook chairman and chief visionary officer or one of those titles.

I say this not just for the good of your own reputation, but for the good of your advertisers and assorted business associates. It is for the good of your investors, your employees and certainly for the group you seem to overlook when formulating  business strategies: your users.

Perhaps, you think that because we users don’t pay for your Facebook service, then our wishes and our rights, such as choices over our own privacy settings can be disdained or even abused.

That is not the case, as Google and Twitter, two other free services will tell you, the best way to build an ENDURING franchise is to do right by your customers above all else.

Mark, I emphasize “enduring” because Facebook has not yet reached that status. As big and successful as it has become, there is still a danger that tens of millions of your customers will wake up one morning to discover something newer and shinier and more fun.

Because Facebook has treated us so badly, there is still the possibility that we can just turn and walk away. Tech history is filled with former champions such as IBM and Microsoft who were pretty damned sure their customers would find it too difficult to abandon them, only to wake up one morning to find themselves abandoned by millions of formerly “owned” customers.

Mark, I have seen you speak a few times and candidly, I have hoped that as your company has grown so would you as it’s leading representative.  Being interviewed at D8, on the same dais as top leaguers like Steve Jobs is a huge opportunity for you to state your company’s case on issues that seem to disturb most people interacting with Facebook.

Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg are topnotch interviewers, but they were also your hosts. They asked tough questions in a nice way. You had to know those questions were coming. On your level, you should have smart people in the back room asking you those same questions.

Mark, watch the above video. You swung and missed at every important question. Often, you just answered different question than the ones being asked, and Mark you did yourself and your company no good. I would say you did yourself some damage.

Mark, the tech industry has a long history of young entrepreneurs who were challenged to grow as fast as the companies they had created. Some succeeded and are still at the helms of their corporate ships. Others did not and wisely stepped down to allow firmer hands to guide the ship.

It is time for you to do exactly that, Mark. You will be remembered as a brilliant founder. You will have planted seeds to a mighty tree that will live on.

Think about it.

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{ 48 comments }

Glenn Johnson June 6, 2010 at 7:40 am

Thank you for stating what I and many I’ve talked to in my little world have been saying. I’ve posted on this as well to “ask the question.” I think that so many have said so much about privacy, that the inherent question is why are we having to ask the question in the first place?

His time has come–pay him his due and move on. “For a young man who’s gone from digital programmer to digital prophet, his drive to maintain control of his company against all offers is staggering and still somewhat mysterious ($10m in 2004 to $24b in 2009). This mystery of control and command of his power over his company is exactly what lead to the recent blow up over privacy (he simply thought that at 26 years old—he knew best). Based upon the allegory detailed in Fitzpatrick’s piece—I’m not convinced that any real lesson’s were learned, I predict it won’t be the last time Zuckerberg and team face such a response.” http://www.glennluxe.blogspot.com

Keep up the great Tweets and Posts, always fun and insightful reading!

LG June 6, 2010 at 4:10 am

Total crap. Bill Gates was pretty terrible at public speaking at the start of his career. Yeah maybe he should stick someone in a public facing role to appease the media, but the only people who care are tech blogger’s. Punters just want a better facebook (why they want facebook in the first place, god only knows!, but that’s why i’m not a multi-millionaire.)

If they plan to IPO I doubt I’d invest if he was gone. Look at microsoft performance since Gates stepped down – 10 yrs of flatline.

J Edwards June 6, 2010 at 3:33 am

To all the commenters with the attitude ‘Stop whining just because privacy settings scare you’, you’re missing the point. The issue isn’t about spending time setting preferences. Who on earth said it was? This is about Facebook repeatedly breaching its Policies by sharing data to advertisers that it is not to, regardless of your preferences. Nobody minds sitting for 20 minutes and setting their privacy preferences, its expected on any network you join. What we do mind is finding that yet another Facebook ‘glitch’ has made that information public anyway. If the Government or your Health Organization or your Bank released your personal information repeatedly against its own policy, you would most definititely want them brought to task. I’m not allowed to get away with messing up at work so many times. Are you? Here’s a few but not all examples:

JUNE 2010. Facebook Friend Finder bug allows all EMAIL ADDRESSES put into the Friend Finder to be indexed by Google.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/04/facebook_email_indexing_snafu/

MAY 2010. Wall Street Journal publishes news that Facebook has severely breached its Privacy Policy by sharing personally identifiable information such as name, age, location and occupation to advertisers when they click on an ad:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704513104575256701215465596.html
Facebook’s President for Public Policy Elliott Schrage said this to the New York Times the week before:
“We don’t share your information with advertisers. Our targeting is anonymous. We don’t identify or share names. Period.”
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/11/facebook-executive-answers-reader-questions/

MAY 2010. A bug exposes users CHAT to their friends.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/195663/facebook_fixes_bug_that_exposed_private_chats.html

MAY 2010. A bug makes BIO and QUOTATIONS public for over a week. It begins with the iphone and quickly spreads to the entire mainframe.
http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/17/facebook-privacy-glitch-exposes-your-cheesy-movie-quotes/

FEBRUARY 2010. A bug sends thousands of PRIVATE EMAILS between members to several individuals. Most of the emails were then published.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703795004575087940553021032.html

MAY 2009. A bug makes public PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESSES even if they are set to private.
http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/07/a-facebook-bug-revealed-personal-e-mail-addresses/

MARCH 2009. A bug exposed users PRIVATE WALL POSTS and PHOTOS to a default of Show EVERYONE.
http://techcrunch.com/2009/03/20/facebook-bug-reveals-private-photos-wall-posts/

Is it right that a company should breach its policies so many times at the expense of its members? The Canadian, Australian, European and US Privacy Commissioners don’t seem to think so, nor do the representatives of Epic and the other 16 privacy organizations with official complaints about their mishandling of members data. Facebook cannot be allowed to continue to breach members privacy and then pop up with a cheeky smile saying ‘Sorry, it was a glitch..’, and then get let off the hook. Is that how it works in your job? Because it doesn’t in mine. If Facebook finds a glitch which is exposing data it shouldn’t, it should use its notification function to tell all its members, and then aplogise to those members once it’s put right. Then perhaps we would start to trust their intention more than we do.

justinhate June 5, 2010 at 4:39 pm

I whole heartedly agree!! here here!! Why should I have to observe the terms and conditions of any company I choose to let give me free things? I mean cmon am I supposed to just come to a company and ask to be given free things and expect there to be anything asked on my part? RIDICULOUS I SAY!

Bob Jones June 5, 2010 at 3:57 am

I’m not sure if Mark needs to step down. He can still be the face (no pun intended) of Facebook, but I think he needs to hire a small team of PR professionals.

On a personal note, I was banned from Facebook a few days ago, with no reason given. After having accumulated 4 years worth of posts, photos, friends, and connections, I’m pissed off.

If FB is going to plow through with the Open Graph, a lot of people will be left “in the middle ages”. FB really needs to address this, if they want to keep chanting to create a better, more open and connected world for everyone…

Mark June 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Asking the CEO of a company to resign because a handful of its users are stupid and don’t know how to work teh Interwebs is about as ridiculous as this article.

Honestly, at no point did I ever feel my personal information was at risk on facebook. Maybe it’s because I actually looked at my privacy settings from the start and changed them accordingly… and payed attention to when the settings changed; maybe it’s because I didn’t post my bank account numbers, social security number, my passwords, or even my deepest darkest secrets on facebook in the first place; maybe it’s because I’m just not that stupid.

I don’t think it’s Mark Zuckerberg who should step down, I think it’s the stupid people who get upset at facebook who should step down; I honestly don’t think they’d be missed.

Chris June 4, 2010 at 11:28 am

Nice Post Shel. I actually had the same thoughts in the post as yours but after I read some comment above, most of them are right, it’s not the time for Mark to step-down, he just getting start! Give him a chance, and it’s not fair to compare him with Steve Jobs, you know how ‘evil’ is Steve when being interviewed by anybody. :-)

Everybody will have mistakes, god would give them a chances.

Jeff Yablon June 4, 2010 at 11:24 am

Shel, I couldn’t agree more. Zuck is now in hopelessly over his head.

In fact, I commented on this myself earlier today: http://answerguy.com/2010/06/04/henry-blodget-mark-zuckerberg-same-guy-two-generations/

Thanks for a great piece!

Jeff Yablon
President & CEO
Answer Guy and Virtual VIP Computer Support, Business Change Coaching and Virtual Assistant Services

Answer Guy and Virtual VIP on Twitter

Martin June 4, 2010 at 10:53 am

Brilliantly written, Shel, but I don’t agree with you.
Mark Zukerberg is Facebook’s Steve Jobs. He IS the company. Take him out – and you’ll get what happened to Apple when Jobs was “advised” to step down.
Zuk – do what you always did – don’t take advices, even from brilliant guys like Shel Israel. You should do what YOU feel is right.

David June 4, 2010 at 10:12 am

As long as Facebook’s board is dominated by Peter Thiel, discussing what position Mark Zuckerberg holds is like discussing whether or not the Titanic should have braced for a U-boat attack: close, but entirely misses the point.

Lonny June 4, 2010 at 8:18 am

When I wrote on May 11 of this year that I was leaving Facebook forever (along with all the reasons why), I had to, for the sake of public peer pressure, put at least three conditions under which I would return.

One of those conditions was the resignation of Mark Zuckerberg. Quite honestly, I thought I was probably day-dreaming, and in my mind, knew it was near-impossible for that event to ever occur, thus ensuring my abandonment of Facebook would be eternal.

So, I’m excited to see an early hero of mine, Shel, suddenly grab the bull by the horns and politely and publicly suggest that Mark do just that – for the very sake of Facebook. When I wrote my post, I thought I would sound like a loon. Shel has just validated me.

Unfortunately, with a respected luminary like Shel calling for Mark’s resignation in such a magnanimous way, this could have a snowball effect that may eventually result in the actual resignation of Zuckerberg.

If that happens, there will only be two conditions left to force my hand to rejoin Facebook (for what would be the fourth time). Both are far more likely to occur than the resignation of Zuckerberg.

I fear that this day just took a giant step forward toward Facebook’s dominance over the next decade. I had my hopes pinned on its demise.

Thank you?

Nicky Harris June 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

Really interesting post. From my point of view if something to replace FB comes along I will be there. Us public are a fickle bunch. What is in fashion today is history tomorrow. Above all I want to be treated with respect. My big issue with FB is my complete inability to have any direct contact with someone who can help me sort out the mess that is my Facebook page (or 2). I need Facebook to keep in touch but don’t like the impossible unwieldy way I have to spend huge amounts of time negotiating yet another FB change!

@mattceni June 4, 2010 at 6:19 am

Shel – I think what most on here don’t get is this is a question of business mentorship and a maturity to realize that his mark on the company has been made. Even, as one commentor pointed out, Jobs was forced out before he came back to save Apple. While I was at fortune 100 company we had FB sales in house and as we asked about different tactics and they couldn’t agree to sell anything unless Mark agreed or approved it first. Give the keys to a business-minded executive to drive a world class company and remain the face of Facebook. Less pressure, more time to be visionary. Good piece, Shel.

Jim Matorin June 4, 2010 at 4:03 am

Give the guy a break. Yes his concept grew faster than the checks & balances, but Mark is like 95% of people in our society when it comes to being asked a question. They never answer it properly. Why? I am still trying to figure that one out. Maybe listening has something to do about it.

Benjamin June 4, 2010 at 3:54 am

By the way, I really like what Jonathan Fleming said on here.

Benjamin June 4, 2010 at 3:53 am

Why are so many people whining about privacy on Facebook?!? It is so easy to make your profile private. There is no reason for Mark Zuckerberg to step down. If people are so concerned about every aspect of their privacy on a social networking site, then they should consider making their own anti-social networking site.

tino June 4, 2010 at 2:27 am

I’m sure a `bright shiny object’ will be along, and perhaps many that will lure us away from Facebook, all the more reason to listen to their tribe and acknowledge their needs.

Boil_In_Oil June 4, 2010 at 2:13 am

This would be laughable, if it weren’t so sad. One side says ‘this’, the other ‘this.’ And it goes droning on and on,… and on. Maybe someday, hopefully soon, people will ‘get it.’

Put two and two together and see “conspiracies”, not theories. Awake people do exist, and they are NOT associated with any special groups, agendas, or policies. They are just people.

They simply aren’t the cheated who want to be cheated by the cheaters… They see too many convergences and attacks upon always the same thing: OUR rights. They are not ‘taken’ by the hype and gloss. New shiny toys, gizmos, and ‘services’ do not thrill them. Playing Facebook’s high schoolish popularity games seems pathetic to them. They are awake.

It doesn’t matter which monster you look at; be it Facebook, Google, or – sadly – now also Apple… It is the same story; new shiny services, apps, and devices – almost all offered for “free.” But the real cost is far higher.

Nothing is ever really free. Not even freedom.

Oh, I forgot. You’re still asleep.

Never mind.

Philip McMahon June 4, 2010 at 1:43 am

Note: Nobody is leaving facebook because of privacy issues?
Correction: Perhaps a tiny minority
Reason: Those that care enough are inevitably savy enough to fight through the privacy settings page…. But the vast majority of people just don’t care! It’s sort of like “I could spend 10-15mins sorting through my privacy settings – the only work I’ve ever had to put in to a FREE service which provides hundreds of fantastic features and is constantly innovating…” or “oh, facebook privacy issues scare me, I’m going to leave…”

This post is likely based on fact, but the severe quantities of personal opinion in it put it next to those wonderful publications such as the daily mail and the torygraph ;-)

Gubatron June 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

A better advice would be, listen to your users and don’t be so evil.

Another advice would be, show the way of how the web should be, share your revenues with the users you sell private data from. Share click-through revenue with the user’s profile on which an ad has been clicked on.

Step down? no way. He’s still getting started.

bob June 4, 2010 at 12:36 am

PS I notice that noone seems to care to much about the name of the founder of myspace

Derek June 4, 2010 at 12:34 am

After reading this, I’ll now know to never visit this blog again. Have you even ran a company before? If not, stop telling others what to do. Only entrepreneurs should be allowed to mentor entrepreneurs.

bob June 4, 2010 at 12:20 am

Facebooks success has little to do with facebook or its CEO.
Its a website. Which is coming of age at a time alot of people who never saw the web as a place to participate, found it.

But you know, all the companies that WISH they had 500 million “users” are making so much more money than facebook its kind of a joke.

This is yet another illusion in the “can we find a business model for the web?”. And the FB issue proves you cant. Unless you traffic personal information to all advertisers and other comers.

FB IS the new white/yellow pages. But how many times have you had that shit dropped on your doorstep and thrown in it in the garbage in the last 5 years? (every time you have google)

The white pages were based on selling our phone numbers and addresses to advertisers where do you think telemarketing came from?

FB is just the newest form. And if you think that 30% of FB accounts arent spam/nuisance accounts you are full of it. Even google and yahoo readily admit that percentage on their own businesses and they have much more rigorous programs in place to nuke nuisance accounts than FB.

What click fraud is to google and yahoo, account fraud will be to FB.
Plus APP spam.

Facebook is a great place for people to discover the web and its potential and then leave it just like AOL. Whoever buys it will be the next Time Warner.

As for Mark, well its pretty embarrassing. He has no vision, he has no balls and I think his talent is in question. Maybe he outsourced this whole effort.

Jonathan Fleming June 4, 2010 at 12:00 am

Mark Zuckerberg should stay onboard, Facebook is a great company in the making, history is littered with leaders that were challenged and experienced turbulent times. When people stop talking about Facebook then Mark should be worried. Right now, he needs to keep working hard and just relax, it is okay if he does an occasional bad interview.

Afterall, he is still new in his life as being a famously rich and successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, people on the lower level of the success curve spend too much time beating up others that are vastly gifted and talented in ways you may not be! Long live Facebook!

John Walker June 3, 2010 at 11:42 pm

A month ago he had 400 million users. Today he has close to 500 million. Let me get this straight…he has a very poor interview on-stage that’s been viewed by a several thousand inside-baseball tech people and he should step down? I’m sorry, but that’s just a bunch of junk-think.

Here’s my guess…growth of Facebook will continue at it’s current pace and will not be effected at all. Until such time that they lose significant users and don’t grow no-one should step down. Get a clue.

The Kite June 3, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Here’s some better advice for Zuck.

Get a lot of sleep. It works. The lack of a direct response and appearance of nervousness had, undoubtedly, more to do with sleep deprivation — coupled with a little heat exhaustion. You’ll just have to make sleep one of the highest priorities before big event. It’s not easy for workaholics but, as the CEO, you’ve got the luxury of making time work for you, not against you.

sasamat June 3, 2010 at 10:18 pm

This is fascinating stuff Shell. I’m afraid to say, though, that you—and you’re by no means alone—simply don’t get it.

Facebook doesn’t conform to existing conventions and your epistemological monomania is showing through (you know: ‘to a man with a hammer the entire world looks like a nail….’ )

Facebook is not a classic Kleiner Perkins funded venture play with a well planned exit strategy. Nor is it a company aimed at making the most money, having the most users or being the most ‘valuable’. It has defied a lot of accepted conventions (and been allowed to because of it’s meteoric rise) and stuck to its simple idea of making the world more social. Sure it needs to make some money and please its users, but it’s also on a mission. It is not going to become the next Microsoft, Oracle, Sun, or HP… and I don’t think you and many others of the illuminati get it.

Take a look at their grotty offices in Palo Alto and you will see the face of mission more than that of stock options. These guys sense that people need to be ‘led’ not ‘satisfied’, and a few upsets along the way is only to be expected.

It really is a new kind of business—Apple is the only thing remotely close in the last 20 years—and as with Apple, users are not canvassed for their opinions. Look at how many cock-ups Apple has had over the years and it will all begin to make sense.

People can leave any time they like. It’s not as if they’ve paid for service, but I doubt many will, and Mark understands the zetgeist of this phenomenon as well as anyone. Step down? Are you crazy?

atyagi June 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Facebook belongs to Mark as much as Apple belongs to Steve.

John Mallen June 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm

In the recent Fortune story, Mark says this may be his one big idea of a lifetime, which takes some maturity to vocalize. Moving up makes the best sense. The company has privacy and positioning of its founder holding it back.

Jeff June 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm

They asked one question that he flubbed, then they spent the rest of the clip taking off his hoodie. So he’s not good at being interviewed. Big deal. He’s 26 and has plenty of time to learn. If you don’t have confidence in Zuckerberg, don’t invest in their company. If you don’t like their privacy policy, find another social network. It seems like every 6 months FB announces something, everyone freaks out for a month, then can’t remember what it was they freaked out about a week after that. This too shall pass.

Rob Olague June 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm

I don’t think I agree.

The privacy issue may loom large for some people, but I think for the majority of users, they wouldn’t consider putting something ‘private’ online in the first place. The concept of sharing online is that it is public for all to see. The only information is the kind you make publicly available by putting it on the internet. It would only take one of your so-called friends to make anything “private” public. It’s inherently insecure, and I think that most people using the service today, given the mass adoption, take that as a given.

Second, Mark Zuckerberg may need a few media training classes, but one bad interview does not make him unqualified as a CEO. It’s Mark’s vision that has brought Facebook this far. Imagine Yahoo! or Microsoft had taken over this project in its’ earlier stages. It would be dead by now. Mark clearly has a vision larger than what Facebook is right now, and he has with his network revolutionized communication and community on the internet. In my field of work, we are no longer asked about boosting web presence, getting on Digg or SEO, only how to reach out to users of Twitter, and especially Facebook. Taking away the reigns of control now from Mark would be a terrible move. If investors aren’t confident in Mark Zuckerberg as CEO, then that means they fundamentally doubt his vision for Facebook. Perhaps they don’t understand it. That’s okay – time will tell. And nobody is leaving anytime soon.

Mary McGreevy June 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm

There is another option, here, since Zuckerberg has kept the company privately held. That is that he can do whatever he wants and if customers or advertisers don’t like it, they can vote with their feet and their mice. I use Facebook every day and I don’t give a rat’s ass about all this stuff. It is as plain as the nose on my face that their are 1) options to control my privacy to the degree that I am comfortable within the confines of this free service or 2) I can stop whining and find another hobby.

There are 500 million frickin people on this site, if it was really as bad as all the bloggers say, there would be a mass exodus, but their hasn’t been.

This guy just poured years of his life into building HIS business and you don’t like it, so here you are calling for “off with his head”. Imagine if that happened, how much it would suck for this kid, who is doing the best he can. This whole cutthroat internet climate is a little much sometimes.

The guy has done me a service. I appreciate him.

Jason Wilk June 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm

You are failing to realize that Founder run companies have an incredibly higher success rate. He is doing fine and should stay. Less than 1% of users are worried about these issues.

justinhate June 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I hate holier than thou nerds. facebook is a stupid social website, its not anything but just that, you post what youre eating or if you just took a dump, its boring and trivial and you people act like a guy running a stupid website is important. dont use the service if you cant afford the cost.

VickyH June 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm

That was so wonderfully said. Eye opening to realize there ate more Facebook users than the U.S population. That sentence translates more to non marketing folks more than huge numbers, such social irresponsibility is really ugly.

Ed June 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm

In short, Mark, you don’t care about other human beings enough to deserve an effect this many of them.

Edward O'Meara June 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Yes, I agree he blew it at D8. And, there’s no reason for anyone to think he can or will improve. His BoD is savvy enough to have noticed – several have been down this path before. Now the question is whether they will act quickly. I suspect Palmisano, Chambers, and a few others have their teams running numbers.

Paul OFlaherty June 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I have to agree whole heartedly that it is time for Zuckerberg to step down and allow someone else to take the reigns at Facebook. I actually wrote a piece three weeks ago saying the same thing, that it was time for Zuckerberg to recognize that he is an engineer and, at least at this point in time, not CEO material.

Shashi Bellamkonda June 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Hi Shel,

Even in the case of Google – Sergey and Larry took a very positive step in bringing Eric Schimdt as CEO and they remain founders. One thing different about Facebook is you need the privacy at the highest level since you are engaging in a lot of personal conversations and also you have to be open enough (maybe) so people you want to connect with can find you. The guiding principle as you said “do right by your customers above all else.” and let them choose how private they want to be or as public as they want to be.

Thanks,

Shashi

Since I work for Network Solutions . This comment contains the opinions and observations of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Network Solutions or its clients or partners.

Patrick Barbanes June 3, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Good thinking, Mr. Israel. a) It couldn’t hurt; b) to Jeanne’s comment, and others who might feel the same way, that “If you, like me, are sick of Mark, Facebook, and the accompanying privacy invasions and poor treatment, just quit using the service,” I think that misses the point of protest and constructive criticism. While I admire people that have quit Facebook because it’s either more trouble than it’s worth to keep up with ever-changing privacy settings and more, or for whatever reason they had, there’s also value in staying on Facebook and providing criticism and suggestions to help make it better. Zuckerberg stepping down might just be one of those suggestions.

And then there’s June 6, 2010, the Boycott Facebook Day. Again, couldn’t hurt.

Thanks, Shel. You can read more at my post, “The Quit Facebook Protest Was Not In Vain”.

Chris Morrison June 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Thanks for sharing this link and comments. That was pretty uncomfortable and enjoyable to watch at the same time. His performance was more in line with something you might see in a high school; as opposed to the senior exec of a multi-billion dollar company.

Bob LeDrew June 3, 2010 at 12:52 pm

It’s obvious that your recent health problems have in no way dimmed your insights, Shel. Great post, and great advice for Zuckerberg.

Meg June 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I was considering the whole mess from a branding perspective this weekend, wondering how different the answers would be if you asked Mark to define the Facebook brand, vs. one of their investors, vs. someone selling Facebook services/strategy guides, vs. one of their more envelope-pushing superusers… vs. my dad (who, while he has less than 30 friends, uses Facebook all the time, and barely knows about the privacy debacle — he wouldn’t ever consider putting anything into Facebook that was remotely private, anyway.)

I’d love to know how his idea of the company varies from all these other constituents. I think knowing the answer to that question would say a lot about whether he’s the person to take them public, or whether he needs to pull an Evan Williams, and move on to the next thing.

Jeanne June 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I’m kind of tired of this stuff at this point. If you, like me, are sick of Mark, Facebook, and the accompanying privacy invasions and poor treatment, just quit using the service. The last thing the Internet needs is more and more discussions on how Facebook is awful and doesn’t treat users well – while the author just goes on using it.

Natalie Sisson June 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm

Yes definitely a great post Shel. I can only imagine how `easy’ it must come to over look your true customers, the users as Facebook are doing on a daily basis.

As a pretty clued up user I am simply stunned at how often things have changed without any notice. Building a social commerce app on the Facebook platform has been like building a house on quicksand.

We even lost valuable months of development time with the recent changes for applications and with very little notice.

I’m sure a `bright shiny object’ will be along, and perhaps many that will lure us away from Facebook, all the more reason to listen to their tribe and acknowledge their needs.

Tac Anderson June 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

After watching D8 I though to myself that there is no way Mark can take Facebook public. They need a different CEO that investors can trust. Mark’s done amazing things but he showed everyone that he’s just a kid still. If I were a FB investor I’d be looking for ways to gracefully bring in a new CEO. Even if they pull a Google and bring in a top level babysitter. I don’t think Mark will go gracefully though.

Raul June 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Brilliant post, Shel – I wrote about Facebook and privacy today too, and will update my post with a link to this one!

Nicholas Kreidberg June 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Very nicely put Shel: objective, respectful and impossible to rebuttal. I agree that Mark has accomplished a great deal but there comes a time when one must reassess and change their direction. I too believe that time is now.

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