Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Damning Nation and the $15 Billion "Toddler"

Mark Zuckerberg has been slammed in the blogosphere and other media for his interview on 60 Minutes and after having watched the interview, I can't help but to reflect on how eager reporters are to criticize successful individuals and more specifically, young ones.

He's often referred to as "a baby" or "a kid". Not only are these labels false, they're downright derogatory. 23 year olds vote!

The most obvious burn was for Beacon. His decisions and subsequent actions were positioned as immature in the interview. Kara Swisher of AllThingsDigital went as far as to call him a toddler. Based on Kara Swisher's definition of a cheerio-eating drooler, I could think of a number of past situations that were equally "toddlerish". Take DoubleClick's scandal seven years ago and how about Microsoft's growing list? Both companies fought tooth and nail to maintain their positions. Age didn't play a role - (Shouldn't they have known better with all their experience?) but Mark was criticized for not acting quickly enough to create a Beacon opt-out which he did shortly after the outcry.

Regardless of Facebook's future, Mark Zuckerberg deserves some respect for having accomplished as much as he has by 23. I'm saddened by the cruelty of some of the bashing because to me, it appears that there are many bitter aging under achievers that won't take a deep breath and applaud a savvy businessperson when they see one much less, learn from one.

Being a well-seasoned public speaker with years of CEO experience does not give immunity to error. I'm not a fan or foe of Mark, but I could only imagine the pressure he must be feeling to grow up. Is that fair?

Here's a link to the interview.


David Reich said...

Sonia, it's jealousy, totally. It makes for headlines and draws viewers who are curious to see such a young self-made multi-millionaire. If I were him, I'd be laughing all the way to the bank.

Sonia Carreno said...

I agree David - jealousy and regret. This winter I had to explain to my 4 year old why the "teenagers" always kick down the snowmen he and his classmates build with so much care in their schoolyard..."Big kids like to make it tough on the little ones" I said, "so the little ones have to work that much harder to keep building newer and better ones". A weird law of order...

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