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.