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Mark Zuckerberg, In It To Change the World? 268

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that's-not-what-i-heard dept.
schmidt349 submitted a story about Zuckerberg that might fly in the face of what you've heard of the guy in the past. "Award-winning New York Times journalist David Kirkpatrick's new book The Facebook Effect presents readers with a complex view of Facebook's founder and CEO. Primed by hours of conversation and research deep into the history of the social network, Kirkpatrick reaches the conclusion that money isn't a primary motivation for Zuckerberg, 'a coder more than a CEO, a philosopher more than a businessman, a 26-year-old who has consistently avoided selling out because he sees Facebook as his way to change the world.' Kirkpatrick deftly handles the controversy surrounding Facebook's sometimes cavalier attitude toward user privacy, and the result is a much more balanced and less sensationalist account of Facebook's past, present, and future."
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Mark Zuckerberg, In It To Change the World?

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  • by Adambomb (118938) * on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:13AM (#32511808) Journal

    This is true of course. He wants to change the world from one in which he has less money into one in which he has more money.

    • Change HIS world. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mollog (841386) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#32511892)
      As parent points out, he's out to change HIS world. He might have more credibility if he hadn't stole the code, and wasn't compromising user's data, but, hey, he's got the stage so why not try a little spin on the truth.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wealthychef (584778)
        He's got the kid gloves because in order to get access to the wealthy for an interview or book material from them, you have to kiss their ass.
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Funny, I thought he was only in it for the hookers and blow. Money won't buy you love, but it'll sure get you a lot of smokin' hot chicks!
    • I wish I could mod your post up another point! LOL!

    • Perhaps he wants to change more than his financial position.

      He probably does want to change the world, but that can only be done with obscene amounts of money.

      His plan is to get everyone to give him their information so he can sell it and make the obscene amounts of money required to change the world.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:17AM (#32511870)

    ...who has consistently avoided selling out because he sees Facebook as his way to change the world

    Yeah, if you overlook Facebook Ads, the massive support framework for extracting personal data and giving it to third parties under the guise of 'gaming', the Beacon program, and extending the API so any website can add things to your profile through IFRAMES if you don't delete your cookies/logout. No, Mr. Zuckerberg has a very clear vision of how he intends to change the world: He recognizes the incredible value of having personal information on the majority of people connected to the internet, and he wants to capitalize on that.

    He intends to sell the information to the highest bidder, while keeping the market where these exchanges take place to himself. That's his brave new world.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @02:59PM (#32515312)
      At its heart, all Facebook is is a way for users to verify that another user is who they claim to be. If a dozen of my friends create websites and want me (but not the general public) to have access, I don't have to create a dozen logins and passwords. I only need to make one which gives me access to all their sites. Facebook just locks you into their web site to use this "feature".

      Open Source Software could've done the same thing with public/private keys. In fact I'm still hopeful it will. My dozen friends could make websites anywhere, and by using public/private keys they could verify that it's really me visiting their site. But PGP keys never took off because the interface was clumsy and the immediate benefit (secure email) wasn't a big enough carrot. Facebook took off because it let people share photos and messages, which apparently was a big enough carrot.

      I can't for the life of me understand why people would want to have a company run by a person of dubious character as Zuckerberg in control of such a crucial interface like a universal login for the Internet.
  • by z-j-y (1056250) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#32511878)

    Dr. Evil isn't motivated by money either, and he wants to change the world too.

    • by swordgeek (112599)

      How about Dr. Horrible? Same story--give me infinite power, and I'll make things better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rogerborg (306625)

        How about Dr. Horrible? Same story--give me infinite power, and I'll make things better.

        Infinite power as a poor second choice to Felicia Day. See also: food, oxygen.

  • by Kensai7 (1005287) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#32511894)

    ...a philosopher?!

  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:19AM (#32511918) Journal

    Just when everyone is thinking "Zuckerberg, what an ass!" we get a book purporting that Zuckerberg is in fact a genius coder and philosopher. And here I thought his philosophy boiled down to "fucking idiots tell me things about themselves that I can sell." When are we going to stop this sycophantic worship of sociopaths who happen to get rich by screwing over others?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      When are we going to stop this sycophantic worship of sociopaths who happen to get rich by screwing over others?

      They aren't sociopaths. That would be a medical condition beyond their control; They have a diminished sense of right and wrong. No, what they are is far worse: They deliberately ignore social values and mores for their own profit. And this shouldn't come as a surprise. Amongst the wealthy I have learned they have a common social trait that is decidedly uncommong amongst the working class: The ability to turn charm on and off at a whim. These are people who are nice to you, and mean to the waiter. They are

      • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:56AM (#32512516) Journal

        No, the traits that allowed us to become the dominant life form are cooperation, reciprocity, a sense of fairness, and intelligence. The only thing we have going for us as predators is our stamina.

        The traits you describe are sociopathic. Sociopathy does not mean you don't know right from wrong. It means you have a diminished sense of empathy and remorse, and you look at people as objects. Sociopaths know right from wrong, which is why they try to hide what they are. They just don't care.

        • No, the traits that allowed us to become the dominant life form are cooperation, reciprocity, a sense of fairness, and intelligence. The only thing we have going for us as predators is our stamina.

          No, that's what allow us to survive as a species. A small minority of individuals hold most of the wealth in the world, and that wealth tends to transfer to direct relatives. This is not an accident.

          • by drewhk (1744562) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:19PM (#32512952)

            .. and poor people reproduce more than wealthy. So what?

            Also, I see that many of us underestimate cooperation. If pure selfishness would be the true way, then there would be no multicellular species -- like us. The fact that we have an imprinted idea of "justice" and we are disturbed by acts of sociopathy shows how deeply imprinted is social behavior.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              The fact that we have an imprinted idea of "justice" and we are disturbed by acts of sociopathy shows how deeply imprinted is social behavior.

              And a small minority has always existed that manipulates that sense of justice and cooperation for its own ends. A lot of us labor under the illusion that we're equal, but we aren't, we can't be. Humans organize into hierarchial models, with most working and some directing (and profiting?) off of that work. We are cooperative in that most of us are followers, but for that to work some of us must be leaders. This playing of roles is something any individual human being can do, but few actualize that potentia

              • by drewhk (1744562) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @01:59PM (#32514544)

                "I'm sorry to reduce human behavior to such a depressing and simple model, but you can't deny thousands of years of human evolution, which show that in almost every society wealth is concentrated amongst a small number of people."

                And you deny hundred thousands of years of human evolution, when this was not true.

                Also, proving my point, we have a trained eye for injustice and we tendentiously overreact any cheating in society while we do not recognize the unsurmountable amount of evidence of everyday cooperation.

                Even the most psychopathic ones of us cooperate. Even using money is cooperation. In fact it is completely impossible to live in a human society without huge amount of cooperation.

                Your opinion is formed by this strange sampling bias that makes us more aware about cheating.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by spun (1352)

                For most of our time on this planet, we have not had hierarchical societies. They are a recent invention, only appearing in the last five thousand years or so.

                We have natural leaders, and natural followers, and there are more natural followers than leaders, of course. You say, there must be leaders for society to work, but you do realize that followers are even more crucial, right? Lacking leaders, followers will just do what their parents did, and most of the time this works. Lacking followers, leaders are

        • Once upon a time, such people were shunned by the tribe and starved to death. Today, we have built infrastructures that enable these people to survive and thrive. In return, they ruin us.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hibiki_r (649814)

          It just happens that, in a world where most individuals cooperate, the sociopaths win, while in a world where most people are sociopaths, those that cooperate lose a little bit less that those that don't.

          Game theory FTW

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by spun (1352)

            Read up on the dictator game and the public goods game. When cooperators are allowed to punish non-cooperation, sociopaths lose. Punishing free riders is part of being cooperative. Game theory FTW, again!

      • Amongst the wealthy I have learned they have a common social trait that is decidedly uncommong amongst the working class: The ability to turn charm on and off at a whim.

        Uh....this isn't a trait that comes from being rich, it's a trait that comes from meeting lots of different people. It's the exact same difference you will find between city people and country people. The more people you manage to meet, the better you get at it. It has nothing to do with being rich, poor, or anything else, except as those correlate with your ability to meet and socialize with more people.

        If you want to see this point enshrined in a musical, watch State Fair, where they show the poor co

    • When are we going to stop this sycophantic worship of sociopaths who happen to get rich by screwing over others?

      Looking over the preceding ten thousand years of human history, I couldn't tell you for sure, but if I were you, I wouldn't hold my breath.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by spun (1352)

        Really? I'd say perhaps in the preceding five thousand years, but before that we had no walled cities, no mass graves, no weapons meant only for killing humans, no organized warfare, and very little heirarchy. Our current violent, hierarchical culture is an aberration brought about by our invention of agriculture and animal husbandry, our settling down, and subsequent inability to move on when drought and famine hit.

        • by cowscows (103644)

          There's plenty of instances of hierarchical structure and intra-species violence in nature, it's not just limited to modern humans. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to expect that even before agriculture humans competed for resources.

          The biggest change that we started seeing 5000 years ago was that technology started to increase the scale of those conflicts.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:13PM (#32512844) Journal
      At least they didn't say that he wants to IMPROVE the world. Just change it. I mean, Bill Gates changed the world as well. As did Sauron.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#32511942) Homepage

    but if their advertising practices are any indication, they are in it for the money. I'm pretty happy with many of the security changes they made a couple of weeks ago after the furor over privacy reached the boiling point, but to claim they have benevolent intentions is ignorance at best.

    • He never said he had benevolent intentions, he said he wanted to change the world. He dreams of being atop a world changing company, just as Bill Gates, J P Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and the railroad barons of old all have done. He wants to be the great. He wants to be respected. He sees 'changing the world' as a means to that end, but no moreso than being rich.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        True...I guess this is indicitive of the difference between myself and him, then. I hear change the world, and I think of positive things that benefit all mankind. He hears change the world, and he thinks of leaving the world a different place than it was before he showed up, good or bad. ::shrug::

  • I'm the CEO bitch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xx_chris (524347) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:21AM (#32511954)
    Sorry, but this just stinks of a payola article.
  • see Craigslist (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lapsed (1610061) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:21AM (#32511964)
    For an example of what happens when people forgo money.
  • by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:22AM (#32511988)

    1. Creating cool programs
    2. Get girls
    3. Make money
    4. Get more girls

    • by bsDaemon (87307)

      This might be the first and last time I ever see "get girls" be directly the next step after writing code. Seems to be a bit of a non-sequitor.

      • by sycodon (149926)

        I didn't mean to imply any kind of casual relationship between to.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        This might be the first and last time I ever see "get girls" be directly the next step after writing code. Seems to be a bit of a non-sequitor.

        You're right. He can't actually pay for the hookers until after he gets paid for the code.

  • His brand of truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:23AM (#32511998)

    I just don't trust the guy. Sleaze-ball comes to mind.

    I can't get into his method of profit--selling our private info to others.

    I'm careful about my private information. I'm sure others aren't so well versed on what to disclose to Facebook. I like the site, seriously, as it has let met get in touch with so many friends and family

    • by nycguy (892403)

      I just don't trust the guy. Sleaze-ball comes to mind.

      And if you're a Facebook user, sleaze-ball comes behind.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dnahelicase (1594971)

      I just don't trust the guy.

      Don't trust the man behind facebook? I'm sorry, but when I read that I started laughing so hard my boss thought I wasn't working

      Zuckerburg: Tell me everything about you and I'll sell it to advertisers

      Person on the street: What's in it for me?

      Zuckerburg: I'll let you see information about people you already know for free!

      Person on the strees: Free!?!?! I'm in!

  • Just Interviews? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#32512070) Homepage

    So is the book based solely on interviews? Because interviewing the subject himself with no other sources will nearly always give you a favorable picture of the subject. We all craft our own favorable narratives, consciously or not, and that's even more so what we share with the world.

    The Time article doesn't really delve into the other research that Mr. Kirkpatrick might have done, so it's very difficult to judge the quality of the book.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#32512072)
    "Kirkpatrick reaches the conclusion that money isn't a primary motivation for Zuckerberg"

    If that's really true (which i'm certainly willing entertain doubts about) does he want to reduce privacy because he really believes that's what best for everyone? Or if he's not in it for money is he in it for power? Does he just like knowing everything about everyone, and making a profit off of that knowledge is a side game to him? I'm really not sure which of those would be worse. The first case is a lot less despicable, but it's also a lot more threatening if you think that a certain amount of privacy is a good thing.
  • Oh yeah, he is! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:28AM (#32512074) Journal

    Zuckerberg is clearly doing what he does in order to change the world. I can't imagine how that would even be a question.

    However, his image of the future seems a bit dystopian in my mind. Bring the consumers together, lead the dumb ones to the slaughter, and then force-herd the stubborn ones down the same path. Everything is marketing, everything is sales. Social interaction cannot exist, if not for the sake of making a profit. "There is no privacy" - unless you're one of the powerful elite.

    By all appearances, he's trying to increase the class spread, and turn the entire world into marketing. O brave new world, that has such people in't!

  • He was lacking a chihuahua, so TPTB created David Kirkpatrick.
  • by lymond01 (314120)

    While many great things have been accomplished by the relatively young (there's a firm line between "young" and "adult" at 35 in case you're not aware...similar to Chef's "17" philosophy, in fact), they were entirely by accident.

  • by Trufagus (1803250) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:38AM (#32512246)

    I think we can expect to see much, much more of this, as Facebook tries to change their CEO's image.

    Apparently there is an unflattering movie coming out in the Fall and I assume they want to get ahead of that.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:45AM (#32512330)

    It was my understanding that Zuckerberg was a thief at his very core. Always an opportunist looking to earn off of things he doesn't have any right to possess. This included the photos that started Harvard's Facebook, much of the original code and concept, and continues to this day with examples like the email accounts used to connect to Facebook and their password information. I think this understanding of him is probably accurate.

    That being said, wouldn't being a thief preclude the label of 'philosopher'? Isn't the harm caused by theft and the social implications of a world where theft is permissible one of the earliest, simplest hurdles that a 'thinker' must cross to become noteworthy? I'm not up on the stuff, but I'm not aware of any ethos that includes 'rutheless slimeball' as a virtuous-knower of wise things.

    • by rwv (1636355)

      That being said, wouldn't being a thief preclude the label of 'philosopher'?

      I think Zuckerberg is a scumbag, as well. But I'm going to attempt to play Devil's Advocate. People associate the character Robin Hood, who is a common thief, as a great hero. Robin Hood stole from the rich to give to the poor. More generally, the effect Robin Hood has is that the poor gain more than they lose from his actions. Thus, we can conclude that the assertion that thievery and philosophy are mutually exclusive is false.

      Now we examine Zuckerberg to see if his thieving brings a net benefit to

      • by BobMcD (601576)

        It is an interesting thought, however I don't think you can hold Robin Hood up as an example of a thief. He certainly had more in common with a rebel or freedom fighter than the more normal uses of the word.

        I suppose the parallel you're trying to draw is that MZ's crimes could be being committed in the name of the greater good. But I'm not seeing it.

        The proper parallel would be Robin Hood robbing from the rich, violating the rich, and letting the poor live in his palace for free - so long as they tell him

        • by rwv (1636355)

          I think the parallel is that because of Zuckerberg's actions, poor people are able to reconnect with slightly less poor people who they used to go to high school with and derive some pleasure from that relationship that makes it worth it. Or, alternatively, that somebody ends up meeting a person who later becomes their husband or wife because of Zuckerberg's social network. I'm willing to allow that giving up a few bits of personal privacy would be a small price to pay for finding a loving partner.

          That

    • Philosophers can certainly be assholes. You're more likely to be a "good person" if you just accept the rules and don't think.
  • by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:08PM (#32512770) Homepage Journal

    It's easy to say that you're not primarily motivated by money once you're already a billionaire several times over.

    Hell, give me a mere couple of million and I'd show you what it's like to not be motivated by money...

  • Immaterial (Score:2, Informative)

    by ismism (947992)
    Doesn't matter to me, any more. I've opted out of FB, altogether. "I've opted out of FB" (all together)
    • I've opted out of FB, altogether. "I've opted out of FB" (all together)

      Another person who uses that Airplane movie reference in a constructive way.

      Whenever someone in family says "altogether", everyone--children, teenagers, and adults--repeat the phrase immediately preceding it. Ahh, good times ... and often strange stares at restaurants.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:41PM (#32513328)

    that money isn't a primary motivation for Zuckerberg, 'a coder more than a CEO, a philosopher more than a businessman, a 26-year-old who has consistently avoided selling out because he sees Facebook as his way to change the world.'

    What was the author smoking when he wrote this?

    Not out for the money? "avoided selling out"? What about the phrase "monetizing information" that so often comes up in Facebook's conversations?

    What the interview with the 19 year old Zuckerberg who called his users "stupid" for making their information available to him? Yes, he was 19, but I have seen articles on the internet claiming he has said similar things like that in what he thought were confidential conversations.

    What about Facebook making defaults public, when it is obvious private would be preferred and doing so without notice?

    Is that lack of respect for other people consistent with a "philosopher" who wants to change the world for the better?

    • by bipbop (1144919)
      It's pretty obvious this award-winning journalist hasn't "avoided selling out".
    • by Attaturk (695988)

      Quite.

      Facebook received its first investment of US$500,000 in June 2004 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. This was followed a year later by $12.7 million in venture capital from Accel Partners, and then $27.5 million more from Greylock Partners...On October 24, 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million...In November 2007, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing invested $60 million in Facebook...In August 2008, BusinessWeek reported that private sales by employee

  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @12:54PM (#32513520)
    Of all the hot girls in FB. Who could complain?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/14/facebook [guardian.co.uk]

    Stay clear of failbook.

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