Any good journalist knows that in order to get close to a company and its executives, there is a fine line when managing your relationship and you need to be careful about just how critical you are publicly. Somebody should of taught that to Simon Garfield who interviews Mark Zuckerberg in an article for the Guardian. Perhaps Simon Garfield doesn’t want to interview Mark Zuckerberg again but if he did, there’s a pretty good chance he lost his second chance.
As Caroline Waxler points out, Garfield starts the article with “I was told not to expect a human whirlwind, but when Mark Zuckerberg walks into the room there is barely a breeze.” That’s only the beginning. The reporter drops little insults about Zuckerberg throughout the article. Rather than rehashing each insult, I’ll let you read the article but suffice it to say, Garfield isn’t too kind in his take on Zuckerberg and Facebook.
The media’s fascination with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook is not surprising. Microsoft invested in the company at a $15 billion valuation and the company continues to have a soaring user base which has surpassed 120 million users. The tone of the article is pretty clear: how can this less than intimidating 24-year-old be running one of the largest and rapidly online media sites in the world?
One thing that Garfield highlights that I partially sympathize with is Zuckerberg’s fascination with “sharing”. If you’ve heard Mark speak at conferences around the country (and world), you would have heard about Facebook’s mission of helping the world share with each other. After you hear it enough, you realize that sharing is caring and Facebook is all about it.
Why is message so simple? Well do you think Zuckerberg is going to tell you about all the internal monetization tests the company is running or about usage trends? Definitely not and if I was running a company like Facebook I’d spend a ton of time playing with all the data which rests at my fingertips. I would guess that many people working at the company are the same way and while it may be one of Zuckerberg’s favorite things to do, he can’t talk about it with journalists.
As such the message is always the same: “Facebook is about making it easier for people to share information with their friends.” Sounds good to me! Now we have to wait and see what monetization solution the company comes up with. Hopefully that comes along soon.
Mark Zuckerberg photo by Phil Fisk for The Guardian