Yesterday I picked on Henry Blodget pretty hard. I’ll stand by it; Henry is starting to look like a guy whose self-importance is getting to him. It reminded me of another redheaded business tycoon, the unbelievably-arrogant-and-too-young-to-be-where-he-is Mark Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Facebook. He’s smart. REALLY smart. But pretty much every time he opens his mouth Mark Zuckerberg says something to back up the theory that there are some things that can only be learned through age and experience.
This week, Zuckerberg was one of the people cornered for interviews at The Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital Conference. And pretty much anybody who expressed an opinion of Zuck’s performance fell into one of two camps:
- Wow, that was awful !
- I feel sorry for him !
The second bullet actually represents the positive responses. Not exactly what Facebook had in mind (see above reference to older people versus younger people).
Zuckerberg made himself look bad. He failed to make Facebook look good. And when you get beyond the youthful inexperience part of things it comes back to arrogance. Mark Zuckerberg knows what’s best for us; just ask him!
In reality, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to know what’s best for Facebook, let alone its users. And if Facebook is to continue growing it’s going to need better management. My favorite takeaway was this one (courtesy of Henry Blodget!): We don’t need your permission when we change how we handle your information because of that one time that we changed things without asking and after a while the complaints died down.
I’m not kidding. Zuckerberg said that in slightly different words.
Business Change means you need to get good at a lot of things. And the most important one is flexibility. Mark Zuckerberg showed how little he understands that when he took that stance. Henry Blodget did the same when he called out Google for being Google.
Learn flexibility. Humility, too. Mark Zuckerberg’s company may be big enough to survive missing those points, but very few other are.
Hmmmmm. Come to think of it, Bill Gates is a redhead, too. I wonder if there’s a connection?