Blundering Brilliant Billionaires

Mark Zuckerberg addressing the Y Combinator Startup School at Stanford University: "I want to stress the importance of being young and technical," he stated, adding that successful start-ups should only employ young people with technical expertise. (Zuckerberg also apparently missed the class on employment and discrimination law.) "Young people are just smarter," he said, with a straight face, according to VentureBeat. "Why are most chess masters under 30?" he asked. "I don't know...Young people just have simpler lives. We may not own a car. We may not have family." (Margret Kane March 28, 2007 www.cnet.com)

 

Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 87 million Facebook users without permission. That would be one quarter of the U.S. population. Apparently, the brilliant young people who run Facebook have a few shortcomings, not the least of which would be allowing data of “clients” to be hacked. Research reveals (source: Zephoria Digital Marketing) that the most common age demographic of Facebook users (29.7%) are between the ages of 25 to 34. As I understand it, the young people (teenagers) have already disposed of Facebook because it’s something only “old” people use. Zephoria via CNN states that there are 83 million fake profiles. To quote Zephoria, “There are various reasons for fake profiles, including professionals doing testing and research, and people who want to segment their Facebook use more than is possible with one account.” I love all the honesty the internet has brought us. Or not. Certainly, “professionals” need to mislead people in order to get the information that they need. Again, or not.

 

Then there is the ongoing drama and investigations on the social media and its impact on the 2016 presidential election, the impact of which the young and brilliant Zuckerberg described as “a pretty crazy idea” on November 11 of that year. As for the subscribers of Facebook, it has changed its privacy policies more times than can be counted; and every time it was releasing more information about its users. One more time, for everyone to understand, Facebook makes money by selling the information that people give it. Sure, you can post things for free and contact your friends via this social media giant. As one Gerry Demski quoted B.F. Skinner in The Wall Street Journal of April 2: “a system of slavery so well designed that does not breed revolt is the real threat.”

 

The hacking of information is no big surprise to many people, but still rather shocking to Facebook and its executives, none of whom have been released as of this writing. Facebook has hurriedly now changed its policies and political postings will have to reveal the origin of the poster, as if that will help. After all, there are only 83 million fake profiles, so the new policy of forcing the poster of content will ensure honesty on Facebook. Or not.

 

"Life is about learning from the mistakes and figuring out what you need to do to move forward," said Zuckerberg recently, who is 33. Mr. Zuckerberg, by his own words, is just an old college dropout that needs to move on and accept that corporate America isn’t interested in people who have learned from their mistakes and are looking to move forward. People with far more influence than myself have suggested that Zuckerberg step down, and every time Facebook falls on its countenance, the fearless leader invents a new reason why he should remain, offering a less-than-convincing argument that he has the situation well in hand and knows how to solve it. The really brilliant people see problems and resolve them before they occur, and, I could be wrong, but experience seems plays a role in those abilities. Some of us have had the younger boss who grew bitter when our experience gave us the foresight to predict problems, and then we said: “Well, no one saw this one coming, now did we?” Foresight often just foments resentment.

 

I should state that if you are happy with Facebook, as a client, follower, or investor, then, by all means, at least consider your position. The great thing about billionaires is that they can buy their jobs. Many of the overeducated and underemployed do not have that luxury. Listen carefully to what the college drop-out says to Congress, if he decides to grace them with his testimony. He’s quite the engaging, even riveting speaker. Many things, corporations included, end up being something that the inventors never intended for them to be. Alfred Nobel intended dynamite to be used for construction; it didn’t turn out quite the way it was intended. The internet was intended to help scientists share information, and if you don’t believe that, just ask Al Gore. By his own words, the aging founder of Facebook dug his grave less than a decade ago. "Young people are just smarter," he said, with a straight face.

 

Comments

Dino Manalis Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:30pm
Facebook is a successful business, Zuckerburg has some explaining to do, but social media is an open forum for debating and sharing.  Private matters shouldn't be available online anyway.
Doug Plumb Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:33pm
I read somewhere that they believe that life should end at 30 years of age. This was likely in the Report From Iron Mountain or the Next Global Revolution. To devalue age is to shorten lifespan. Its not efficient to have old people around.
Eventually Mr. Zuckerberg will have to be taken out to the woodshed for being old because he won't leave willingly.
Think about the utter stupidity of multiculturalism, it has no advantage and every well known disadvantage, we have seen it in history and had to launch the Crusades to stop it. This is so utterly stupid that it must be part of a grand conspiracy. Who is the driving force behind multiculturalism? What possible advantage could it have?
Look up the FBI records for Sandy Hook Newtown, and see how many people the FBI think were murdered or shot in 2012, the year a supposed 17 kids or so got shot. Zero. There is in fact a monolithic conspiracy and Sandy Hook was a fraud. To do this takes power. To execute 9-11 takes a huge concentration of power.
How can this all be ignored through all the ranks?
There is a monolithic conspiracy going on, the West is being wrecked, its institutions, its ideals, and the souls of people are all being destroyed. This is not all happening by coincidence.
 
“a system of slavery so well designed that does not breed revolt is the real threat.”
 
For slavery, the common law must be destroyed.
 
 
Pardero Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:50pm
Jeff Jackson,
There is no way I could pass on that alliteration in the title.
We can only hope that new formats and alternatives appear, such as Dave Volek's CONSENSUS. I certainly will not miss seeing so much of that smug bastard, Zuckerberg.
John Minehan Added Apr 8, 2018 - 4:59pm
As to tech, as to "bleeding edge" IT work, he certainly has a point; there has always been a "half-life" for Engineers. 
 
On the other hand, if not employees, he should have had older (or more experienced) people as contractors providing data security services or legal advise or contract administration.
 
There is a place, at the "frontier" or with the "new," for young people steeped in technology.  There is also a place, on the administrative side, for those young and old, who have seen things blow up on the frontier a time or two (or three . . .).
 
As to Facebook, I really wonder if you can really make a cogent argument for a reasonable expectation of privacy in a social media/reality TV world. 
 
Once upon a time, Ayn Rand and Wild Bill Douglas agreed that privacy was one of the true signs of civilization.  I'm not sure most people agree now. 
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 8, 2018 - 5:31pm
i still don't care to look into the Post hack. On principle no computer system is 100% secure (that can mathematically be proven because a malware can only be determined as such with certainty when it has run its course).
 
Anyway the German Post Office also gave data from their customers to Angela Merkel's party CDU which allowed for address specific marketing. Almost everything about a person bank, doctor, family, school of children and so on can be determined by the post.
 
FB annoys everybody because they keep suspending accounts for wrong think all the time.
George N Romey Added Apr 8, 2018 - 6:41pm
This is the guy that almost a decade ago claimed privacy was over with. Yes at age 24 your life tends to be an open book then reality sets in. Does this guy think now the press should be able to follow around his family because the days of “privacy” are over with?
 
Zuckerberg is a blowhard. One day like most start up CEOs he will be forced out by the Wall Street villains. As most people realize life is far more complicated than one thought of in their youth.
 
Notice he’s done very little in the entrepreneurial way. He’s milked FB and acquired other companies someone else started. So where is this young gun’s “ideas”?
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:08pm
Dino so many nowadays seem to think that they need to share their lives with total strangers, even people called "friends" on the other side of the earth that they have never met. Thanks for your comments Dino.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:10pm
Doug, I think Mr. Z should have been taken out to the woodshed when he openly suggested illegal hiring practices like the preference for young employees. Now that he's old, like a lot of things life does to you, he's changed his mind. Thanks for your comments  Doug.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:13pm
Pardero, Mr. Z certainly has been smug about things, no doubt. Being  backed up by a billion will do that to you. I seem to notice (not sure why) young people who seem to be quite smug, mostly because they have earned a lot of money, which, again, tends to create smugness. But like Mr. Z, they might learn that just because they have a few pennies, they don't know everything. Thanks for your comments  Pardero.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:20pm
John, I wouldn't try to make any position that there is so much as a byte of privacy on Facebook. The problem is that way too many people post things on Facebook under the assumption that their privacy will be protected. Facebook has no interest in protecting the privacy of those who subscribe or activate. Facebook's mission is to make money, as the many changes that they have made to their privacy policy indicate. It is the ignorance of the people who seem to think that their privacy will be protected that scare me. Thanks for your comments John.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:24pm
Benjamin, I didn't know that FB was suspending accounts for incorrect thinking. Perhaps they will get to the 83 million fake accounts on their website and decide that the folks that have fake FB accounts are not thinking correctly. How they allow 83 million fake accounts I find astounding, and, in all honesty, quite incompetent, but if the fake accounts make them money, then we know what matters most to them, and lets face it, that would be money. Thanks for your comments Benjamin.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 8, 2018 - 7:28pm
George, I'm with you. After watching the untold story of FB, the movie "The Social Media" there is little entrepreneurship involved. Look at what FB has done in terms of entrepreneurship since it made it big, which, as far as I see (and I'm happy for anyone to point out anything to refute this) is nothing much. Thanks for your comments George.
George N Romey Added Apr 9, 2018 - 9:31am
FB mirrors the way college students think, that life is one big social event and having the largest number of friends is paramount. For awhile it was the new shiny tool. Maybe it will finally lose some of its luster.
Ari Silverstein Added Apr 9, 2018 - 10:02am
You liberals are too funny.  In 2012 when Obama masterfully used social network data to win, you say nothing.  However, when it’s learned that Trump used Facebook to win, you’re all outraged.  The hypocrisy is priceless.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 11:08am
Yes, George, Facebook began in college, and college students were the first "early adopters." I was always surprised about how little they knew what was being done with the info they were giving FB. They were shocked when I told them very little of what they put in their "private" file was actually "private," that most of it was being sold to the highest bidder. Thanks for comments.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 11:16am
Well Ari, they're still trying to find something that they can impeach Trump on, and they're becoming more and more desperate as we approach mid-term on his second year in office. As mentioned, now they (FB) have the policy that political postings must have names on them, even when, as reported, there are 83 million fake accounts. Perhaps if they do something about the 83 million fake accounts that could address a lot of the fake news that people like the Russians are spreading around. And talk about jumping on the bandwagon, now that Russia has illustrated they can influence elections, who's next? Thanks for your comments.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 9, 2018 - 11:31am
Mark Zuckerberg: billionaire by 25, burned out has been by 35?
"Why are most chess masters under 30?" Zuck asks.
ThorpY says
Maybe it's because intelligent people, by the time they are thirty, understand that life is short and time spent playing chess can never be recovered for the purpose of doing fun things.
OR
Maybe it's because most people who become chess grand masters while still young are residing in sheltered communities ("with trees and flowers and chirping birds and basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes ....") before they're much older
 
Zuck is a nerd, he simply does not understand what it is to be human.
 
PS: A million brownie points to anyone who remembers what song the italicised text is taken from.)
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 9, 2018 - 11:33am
If liberals were not so stupid they would rather prep some candidates instead of doing this stupid scandal chasing. I'm all for competition and want to see a strong left. But they only know race to the bottom and destruction. It's a shame because Trump must be kept in check like every powerful man.
 
There are signs that Victor Orban, conservative leader of Hungary, has become corrupt because the opposition is utterly stupid. You have nothing seen yet in the US. They tell everybody that the country is a dictatorship, but cannot give one reason why they think that is the case.
 
I'm also dismayed about Israel's war strategy at the moment. Netanyahu's opposition is so stupid. They are more willing to kill the country off than Al Quaeda. So you are left with a very trigger happy prime minister. And I dare to have a different view on the supposedly imminent threat that Iran's military equipment on the Syrien/Israel border might pose.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 9, 2018 - 11:35am
Thorp s' lyrics are of 'They are coming to take me away' by Butcher Babies.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 1:32pm
Thank you Ian. I could not have said it better that Mr. Z needs to rejoin the nerds, geeks and dweebs, like the ones right now who haven't made a fortune yet, but are insisting that Bitcoin is the way to go, and are trying everything to get millions, instead of, like, you know, working, making some contribution to humanity. Your point is well taken, that the nerds geeks and dweebs do not understand what it is to be human. Let's not let the nerds geeks and dweebs know of this, though, because it will only encourage them to be more nerdy. Thanks much for our comments, Ian, always insightful.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 9, 2018 - 2:37pm
Well done Benjamin, I was thinking of the original 1966 version by Napoleon XIV but I didn't specify that so you get the points.
Ian Thorpe Added Apr 9, 2018 - 2:39pm
Being a former IT guy Jeff I have a high tolerance of geeks, they are always enthusiastic which can be a useful quality to a manager who knows how to delegate. Nerds, on the other hand are dangerous - they want to take over the world.
Neil Lock Added Apr 9, 2018 - 3:51pm
Jeff: Nice article. I am amiable to the alliteration in your title.
 
Why are most chess masters under 30? (I see Ian has already answered that question, but I’ll give my own, which I think is better.) It’s because chess is a quick reactions, learn a closed system thing.
 
John Minehan: “There has always been a half-life for Engineers.” (And computer programmers). For the same reason as there has always been a half-life for lieutenants in the army, or pilots in the air force. Some go up, some go down.
John Minehan Added Apr 9, 2018 - 3:57pm
"For the same reason as there has always been a half-life for lieutenants in the army, or pilots in the air force. Some go up, some go down."
 
If you are any good at Engineering, you will be promoted out of it?    
Neil Lock Added Apr 9, 2018 - 4:05pm
John: If you were good at computer programming, in my day at least, and you weren't obviously a nerd, you would be promoted to team leader or designer. Then you might try spec writing, testing or QA. Or consultancy. Or you might be promoted to group manager. All that happened to me. Maybe, through working in a growing industry, I had unusually many opportunities :-) Perhaps it's more fossilized today?
Dave Volek Added Apr 9, 2018 - 4:06pm
Benjimen brings up a great point that deserves repeating and further analysis:
 
There are signs that Victor Orban, conservative leader of Hungary, has become corrupt because the opposition is utterly stupid. You have nothing seen yet in the US. They tell everybody that the country is a dictatorship, but cannot give one reason why they think that is the case.
 
In many cases, the politically left are their own worst enemy. They make up too much unrealistic stuff to be taken seriously.
 
 
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:00pm
Neil, I have been a supervisor several times, because if one of my subordinates had a problem, I could help them solve it. I was also assigned the big problems. Thanks for your comments Neil.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:01pm
Dave, the only reason the political left does not get themselves into large problems is because their following has very poor analytical skills. Why else would they follow those bozos?  Thanks much for the comments, eh?
Doug Plumb Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:06pm
re " the only reason the political left does not get themselves into large problems is because their following has very poor analytical skills. "
 
socioology brainwashing vs math, lit, philosophy, physics, business or engineering.
Doug Plumb Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:10pm
There is a piece missing from this leftist thinking. Buying into a slogan ideology  "Diversity is our strength", "yes we can", "support the troops". Its like these people can't read more than 3 word sentences so sloganeering is the only way to get them to read.
 
"Duh, it just sounds good, I dunno. My friends think like this. Its easy and we are filled with virtue"
Benjamin Goldstein Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:15pm
Slogans are for rodants!
The left is daft!
Propaganda is mob agenda!
George N Romey Added Apr 9, 2018 - 5:45pm
The thing is Zuckerberg doesn’t have hard tech skills. He developed a simple website and for various reasons it caught on like wildfire. Also he had considerable help along the way and an amazing amount of luck.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 9, 2018 - 10:23pm
Yes, George, no doubt, he's one lucky puppy.
Ben, let's not get too carried away.
Opes Added Apr 10, 2018 - 12:41am
It will be very interesting to see Zuckerberg testify.  His billions have insulated him from accountability.  But when the government starts getting into your business a lot can change as everything you hold dear can be threatened.  Zuckerberg, will be able to lavish millions of dollars to his political friends as a hedge, but politicians are a very sneaky group.
George N Romey Added Apr 10, 2018 - 11:20am
Zuckerberg is now getting a dose of his beliefs that no one should expect privacy anymore.
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 10, 2018 - 10:04pm
As Mad Money host Cramer said, "you don't want to be called before the Senate" and he was exactly right. If they see something that they think is harming the American public, they'll come up with some regulations that will cost Mr. Z. Opes, George, you are exactly right, and I hope Mr. Z's advisors have informed him of the seriousness of this situation. I saw just a bit of it, and Mr. Z commented that if they institute regulations, it would hurt upstart firms more than his, which, while true, would also establish some needed protocols on the type of behavior. The lack of security is becoming a national issue. Who would have ever thought all of this would happen?
Opes Added Apr 11, 2018 - 12:02am
Watching the testimony today did expose a wide variety of issues.  I'll attempt to list some of them:
-Monopoly 
-Profit entity decides right and wrong for the public
-Censorship
-Use agreement not expected to be fully read
-Facebook user limited functionality
-Lack of informing users of data sharing
-Lies by omission
-I'll have my team work on that
-Conservative content more likely to be banned
-Most Facebook users are outside the U.S.
-Suggestion for regulation of social media
-Is Facebook a publisher/publication?
-Is Facebook neutral?
-Tracking
-Data mining
-Deleted profiles
-Advertising
-Developers/Apps/IPS
 
 
Opes Added Apr 12, 2018 - 9:48am
Facebook Monopoly is in question NOW.
 
Digital Surveillance is in question NOW.
 
Privacy & Censorship is being determined by Zuckerberg for over 2 billion users of
Jeff Jackson Added Apr 13, 2018 - 6:06pm
Industries, through the span of time, were regulated because of the harm they inflicted upon citizens. If and when Congress decides that the damage is so much that they need to be regulated, then Facebook will have no one to blame but themselves. Thanks for your comments Opes.
Opes Added Apr 14, 2018 - 10:13am
Agreed.  Time will tell how this situation will run its course.  There is certainly a load of dollars involved.
John Minehan Added Apr 14, 2018 - 11:08am
"Also he had considerable help along the way and an amazing amount of luck."
 
As Dave Hackworth was known to say, the first question Napoleon would ask a Colonel he was considering making a General was "Are you lucky?"  
Rusty Smith Added Apr 17, 2018 - 10:35am
Anyone who uses social networking platforms and is surprised and upset about how much they are tracked is naive and must not be reading the news.  The info could be used nefariously but isn't 99.999% of the time, it's just used to make money via selective marketing.  
 
Nothing is free and if you're not paying a fee for something you get than it's being provided by someone who sponsors you, and 99.999% of the time is expecting to get something from you that exceeds the value of what you get, by some other means.
 
TV and internet advertisers pay for part or all of your services hoping you will by things they get paid to sell.  Everyone knows kids buy stuff too, and most kids who carry smart phone and post on facebook are a demographic worth defining and following their activities as a group.  Facebook doesn't care what Johnny does or where he goes, but if 60% of them go the mall once a week, they sure care about that.  If 10% are talking about the new IPhone, you bet that gives them marketing leverage with Apple.
 
If you don't want to play that game do what I do, just quit singing in.  The best advice you can give your kids is not to use their real names.  Johnny has nothing to worry about if no one can look him up because his online name is Redjohn201 and 99.999% of the time the marketing people are just as happy that way.
Robert Burk Added Apr 18, 2018 - 5:38am
People are always suprised when profit leads to people doing things to make a profit and the fact that the free market treats everything as if it had a price. Seems to always take people by suprise, lol