From the maverick and inspiring leader of the new-age tech billionaire geniuses to an embarrassment for the town, Mark Zuckerberg’s fall from grace in Silicon Valley is evident – and only he is to blame.
The whole of Silicon Valley and the entire tech world looks at Mark Zuckerberg as one of the leading brains of the 21st century. The man founded the world’s biggest social media network in his college dorm. He then spread it far and wide and still stayed at the helm with unprecedented power. Unlike many tech geniuses (including Steve Jobs), Zuckerberg had the business acumen to stay the main authority at Facebook. He also became a strong voice for the tech community, which whole-heartedly backed him.
Zuckerberg is a genius and there’s not an inkling of doubt about his capabilities. But his attitude has overshadowed everything else in recent times.
But we’ve come a long way and now Zuckerberg has somehow managed to kill the excellent perception. He’s created a whole new image. And to be clear, it’s not a good one. Mark Zuckerberg is today one of the most hated men in Silicon Valley. Many tech entrepreneurs saw him as their chosen voice. They are now wary of how much damage his next move or statement can cause to the entire fraternity. Indeed, the young genius has come a long way from his glorious universal endorsement to an ugly fall from grace.
Ignoring early symptoms of arrogance
When Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook went viral and engulfed first the USA and then the entire planet, the genius could afford to make stupid moves. The world noticed but decided to ignore them. He showed up to a meeting with the global VC firm Sequoia Capital in his pajamas. He even presented a PPT that made fun of his own start-up.
Next came his arrogant first business card which read: “I’m CEO, Bitch.” However, none of that mattered in the face of the technological marvel he created. The entire fraternity viewed Zuckerberg as the man of the age. Zuckerberg is not just a tech genius; he is also one of the sharpest businessmen of his age. He solidified his place at the top of the world information exchange. Facebook is his and will remain only his with a dual-class stock structure that ensures majority voting rights.
Zuckerberg forces us to draw comparisons to Bill Gates. And not just at the maverick intelligence, even the ruthlessness.
What brought Zuckerberg’s downfall?
Nowadays, no one in the Valley has praises going Zuckerberg’s way. From the ‘best place to work’ and the pride of the Bay Area, Facebook is now seventh. The reasons – multiple data breaches and privacy-related controversies. High profile political scandals like Cambridge Analytica, Fake Ad promotions and Hate Speeches on Facebook and the Russian Hacking incident during the US Presidential Elections of 2016, have shown Mark Zuckerberg’s other side to the world.
Furthermore, Facebook has faced numerous anti-trust allegations. It is accused of monopolizing the digital-advertising industry and once it had media firms in its grasp, it manipulated them. Then it decided to push the stop button, and with that went down the hill hundreds of budding careers.
Zuckerberg went too far when he said that he didn’t believe that Facebook should remove posts about (Holocaust Denials).
But what actually is causing irreparable loss to Zuckerberg’s image is his complete ignorance towards where he went wrong. He rejected any collusion in election meddling. He also shied away from taking responsibility for Facebook as a major media platform. Zuckerberg famously said, “We’re a tech company, not a media company”.
From leader to the biggest evil in town
Zuckerberg went the ruthless way. He destroyed any competition in the market, bought rival firms or copied their ideas with his better-equipped resources. A Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley recently told a journalist, “He’s (Zuckerberg) f*cking destroyed this town”. He continued, “Any time there’s an inkling of innovation here, any time a new idea comes up, Zuckerberg either buys it and shuts it down, or copies it and shuts it down anyway”. The VC said that Facebook and Zuckerberg had “sucked the air out of Silicon Valley itself”.
A VC from Silicon Valley recently told a journalist that Zuckerberg has “sucked the air out of Silicon Valley itself”.
Moreover, Zuckerberg hardly shows any remorse. American screenwriter Aaron Sorkin questioned him recently in an open letter. Sorkin urged him to rethink his stance on permitting fabricated political ads on Facebook. Zuckerberg conveniently quoted a line defending Free Speech from a Sorkin film The American President. Such ways do not go down well for Zuckerberg in public opinion.
Investors hate what Mark Zuckerberg has become. They feel he doesn’t care for anybody but himself. His narcissistic ways are such that another journalist in the US recently opined, “He’s CEO of Facebook and his political party is achieving sustained growth in active users, ad revenue, and market share…at basically whatever cost.”
Even then, Facebook’s value inadvertently keeps going up. So, the board and core group of stakeholders hardly care to even have a word with Zuckerberg. He, on the other hand, grows more and more defiant of everything – the system, the society, and the people.