Hoodie, clappers on the feet, shy look of uncomfortable student. Everyone knows what Mark Zuckerberg looks like. Yet nobody can capture the personality of the enigmatic creator of the social network to more than 2 billion friends. Daniel Ichbiah succeeds in his very complete Mark Zuckerberg, the biography (La Martinière) to reveal a sketch of the one who can make or break the American presidents since the election spiked Donald Trump's "fake news".
To get an idea of the phenomenon, it is enough to note that in the United States, one minute out of four of the brain time available on mobile is devoted to the Facebook universe whatsApp on WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram or of course via the Admiral social network. Facebook's advertising model had to go through the Cambridge Analytica test, the RGPD directive on personal data and even data leaks. By losing some feathers in the process with a valuation having melted of 38% during the last five months. Yet the value creation is crystal clear if you listen to the Zuck of November 2007: "Nothing influences a person more than the recommendations of a friend whom he trusts.A reliable recommendation is the Grail of advertising."
"They trust me, these idiots"
Its respect for the confidentiality of personal data may leave one wondering as the scandals follow one another. Revealed by Business Insider and taken over by Daniel Ichbiah, an exchange of messages while still at Harvard in 2004 illuminates the character. "If you need information on anyone at Harvard, ask me, I have more than four thousand emails, pictures, addresses, SMS …". Before adding: "People have proposed it for themselves, I do not know why they trust me, these idiots."
His approximate mea culpa following the scandal Cambridge Analytica is chilling after reading this biography. "I made all the mistakes you could make when I started, I was very young and inexperienced, I made technical mistakes and business mistakes, I hired bad people." have trusted the wrong people, I have probably launched more failed products than most people in their lives … (…) I used to think that the most important thing for me, by far, was to have the most positive impact in the world. " Unconvincing for a prodigy who actually cares little ethics having theorized the end of private life.
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"To ignore them"
Especially when requests come from users to Facebook to create new features or abandon some, the young geek does not care, letting go a cynic: "They do not really know what they want, so ignore them."
The taciturn "nerd" does not have the time to respect propriety to overthrow the old world. To motivate his troops, he strikes them "If you do not finish this a little faster, I'll break your face!" Or "I'm going to chop you with this giant sword". And when the boss is not happy, he tells his employees clearly. A demonstration day of a new feature, he shouted "It's daube! Restart everything!" before swinging his glass of water on the computer of his project manager.
Refusal of 15 billion
We thus meet with "Zuck" all the stars of the "Valley". Google's Larry Page, Microsoft's Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs, Apple's friend. The blue social network, because Zuckerberg is color-blind and is the color he distinguishes the best, has repeatedly refused to buy his social network. Viacom, owner of MTV has proposed $ 75 million. Then Yahoo! in the spring of 2006 advance $ 1 billion. But he is rejected by the 22-year-old geek. "It was my toughest moment at the head of Facebook," he says. "After a tense discussion, an investor told me that if I did not agree to sell, I would will regret all my life. " This is Peter Thiel, one of the founders of Paypal who invested in Facebook, which does not include the young student. Then it's the turn of Microsoft to be rejected despite … the 15 billion greenbacks put on the table to beat Google.
Zuckerberg may have a controversial personality, his colleagues seem to be in love. "I know from friends who work at Facebook that he is extremely respected, appreciated by his collaborators, for example when he makes a mistake, he says: it's my fault He does not blame a subordinate. very good thing in his leadership (…) "confirms Jean-Louis Gassee, former president of Apple France quoted in the biography of Daniel Ichbiah.
Zuckerberg's creed has become almost monastic: "Eliminate desire for all things that do not matter". Yet the childhood of the geek was classic and without history. The little Mark is passionate about Star Wars or the cult strategy games Civilization and SimCity. Addicted to fencing orAeneid from Virgile the young Zuck quickly takes a liking to coding.
The man who is now the third world fortune, according to the 2018 ranking of Forbes, is the opposite of the one whose portrait is drawn in The accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (2009) who inspired David Fincher's film, "The Social Network" in 2010. More complex, "Suckerberg" (contraction of his name with "it sucks", it sucks) rejects any form of greed. One of Facebook's most longevity employees confirms it. "What is the main reason we are here with all this success is that Mark is not motivated by money". Zuck has gone ahead of Bill Gates on the philanthropic front promising to distribute 99% of his shares.
Still, the creator of Facebook liked to scream in meeting his goal a megalomaniac. Simple and direct: "world domination!" Meta media, Facebook has theorized in its flow of news in its own way the rule of "dead km" that many media apply. "A squirrel dying in front of you may have more to do with your experience than people who die in Africa."
"Mark Zuckerberg, biography," by Daniel Ichbiah, The Martiniere, 329 pages, 19.90 euros.