Zuckerberg’s Mental Hardware

In naming Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year, Time magazine pointed to the profound impact that his company now has.

“In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S.,” Time noted. “If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale.”

[EXPAND More]But, in spite of this colossal success, Facebook is not without its critics. Time asserted, for instance, that Zuckerberg “does have a blind spot when it comes to personal privacy, which is why that issue keeps coming up.” At the Drucker Institute, we’ve examined this issue ourselves.

What really caught our eye this time, though, was this passage from the Time piece: “Zuckerberg tries to put himself in the heads of people who don’t have his weapons-grade mental hardware . . . his absolute mastery of his privacy settings . . . In other words, most of the people who use Facebook. But it’s a stretch. His EQ has its limits. .  .  . No wonder he doesn’t see how challenging Facebook can be for the rest of us. He’s his own perfect customer.”

This immediately brought to mind this Peter Drucker principle: “Innovations have to be handled by ordinary human beings, and if they are to attain any size and importance at all, by morons or near-morons,” he wrote. “Anything too clever, whether in design or execution, is almost bound to fail.”

Obviously, Facebook has already achieved great “size and importance.” But could the complexity of its privacy settings and some of its other features ultimately cause it to fail?[/EXPAND]







Time magazine Person of the Year cover with Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: Time