Zuckerberg is no longer the tech golden boy he never deserved to be

Mark Zuckerberg admitted this week during an employee Q&A session that he’s not the genius that everything thinks he is, that he really was just lucky to have assisted in designing Facebook at just the right time in history, and that he’s basically helpless in the face of real competition, a fickle social media market, and serious economic headwinds.

That will not, he added, prevent him from acting as if this is the fault of those under him, and taking his incompetence out on his employees so that his income will be less affected.

OK, I’ll admit that, although all of that is accurate, that is not what pampered overgrown Harvard boy Mark Zuckerberg said this week at that employee Q&A:

Facebook parent Meta wants to cut ties with workers who can’t meet newly raised performance expectations as the company prepares for an economic downturn, CEO Mark Zuckerberg bluntly revealed this week.

Zuckerberg’s frank admission came during a Q&A session with employees in which he warned that a recent slump in the markets “might be one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history.”

“Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” Zuckerberg said during the meeting, according to Reuters.

“Part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might decide that this place isn’t for you, and that self-selection is OK with me,” Zuckerberg added.

Zuckerberg indicated that Meta plans to slow its hiring plans for engineers by at least 30% this year – adding roughly 6,000 or 7,000 workers rather than the 10,000 it initially expected to hire. Some roles that are currently empty will stay unfilled as Meta dials up pressure on current employees.

Some of my best friends are geriatrics, so I’m not picking on them. But on Facebook, where I am Facebook friends with many older people, they are prone to share gardening, travel and quilting tips, along with pictures and video of their cats, dogs and grandchildren.

What they do not do is spend gobs of money trying to be hip, fashionable, or knowledgeable about music and what kinds of make-up the Kardashians are recommending.

So unless Facebook wants to become the online destination for burial plots and reverse mortgages, its time as a money-making juggernaut was going to be limited because once it amassed a critical mass of parents and grandparents on the platform, those 16-25-year-olds moved on, as they always do.

Plus, Facebook’s ability to make money off misinformation and undermining democracy around the world has also been seriously curtailed, but only after Zuckerberg was exposed as having baked totalitarian marketing into his business model.

I don’t want to see people lose their jobs, but I do get a bit of a thrill seeing Zuckerberg twisting in the wind. He deserves every dollar of lost income, and every second of people wondering in the press whether he was ever really all that special. Whether if he had gone to, say, U-Mass Lowell instead of Harvard, he would have ever had the success he had with Facebook.

Zuckerberg had a lot of lucky breaks.

And the same goes for Elon Musk, whose fortune emanated from a racist emerald mine in South Africa, and on whose Tesla business the auto giants Ford, GM and others are getting ready to open a can of electric-car whoop ass.

Add to this the fact that the obsequious coverage that Musk has enjoyed in much of the press has started to wash away now that he’s been exposed (Twitter, Boring Company, fully automated self-driving cars) as being the huckster he’s always been.

Tesla fan boys, there will always be. But if I had the money, I’d buy a Ford Lightning before I ever considered a Tesla. I’ll hazard a guess that will be mostly true with others as the major automakers start cranking out their own EVs and prices drop far below the high-end novelty prices Tesla has been able to charge so far.

Musk and Zuckerberg.

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