Zuckerberg and Customers: Oil Meets Water
Over at Gawker.com there is some insider dirt being dished regarding internal correspondence from Facebook that shows its founder Mark Zuckerberg in a pretty unflattering light. In between appearances on Oprah and redesigning Facebook he has been letting the employees know how he really feels about customers.
Apparently he didn’t stick around Harvard long enough to learn that you use the term customers when someone pays for a service. Since accounts receivable is the smallest department at Facebook with little work to do, he may want to be a little more endearing to his users.
Now let’s make one thing perfectly clear here. The Valleywag report comes from a “tipster” so there needs to a degree of restraint as to the true factual nature. It looks as if they have placed an open invitation to any Facebook employee who is less than enamored with the latest direction of the company to send along the complete correspondence that allegedly addresses the subject of customers with the following:
“He said something like ‘the most disruptive companies don’t listen to their customers.'” Another tipster who has seen the email says Zuckerberg implied that companies were “stupid” for “listening to their customers.”
Is the term ‘disruptive’ some Silicon Valley code word for profitable? I don’t think so. I thought people stopped rewarding businesses that didn’t make money back at the turn of the century. Oh wait, we have the government to do that now so maybe Facebook can get a stimulus bump! How about AIG become their first advertiser? They’ve got
our the money!
The whole thing with Facebook has reached near silly proportions. There are 175 million people who use it and many seem willing to pack up their Facebook pages over a redesign so it’s fair to say that most would never pay to be part of it. Would you? Users also are not too keen on seeing advertisers there. Maybe Zuckerberg is angry because his ‘customers’ actually do know something which is that if it’s free it’s cool and if it’s commercial it’s disposable. There’s that pesky revenue problem again. Maybe he just doesn’t care because he is convinced he is always right and will do whatever he wants regardless of what anyone says. Who knows?
Wow, if only he had stuck around for that great Harvard case study about pride going before the fall! The lesson here is: Stay in school kids!