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Zuckerberg and Customers: Oil Meets Water



Over at Gawker.com there is some insider dirt being dished regarding internal correspondence from facebook2Facebook 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!

  • http://www.ProductCreationGlory.com http://www.ProductCreationGlory.com

    If he doesn’t know what to do with it he should just sell it! Is it still his pet project or is it becoming a nightmare?

    Chris

  • http://www.perfectmoney.com PM.e-currency

    Facebook win popularity with there free content,it is the same happen to Google.when everything come to “social “NEVER charge a dime>or they will kill the “social center site”and as non active facebook user ,I vote never be to “material site”respect your talent to “recruit”just follow the humble twitter .pretends you “dont know how to get money from your site”then I believe .Alot of your consumer.will respect your “confusing”but at the other site.they will ready to loose some cash ,just to help your site “alive and profitable.

  • http://blog.ljjones.com LJ Jones

    Its one thing to innovate and give your customers something they didn’t know they needed. And while I assume that’s what Facebook is trying to do, that’s just not what they are doing. Every time they try and innovate and make some major change to the site, the Facebook nation is up in arms. Its like when Coke changed their formula and their customers weren’t happy. Coke was at least smart enough to realize their mistake and go back to the original formula. Regardless of how true this story is, judging by Facebook’s moves over the last few months, it seems they are very out of touch with their users. They would be smart to hire a team that’s dedicated to understanding their audience, because if this story is true, Zuckerberg just isn’t the man for the job.

    LJ Jones’s last blog post..Social Media For Small Business

  • http://submittertools.com Barry Grren

    Facebook is simply changing with the times and making use of new technology. Its membership will get used to the changes that have been made very quickly.

  • http://www.melbourneonline.com.au Mark – Melbourne Web Design

    Facebook is at a critical point. Zuckerberg can either stick to his guns while his users walk or he can swallow his pride, listen to them and revert to the old facebook we know and tolerate.
    We know from other social networking sites (and tools like msn, icq…) that people don’t leave them slowly, they leave in droves. Zuckerberg should be scared enough that another social network will come along with better features, he definitely shouldn’t be poking an angry mob with a stick.

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  • Kevin

    Join the “Facebook, Bring Back the Live Feed” group:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=57945102893

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