Sean got to see what happens when shortsighted VCs get control before (at Napster and then Plaxo); he's smart enough to not get screwed the same way thrice.
I'd argue that Zucks most valuable friend post Sean is Graham. Graham helped set the company up so control falls to the owner and not the board. The Washington Post is set up the same way. Facebook isn't going away till the founder wants it to.
I wonder how long the back-and-forth over how the story was to be structured took.
[edit: I'm not saying Zuckerberg is not human, just that he's overexposed in the media at the moment, and they need to connect Facebook to something else.]
In the mindset of Rodney King, can't we all just move on? Can't we all just get past not being Zuckerberg? Can't we all get back to being hackers who do things because they make our minds happy?
...and honestly - I feel the guy.
We humans have a tendency towards the shameless worship of heroes. We seem to need to create legends and demigods and to praise and glorify acts that upon careful examination are little more than the progeny of good fortune and timing. Providence itself isn't worthy of our praise nor our consideration - which makes the ascension of men of 'lesser stuff' a bitter pill to swallow for those few 'in-the-know'.
I think back to first grade, and recall how desperately I wanted to be a scientist/composer/hero/great man/demigod. I had no idea what these things were really, but in my mind, they were the people who knew; and what they didn't know they sought. They were the gatekeepers, arbiters, discoverers, and composers of knowledge, truth, and frankly most of what mattered. A few years later, when asked who/what I wanted to be when I grew up, beyond my father I could think only of Newton, Einstein, Maxwell, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, et al...
My, how quickly things change. The pursuit of knowledge and beauty for its own sake is an ideal which has perhaps never existed, or existed in so few men as to have practically never done so. But we're waaay past that. A man not too long ago solved Fermat's Last, how many know his name without Wikipedia? What impresses us now? What is deemed worthy of our 'shameless worship"?A man not too long ago solved Poincare's; beyond the story about his rejecting a million dollars, who gave a shit?
No one. We save our shits for the pirates of Silicon Valley these days.
That, if I am ever blessed with a son or daughter, and they are one day asked in their youth who or what they want to become when they grow up, and in turn respond with Gates, Jobs, Zuckerburg, et al, we have all failed. And I, them.
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
Completely agree, the name dropping around here can get tiresome quick. There was a great article on Mint vs. Wesabe posted here recently - in my opinion we need more articles like that and less Jobs is a design master/Zuckerberg is a genius/etc.
This has been quoted without citation as a statement of Eleanor Roosevelt. It is usually attributed to Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, but though Rickover quoted this, he did not claim to be the author of it; in "The World of the Uneducated" in The Saturday Evening Post (28 November 1959), he prefaces it with "As the unknown sage puts it..."
Its still a nice quote regardless of who its attributed to.
But let's be clear: our modern day Fords and Edisons also deserve their due. Self-made billionaires have served society in the ultimate sense: they made something that millions upon untold millions of people want.
Those in the ivory tower, god bless them, are scratching their own itch. Sometimes, some of them produce something which benefits humanity, but it's not their primary goal. Their goal is to indulge their curiosity and make a name for themselves. And their world is generally far less stressful than if they'd taken the plunge into actually creating wealth and building things for other people.
As for your children, well, there's a couple billion people in China and India who've endured a 20th century replete with attacks on industrial ambition. Something tells me many of them would be just fine with their son or daughter growing up to be the next Gates, Jobs, or Zuckerberg.
The approach to social networking they've taken simply isn't a particularly profitable approach, the profitable approach hasn't been invented yet. Eventually, people will realize that, and while they're running and begging venture capitalists for another $100 million just to keep the lights on in their server farms, someone else is gonna build the next big thing, and Facebook will go the way of Friendster and Myspace. If we've learned anything, social networks are fickle, and it doesn't take long for a trickle of users to become a flood.
Zuckerburg won't ever starve, and the company probably won't ever fold (heck, even AOL is still around), but the idea that his wealth and any perceived power is in any way stable just doesn't check in with reality.
Facebook has none of those characteristics, and nobody's proven that there's anything substantial where they're digging.
I don't think that this new angle is a bandwagon like deriding Facebook was - maybe it's just a sign of the new nuanced approach to thinking about Zuckerberg and Facebook.
I don't mind the Facebook coverage as long as it is original, independent and not just a flailing industry's attempt at staying relevant and interesting by jumping on a bandwagon.
Either Paul Graham and his immediate family have done well for themselves, or maybe, just maybe, it's one of the top 10 most common names for people from the British-Isles.