Arment Dietrich

Five Things I Want to Tell Mark Zuckerberg to His Face

By: Arment Dietrich | February 16, 2011 | 
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After reading the New York Times article last night about the idea of a Facebook phone, I can’t keep quiet anymore.  I am the Facebook…master?…guru?…go-to-person (man, I sound lame) at Arment Dietrich, so I’ve outlined five things I would like to say to Mark Zuckerberg.

Number one, Don’t come out with a Facebook phone.  Let’s face it; we don’t need Facebook at the tips of our fingers every second.  I love Facebook, probably more than the next person, but my BlackBerry Facebook app works just fine and I’m on that enough.

Number two, we’re sick of having to learn about, and then change our own privacy settings.  We all know you’ve gotten a lot of crap for the privacy settings and amount of personal information you request from your users, so why don’t you make the change?  I’m confused here.  Either tell me why you want our information or don’t allow the system to open up all my personal data and request me to go in each week and remark it as private.

Number three, Egypt.  Wow.  It’s amazing that this revolution all started with a few kids using your product as a tool to connect with others who felt the same way.  I applaud you (and your PR team) for not bragging and claiming Facebook made this happen.  You took a classy stand here and I have no more to say.

Number four, it would be considered cool if you went back to school and finished getting your degree.  Now that you’re entering your late 20’s you’re maturing and realizing there are millions of people out there who look up to you.  Being quoted as the “Harvard dropout” isn’t sexy to me and it’s disappointing that you donated money towards education but you’re not walking your talk.

Number five, do more with your power.  Yes, you donated $100 million to Newark public schools but after watching the amazing documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” it’s not about the money.  Change in our education system needs to happen and voices as loud as yours can make change.  Take for example your elder, Bill Gates.  He is out there every day advocating and trying to make good.  We know that Facebook is your baby and you want to coddle it and help it grow.  But just think of the good you can do.  Seriously, just think about it.

If you had the chance, what would you say to the billion dollar man of the year?

  • JaimieField

    Molli –

    I love the 5 things you would say.

    May I add a 6th? Answer the hard questions (Be more forthecoming with the press). The softball questions that were lobbed at you while you were on 60 minutes were definitely orchestrated by you and your PR team. If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that we have no expectations of privacy if we put it out there. As the founder and owner of, you should allow more people in to your world. And to continue with this line:

    Statement 6.5: Settle the issues with the people who claim THEY invented Facebook. Whether or not they did or didn’t doesn’t matter. Having legal issues hanging over your head and watching the people who claim they invented Facebook go on talk show after talk show and not having you respond is ridiculous. Shouldn’t you have your say?

    Jaimie

  • Yes Egypt is a big PR done right for FB. Not sure I would say the same thing about Google.

    I read that Harvard would be happy to see him come back and finish his degree. That would do wonders for their PR and fundraising. Wouldn’t want to be his computer science professor though. What can Harvard honestly bring him? I believe that the tough part is getting in these schools, once you can excel there, if you stay too long, they mold you into another corporate cog, which Mark isn’t. I think he showed kids that you can succeed without a Harvard degree (as did Bill Gates) and this doesn’t say much for all the other kids who got themselves into debt for getting the Harvard stamp on their degree.

    I am not saying Harvard is a bad school, it’s excellent, but it’s really good at producing what society needs not entrepreneurship. I know every university now has entrepreneurship courses but seriously, this goes agaisnt the whole idea of entrepreneurship. You are meant to think for yourself, come up with and idea and develop it, not sit in a class listen to someone who has never done in his or her life tell you how to do it.

    Ok, end of rant. I whole heartedly agree that change is needed BIG TIME in the education system. You are absolutely right, throwing money at it is not the solution. I believe the system needs to be redesigned, not grown with more money. The current system doesn’t work, tear it down and rebuild it. By throwing money at the problem you are just making it last longer and grow bigger.

    Thanks for this great post Molli!

  • CarmenKrushas

    Well, actually, five things I’d like to say to your face (but alas, I am thousands of miles from you, so this will have to do).
    1. I think it is GREAT to have a FB phone. We are already using the apps to communicate through our phones, why not go the extra mile and extend with a skype/FB phone? Talk about very little money to stay connected (I hate phone bills, especially data roaming charges that I incur in the gobs).
    2. I think you’re spot-on about the privacy settings. I cant keep up and I work in the space.
    3. Egypt. Sorry, but dont think that it was FB running the show. It is like saying that we drove the red coats out and had the candle maker to thank for that.
    4. Also disagree on your point about finishing college. Its fallacious to expect that someone has to walk the talk.
    5. I think he has contributed as the small bit he provided is actually part of a larger scheme of philanthropy. He signed up for the Giving Pledge, which essentially has him donating a massive amount of his income to philanthropies. I do believe he was the youngest person to sign up for the pledge.

    Cheers and happy Facebooking!

  • dino_dogan

    Id tell him to cash out. FB has reached its peak, its all downhill from here. Sell it to Murdock so he can ruin it the way he ruined myspace and we’ll all start using something else.

    Also, I’d like to take issue with you Molli regarding him finishing college. I think Zack sets a great example showing that kids dont have to finish college in order to be successful. In fact, the other guy you mention in your article, Bill Gates, never finished school either.

    Traditional routes to success are overrated.

  • This list is awesome. My personal favorites are #4 and #5. If you’re going to be a trailblazer, leverage your dollars and your actions.

    Love it.

  • I thought all the uber rich guys were supposed to drop out of college? 🙂

    Joking aside your point about doing more with the power, I think in this area he’s actually ahead of the game. It really takes most ultra rich successful business people years before they are concerned with anything but making more money. Gates is a great example, of course he has more than made up for it. It would be awesome if he did indeed do more with his power, perhaps starting a foundation that he could funnel a small percentage of Facebooks annual revenue into in support of education?

    What would I say to him? “Hi Mark, it is a pleasure to meet you.” 🙂

  • FollowtheLawyer

    Honestly, I have no interest in speaking with him because I don’t believe he’s interested in what most others have to say.

  • HowieSPM

    OH MY!!! It’s funny I had an exchange with someone today about how Facebook is trying to be everything while doing none of it great. It’s why Yelp is trouncing them, and Groupon, and FourSquare’s etc. They really are a communication platform and that is it. Everything else is not their core competency and by doing these other things even their compatency is starting to suck.

    As for $100million that is in ‘Stock’ that was given when the company was valued at $30bil. Which is they go public at $10bil is worth $33mil (another example of misleading numbers from them).

    And me being local Facebook hater who can’t wait for a better option LOVE THIS POST!
    Truth! She tells the Truth! And nothing but the Truth! Amen!

  • TroyCostlow

    @CarmenKrushas Agreed on all points.

  • Thanks, Mollie. Nice job.

    I’m only posting a specific link because it would be cool with Gini;

    I already told him how I feel. Gently.

    http://www.thefranchisekingblog.com/2010/08/does-facebook-need-to-go-byebye

  • Ok. Nice job, Molli.

    I don’t normally post a “specific” link in a commnet, but Gini would be cool with this one;

    I told Zuckerberg exactly how I feel, in my usual gentl way;

    http://www.thefranchisekingblog.com/2010/08/does-facebook-need-to-go-byebye.html

  • lisagerber

    I agree with you, @HowieSPM i always say I like to go to my silos for whatever I need in my social networking. I don’t want to see who’s at the grocery store in my facebook feed. and I don’t want to check in to anything when I’m on Yelp! Everyone should just stick to what they do well and stop trying to get into each other’s junk!

  • jkarneges

    Just because Zuck doesn’t have a formal computer science education doesn’t mean he has no education at all. He no doubt studied his ass off during his teenage years and probably went to a lot less school dances than you did. 😛 The moral of the story is that learning is valuable, however it is done.

    I definitely wouldn’t put him in the same category as typical dropouts who have no informal education as a substitute, and I think any student contemplating dropping out would know the difference.

  • Ok so I completely agree with the privacy thing Molli…it is very annoying. I have had a Facebook account the moment my university was put on (beginning of my freshmen year of college). I have seen it go through many changes…the privacy thing undoubtedly drives me nuts every time. Seriously, allow stuff to be private (anything we want!) and stick to the way it’s done. I know it’s even more confusing and unfair to people like my Mom who hasn’t “grown up” with Facebook and had all her college buddies there to help her figure it all out.

    As for the formal education part I don’t necessarily agree…just because you went to college doesn’t mean your smart or that you’ll do something with yourself. There are a few rare people I know even personally that have not gone to college and are very successful. Learning is something that is constant…college degree or not if you are dedicated to life long learning you will be successful.

    I do agree with the just throwing money at schools. Why not spend sometime figuring out how Facebook can help education or implementing and funding programs in school to teach about online safety, cyber bullying, and how to use social networks appropriately? C’mon at least actually get your hands dirty.

    I would personally love to ask him about his friendships and relationship specifically with Eduardo Saverin (his co-founder back in the day) and see his view point on the situation. Although…I am sure he will never really divulge but I would find it intriguing to read his body language and see what he is actually like talking to on a personal level.

    Great post Molli!

  • 3HatsComm

    @johnfalchetto I was about to say the same thing about the degree, as we’ve shifted due to the economy. That piece of paper isn’t always a guarantee of success, the ROI isn’t always there though the expense clearly doesn’t matter to someone like Mark. Per Molli’s comment, I get how “college dropout” doesn’t exactly speak wonders and “self-made, start up” may read better but that “spin” will be used b/c of the uniqueness of the story, b/c the media likes to say “Harvard drop out.” JMHO. I think he’s learning in the real world AND giving back, supporting education. Yes he could do more, but so could I. FWIW.

  • 3HatsComm

    Like @rachaelseda I’d like to see better, more powerful and customizable controls for Facebook beyond just lists but to specific apps, groups, pages, etc. Since it’s crossing personal and professional lines, I’d like to be able to IDK… discuss this or that PR or social media post without boring my high school friends; and be able to chat about my questionable tastes in TV w/ out my peers and clients wondering what the hell I’m doing playing on FB when I should be working. 😉 As for what I’d say: Damn, wish I’d thought of it first. Then follow @dino_dogan advice, cash out and enjoy. FWIW.

  • DonovanGroupInc

    Seriously?? I’d tell him to sell Facebook – retire into obscurity for a while and then come back to make a significant contribution to society. It’s time Mark…it’s time.

  • vishyvibes

    I already had my letter out quite sometime back. Dont know if it reached him. Here it is: http://biswajeetrana.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/an-open-letter-to-mark-zuckerberg/

  • MolliMegasko

    My client just wrote an interesting post on the Giving Pledge, and what do you know, Mark signed it. http://www.wealthclarityblog.com/the-giving-pledge-how-to-be-like-warren-buffett

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