No, I am not advocating that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg take on Donald Trump in 2020. Even based on Facebook’s continually growing problems over privacy, and the company’s anemic-to-recalcitrant response, Zuckerberg 2020 could happen. Hey, as a nation, we’ve done worse.
Zuckerberg is a smart man. But we’ve had smart men– even one with a big brain– as president before and that didn’t work out very well. Personally, I think Zuckerberg is too smart– as my father often told me– for his own britches. That he could not see Facebook’s privacy misdeeds as a volcano ready to explode should tell us much about the man and how he deals with a crisis long in the making. Most executives and politicians are not forthcoming when things go bad and Zuckerberg seems to be made of the same cloth.
Rich and powerful? Yes. As smart as he needs to be? No.
So what is it that keeps Apple and its executives somewhat more disciplined about what it does and how it interacts with the public than Facebook and Zuckerberg? It’s not as if Apple hasn’t had its own share of egg on its public face.
Batterygate? Still going on. Antennagate? Well, the whole smartphone industry had an antenna problem. Bendgate? Mine didn’t. Hissgate? Couldn’t hear it. Mapsgate? We’ve moved on. None of these public problems are of the scale Zuckerberg faces with Privacygate, so what’s the difference?
Personally, I think it’s all about money.
Zuckerberg and Facebook were protecting the company’s revenue, profits, and stock price. When it comes to privacy, Apple can afford to be a little more self righteous and disciplined because the company’s revenue, profits, and stock price are not dependent upon harvesting and selling user data.
Money. It’s that simple.
Would Apple’s response to a public scandal regarding customer privacy be the same as Facebook if a larger share of the company’s profits were based upon using the customer’s private information for financial gain?
I want to think no, but people are people, and often money, fame, and fortune are contributing factors to a person falling from the public grace.
Former President Harry Truman on former General Douglas MacArthur:
I fired him because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President…I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the laws for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.
If our current president were managing a resort or casino somewhere, I would be certain that Mark Zuckerberg would not overcome Facebook’s negative publicity regarding Privacygate. Yet, here we are in 2018 and we know that crazy can happen, that powerful forces at home and abroad are capable of manipulating a vast swath of seemingly educated people, so Zuckerberg 2020 may not be as nutty as it sounds.
Tim Cook 2020? Sure. Oprah 2020? Why not? Things are so crazy that I would not be the least bit surprised that Stormy Daniels would run for Senate.