Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zuckerberg is Us

Walter Bagehot, a British political philosopher in the 19th Century, said that you can tell a lot about a country by looking at who its people admire. Now if I talk about Mark Zuckerberg, you’re going to say what a loser, but that of course is not  an honest reaction. Among recent generations, who really wouldn’t have wanted to create Facebook? Remember when a lot of people from the Ivy’s wanted to become merchant bankers on Wall Street? They could make a lot of money really quickly and ethics wasn’t the most popular course in business school, so anything went.
This is not to throw rocks at any generations, because America has been moving in this direction for quite a while. People have learned to cut corners, shade the truth, and withhold evidence. The only things that impressed a lot of Americans were money and status. I remember when Monica Lewinsky was invited to lots of parties. She was famous for a gulp, but that didn’t matter. She was famous.
Notoriety and picking up a lot of cash were what a lot of people wanted and worked to obtain. Who do you think were the underlings that put together the sub-prime mortgage tranches? It was guys who before would have become professors of Math or Economics. They might have spent a couple of years in the Peace Corps if they came of age during the ‘60s.  But people think professors are people who want to be poor forever and striking it rich is what America’s all about. I wonder if today you would know how to find a lawyer you could really trust. I don't.
This has been evolving over the years; we’re just at one dark point in the journey. There’s a reason congressmen are slimy, they represent us. There’s a reason Bank CEOs are people who act like they crawled out from under a rock. Those are the guys in today’s America who won.
Once Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook he got laid a lot. Mark Zuckerberg is us.

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