In an interesting take on reputation damage control regarding the new movie (The Social Network) about Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg in the Wall Street Journal today, I came across the following quote by the producer Scott Rudin about Facebook’s involvement.
”They were trying to figure out a way not to tie Mark’s personal identity to the identity of the company. Because they were and are talking about an inevitable IPO and clearly want the company to be bigger than Mark Zuckerberg.”
There is no way that Zuckerberg’s personality is not tied to the company. When it comes to founding CEOs and when it comes to companies in the technology industry, the link is inextricable and unbreakable. It is a double whammy when the product, in this case Facebook, is so stupendously successful. It would be nice if this were not the case but there is no arguing about this. Think about Steve Jobs and Apple, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Larry Ellison and Oracle and Scott McNealy and Sun Microsystems, to name a few. That’s the way it is. Each of these is endlessly interesting in how these young men started these colossally large firms and changed the industry forever.
Yes, the company is bigger than Zuckerberg, technically-speaking. But as I have said so many times before, the CEO or founder is the public face of the company and no more than it is in this new and exciting social media age. It has a storyline with grand proportions which is why a book has been written and a movie made.
I thought that the New Yorker interview with Zuckerberg added further dimension to the founder’s personality and probably counterbalanced some of the negativity that is in the newly released movie.
Go with the flow.