you were not a lowly clerk

I’m not the only person who noticed that Mark Zuckerberg is going to have more than the usual amount of control over Facebook (Facebook Facebook Facebook), both unto his grave and beyond. As a conceptual matter I’m kind of down with that though I’m not going to, like, buy shares in the IPO or anything.* But my basic take is that, if you’re going to buy stock in in a poking machine that makes about a penny per user per day, you should be willing to trust Mark Zuckerberg. Because if you were the inventor of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook, or something.

The alternative to giving a hoodied 27-year-old complete control over all aspects of a multibillion dollar business is to have a team of professional managers being all professional and managing by committee and checking each others’ work. It is not clear what is better. I suspect Facebook would not be a $100 billion asset today if it had sold to Yahoo in 2006 though, also, no one has ever accused Yahoo of being professionally managed. But the point is that those are two distinct styles and there are arguments for both. Professionalism has much to recommend it but so does complete domination by one visionary; for instance, founder dominated firms outperform the market.

On the other hand there is a downside to dominant visionaries, as some (non-Zynga-based) hog farmers now know all too well: Read more »