Skip to main content

Mark Zuckerberg Getting Hip to the Mandate of Kevin

Recent public statements by the socially awkward (but getting better now that he's feeling more comfortable in his own nerdy skin) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have at last convinced me that the second-largest and most-valuable social network is increasingly growing cognizant of its dependency on the prosumer. Zuckerberg's updated thoughts on decentralization (understanding the inevitability), monetization (finding the right niches) and democratization (a big theme in his recent interviews and statements) should serve to pacify those in the blogosphere who have been calling for his head in light of internal drama, digital rights debacles and a totally debunked revenue crisis.

Decentralization (above): "We're big believers in the idea that over time the value will decentralize from just being on Facebook to being spread out over the eco-system. Ultimately I think that's a really good thing. I think that's it's good for the web to have all of that functionality built into these different applications and I think that the place that Facebook will hold in the ecosystem will move more away from being a website to being more this platform and this representation of the graph." Full vid interview here.

In light of 1) the recent web chatter that Facebook and Twitter should be positioning to monetize their information through search, 2) Twitter's successful open developer strategy, 3) Zuckerberg's assertion that Facebook can expand its Connect platform to become a newfangled version of PayPal, and 4) the success of cross-platform comment app, it seems obvious that Facebook is being tugged toward decentralization. The question is, how will Facebook manage decentralization, granular content control, and integration with other apps? The company seems to have realized that it must keep its prosumer nation happy. Hopefully understanding that this makes good business sense will make for a better Facebook experience. Ultimately, this approach will be key to keeping open-source competitors at arms length.

Monetization: "I think [a Facebook payment system] has the potential to be really important. Its potential correlates with how valuable it is to developers and users. There’s a bunch of things that we test as a company, and we basically choose what to invest in based on what people are doing. I don’t really have anything new to add to the information that you already have on this. ... But based on how our tests go, we may choose to do a lot more. We’re pretty optimistic [about the potential performance of the payments service], but we don’t really have a sense of how big it will be yet either. I do think it is one interesting area."

Thoughtful, deliberate testing is key for a company of that size. A payment system seems critical, especially if the bigger goal is to empower constituent prosumers as they transfer data and content. Listening to users is Rule #1 of web businesses. Allowing them the freedom to discover the value, then amplifying those processes and monetizing indirectly seems like the rule of thumb for large prosumer businesses looking to innovate rapidly. Gotta stay in tune with that moving target known as the Mandate of Kevin.

Democratization: "Growing rapidly to 200 million users is a really good start, but we've always known that in order for Facebook to help people represent everything that is happening in their world, everyone needs to have a voice. This is why we are working hard to build a service that everyone, everywhere can use, whether they are a person, a company, a president or an organization working for change. ... There are still many more people and groups in the world whose voices we want to connect with everyone who wants to hear them. So even as we celebrate the 200 millionth person and all of you using Facebook today, we are working to bring the power of sharing to everyone in the world."

Many will chalk up this talk as rhetorical fluff, but given that Zuckerberg seems to be taking a personal stake in the gradual democratization of Facebook, I think it's quite likely the company will increasingly take the allegiance of the prosumer base more seriously. Why? Because that's where the money will come from.

Prosumer Empowerment = $$$$$$: Really, it is irrelevant whether or not Zuckerberg's recent public posturing is rooted in genuine benevolence. What matters is that the Facebook apparatus appears to be smart enough to realize that Monetization opportunities are correlated with the Empowerment that comes with natural Decentralization and/or Democratization, thus abiding by the Mandate of Kevin and developing a increasingly compelling system that will deliver more informational and financial value to its users - the 200 million + and growing Kevins.

Popular posts from this blog

Building Human-Level A.I. Will Require Billions of People

The Great AI hunger appears poised to quickly replace and then exceed the income flows it has been eliminating. If we follow the money, we can confidently expect millions, then billions of machine-learning support roles to emerge in the very near-term, majorly limiting if not reversing widespread technological unemployment.

Human-directed machine learning has emerged as the dominant process for the creation of Weak AI such as language translation, computer vision, search, drug discovery and logistics management. Increasingly, it appears Strong AI, aka AGI or "human-level" AI, will be achieved by bootstrapping machine learning at scale, which will require billions of humans in-the-loop

How does human-in the-loop machine learning work? The process of training a neural net to do something useful, say the ability to confidently determine whether a photo has been taken indoors or outside, requires feeding it input content, in this case thousands of different photographs, allowing…


The similarities between Mark Zuckerberg and Genghis Khan are uncanny:

Genghis Khan was born in the Mongolian plains in 1162 - not far from the current capital Ulaanbaatar.  Mark Zuckerberg was born in White Plains in 1984 - not far from world media capital New York City.  Genghis Khan became leader of his tribe at the age of 12 and began plotting world domination. Mark Zuckerberg became leader of his middle school Coders Club at the age of 12 and began planning world domination.  Genghis Khan committed a questionable act by killing his half-brother, Bekhter, during a fight which resulted from a dispute over hunting spoils. This incident cemented his position as head of the household.  Mark Zuckerberg committed a questionable act of killing Facebook predecessor ConnectU by mimicking its features and took all the spoils.  This incident cemented Facebook as the leading social network at Harvard. Genghis Khan used his cunning to unite the warring Naimans, Merkits, Uyghurs, Tatars,

Ingress - A Precursor of the World to Come

With over 500K active players, Ingress, the Google-funded augmented reality game for Android, is about to exit Beta and already marks a notable step forward in gaming and interactive media. As it scales, it could have a major psychological and material impact on our world.

Ingress as Indicator: Futurists, tech bloggers, entrepreneurs, investors and sci-fi writers all spend much time scouring the world for interesting signals from the edge to identify emerging trends or even the next big thing. In the past decade, many have zeroed in on gamification, augmented reality and the ongoing mobile explosion as important zones of development. Residing squarely at the intersection of these potent growth areas is Ingress, the quirky augmented reality game that hearkens to visions of the future contained in works like Snow Crash, Otherland and Rainbows End. As I’ve played the game (I’m up to Level 7 of 8), I’ve come to believe that it’s an important precursor of things to come.

Gameplay: Created b…