Misunderstanding a Zuck Move

February 4, 2022

I read some posts — for instance, “Facebook Just Had Its Most Disappointing Quarter Ever. Mark Zuckerberg’s Response Is the 1 Thing No Leader Should Ever Do” — suggesting that Mark Zuckerberg is at fault for his company’s contrarian financial performance. The Zucker move is a standard operating procedure in a high school science club. When caught with evidence of misbehavior, in my high school science club in 1958, we blamed people in the band. We knew that blaming a mere athlete would result in a difficult situation in the boys’ locker room.

Thus it is obvious that the declining growth, the rise of the Chinese surveillance video machine, and the unfriended Tim Apple are responsible for which might be termed a zuck up. If this reminds you of a phrase used to characterize other snarls like the IRS pickle, you are not thinking the way I am. A “zuck up” is a management action which enables the world to join together. Think of the disparate groups who can find fellow travelers; for example, insecure teens who need mature guidance.

I found this comment out of step with the brilliance of the lean in behavior of Mr. Zuckerberg:

Ultimately, you don’t become more relevant by pointing to your competitors and blaming them for your performance. That’s the one thing no company–or leader–should ever do.

My reasoning is that Mr. Zuckerberg is a manipulator, a helmsman, if you will. Via programmatic methods, he achieved a remarkable blend of human pliability and cash extraction. He achieved success by clever disintermediation of some of his allegedly essential aides de camp. He achieved success by acquiring competitors and hooking these third party mechanisms into the Facebook engine room. He dominated because he understood the hot buttons of Wall Street.

I expect the Zuck, like the mythical phoenix (not the wonderful city in Arizona) to rise from the ashes of what others perceive as a failure. What the Zuck will do is use the brilliant techniques of the adolescent wizards in a high school science club to show “them” who is really smart.

Not a zuck up.

Stephen E Arnold, February 4, 2022


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