Monday, March 10, 2008

Zuckerberg Learning As He Goes

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the popular social networking site Facebook, was recently identified by Forbes as the youngest billionaire. Last week, he participated in a highly anticipated interview with BusinessWeek at the South by Southwest Interactive conference.

Whilst the BusinessWeek article was quick to point out Zuckerberg’s faults and Facebook’s apparent failures of late, Advetising Age defended the young billionaire and slammed the BusinessWeek interviewer on her strange and “meandering questions and diversions into anecdotal tales of her previous interviews with Zuckerberg”.

Both articles, however, did shed some light on Facebook’s recently launched advertising model. Beacon, a site service that publishes online shopping information and endorsements to your friends when you purchase something online, does not seem to have taken off in the manner that Facebook had originally envisaged.

Zuckerberg said the Beacon venture has taught him an important lesson. "Almost all of the mistakes we made, we didn't give people enough control," he said. "We need to give people complete control over their information. The more control and the more granular the control, the more info people will share and the more we will be able to achieve our goals."

Considering that Facebook’s broader strategy and vision is to help people communicate effectively, I would have thought that allowing those who use the site to have more, if not complete control on the information they would like shared would be mandatory from the beginning?