When in 2006, at twenty-two, Mark Zuckerberg rejects astronomical $ 1 billion bid from Yahoo! for Facebook, who was then only two years old, his investors – first and foremost a Peter Thiel – are worried. They feel that the kid does not understand anything about business. With hindsight, we can think that the founder of the social network to 2.23 billion fans was right to do not sacrifice the freedom to see your baby grow to the easy money of giants not necessarily well-intentioned towards it.
The bosses of promising start-ups bought by Facebook to dilute better visibly bite their fingers not to have shown the same daring – or the same casual – face a fortune assured. At the end of September, the creators of Instagram have, after those of Oculus and WhatsApp, thrown in the towel rather than continue to accept the increasingly heavy law of the purchaser.
It is not the slightest interest of this complete biography, signed by Daniel Ichbiah, to enlighten the recent setbacks of this funny boss "Who knows everything about us, but we know almost nothing" so much he protects himself. Everything is there, fake news of the last American presidential clashes with former partners, especially on the issue of advertising revenues, central since entering the Nasdaq in 2012. Although the book was published just before the latest controversy – the revelations by the "New York Times" of an orchestrated smear campaign by Facebook executives against personalities who criticized the group – it helps to understand how the king of social networks could get there.
A "supersonic" ascent
With a culture of new technologies that he has been cultivating since the 1980s, the biographer Bill Gates ("Bill Gates and the Saga of Microsoft", 1995) and Steve Jobs ("The Four Lives of Steve Jobs", 2011 ) perfectly resembles the current decisions of "Zuck" in the light of his short but "supersonic" ascent – fourteen years were enough to rise to thirty-four years, the third largest fortunes in the world, according to the 2018 ranking of "Forbes".
In 320 pages very alive, the writer-journalist raises the one that some now ironically nicknamed "Suckerberg" (a word game derived from "it sucks", "it sucks") a "measured" portrait, more positive than the one drawn up in 2010 by Ben Mezrich in The Accidental Billionaires, which inspired David Fincher's film The Social Network.
Ichbiah simply describes, with forceful anecdotes, this ambiguous personality torn between the sincere desire to improve the world – the Silicon Valley mantra – and that of dominating him. As a child, he loved the Risk strategy game, which allowed him to compete with Julius Caesar to conquer the planet. Young boss, he ended the meetings by his Fetish slogan – "Domination of the world! " – in front of employees caught up in the unorthodox ways of this poor manager.
Ichbiah has, in the past, often denounced the societal irresponsibility of internet giants (Facebook, but also Google, Twitter or Wikipedia) who do not take the sometimes very serious consequences of their services on the lives of users. The criticism is valid for the one who is both a generous philanthropist and a thoughtless business leadersometimes scornful.
Applying to Zuckerberg a question that he likes to pose to unclassifiable interlocutors, the biographer wonders on his website if he would trust him as a babysitter. His sympathy for him is tempered by many doubts. Zuck is certainly a daddy full of respect for his family, but his mind is still awake has a strong tendency to disperse and get bored. And if he started coding, thinking about new features, or even engaging in fantasy experiments on the baby? No doubt it would serve later to the outraged parents the same excuse as childish as unacceptable as Mossberg and the Congress: " I am sorry. "
"Mark Zuckerberg, biography," by Daniel Ichbiah, The Martiniere, 329 pages, 19.90 euros.