You see the powers that be have already begun a tug-o-war for Zuckerberg to be a Buffet-billionaire or an Ellison-billionaire. The former folksy and begging to be taxed more, the latter thrice married, owner of several yachts that held the title of world's largest and known for doing anything to win in the game of life and business.
Of course all these guys have the same thing in common; they are tremendous competitors and want to make more money. The irony of the movement to tax rich people more is the underlying narrative that those who are not successful have been swindled out of an opportunity. This is a dangerous narrative that will hurt the entire country and those under performing Americans the most. In the meantime, Zuckerberg has said and done things to convince both sides of the ideological aisle thathe could become their poster boy.
Making the World Open and Connected
Showing up for a meeting, designed to add credence to Facebook being a $100.0 billion company, in a hoodie and jeans demonstrates a number of topical issues, including the fact people can't be judged or harmed based on their clothes. Of course this has been Zuckerberg's official dress code for years, but he must understand what the implications are now.
When he was forced to remove his hoodie because of extreme heat back in June 2010, there was a curious insignia that had tongues wagging. Some called it the Illuminati, some said it looked like a union symbol and others thought it was plain confusing. The words stream, platform, and graph probably have double meanings, and we will hear about them in the future. Zuckerberg has endeared himself to the left on numerous occasions, yet by the same token says He would like to only eat food he has killed himself. That's the kind of rugged individualism that gets a lot of heart's pumping and the exact opposite of the idea all 76 million Americans on food stamps are all simply victims of circumstance and not lazy users milking the public. Maybe with 800 million users and counting, Zuckerberg will try to play the middle, which I consider a defeat for capitalism.
In the years to come, It is going to be fun watching him serve as an alternating proxy.
This is especially true now that the left has more or less admitted its ideology didn't match Steve Jobs' actions, and it's not enough to think he was a long-haired guy that smoked pot so he must have been cool. There has been an avalanche of negative articles on Apple recently, which has gone to great lengths to pay as little US taxes as possible while creating hundreds of thousands of jobsï¿½in China.
Right now, I think Zuckerberg will be seen as a possible Buffett heirï¿½a nice billionaire willing to share the wealth even if he is really an Ellison or Jobs billionaire looking to conquer the entire world and all the wealth within.
My Sheraton Moment
That Facebook road show was held at the Sheraton Hotel in New York, the same location where an event that helped shape my life took place. On June 10, 1980, the NBA held its 34th annual basketball draft there. I was a senior in high school and was pumped about the event. I know I was more excited about that day than anyone in line was to see Zuckerberg yesterday. I was in the ballroom watching the event and noticed there was only a velvet rope between the audience and the podium and waiting room. I stood next to that rope for a few minutes and then made my move. In a flash, I was on the other side of the rope then made my way to the buffet room. It was a dream come true.
There were long tables of free food and round tables of soon-to-be professional basketball players.
I was among success, wealth, power, and stars, so I piled up a giant plate and even grabbed a beer. I was only 17, and here I was sitting at a table with the first player picked in the NBA, Joe Barry Carroll. It was amazing. I guess it was even better since society said I wasn't supposed to be there. I was a good basketball player but not NBA material, not even high school varsity material.
I wasn't an agent and would have had to hop the turnstile to ride the subway train if I didn't have a school pass. I was there because I wanted to be there. I was there because I never thought I shouldn't be other than the reasons mentioned above. I didn't let my dreams be held back by official and unofficial rules.
Where are those kids with the countercultural message that says they want to thrive and want to have a better life and want to be rich? I hear them in rap records which I appreciate except avenues mentioned are too narrow. Talk about roads too travelï¿½millions of young people trying to make it as rappers or basketball players are like pouring a volcano of lava into a small funnel. The message about making money and even working hard is there, now we need to hear about being chemists, restaurant owners, engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, etc. Instead, the narrative today is all people should just get stuff and spend their days at giant buffet tables. Some kids in this country know that's not a reality, but they know that for the wrong reasons.
The country is ready for kids that don't know their place in the nation but want to conquer the world. They are out there but we could also help to manufacture them. Although against the giant media machine that has its own agenda, sparking the best in our children is a tall order.
Of course if a self-made millionaire running for president isn't too intimidated to tout work ethic and pride of success, then there is no hope.
The Market and Socialism
I heard commentators suggest the market was fine with the wave of socialism and communism in Europe but that's not true. The market spoke early, swooning out of the gate and then resuming its second to second goal of finding a quick buck. The fact is there wasn't much news from Europe, just a reminder of the fragility of people and their resistance to being weaned off welfare. I did find the harsh selloff of high flying names and companies that missed consensus earnings a reminder that the street needs extra convincing to hold names. Moreover, with such thin volume, there isn't a lot of money sloshing around to sop up messes and misses.
In the meantime, the meaning of those European elections is becoming clearer, and it boils down to a familiar refrain.
Throw the bums out!
There is a clear rejection of entrenched leadership from any political persuasion. Moreover, there is a clear rejection of belt-tightening. This morning the reality of wholesale rejection of politicians in Europe is taking a toll. The notion of nations leaving the euro is rattling markets more so than yesterday when talk of moderation and pragmatism where being tossed around. All that drama last year with the daily Greece-watch will have been for naught if that nation cannot cobble together a government (again) that lives up to obligations.