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In college I fell in love with the idea of building my own social app.

Senior year was mostly spent making hundreds (thousands?) of Photoshop mockups of my better, more world-changing replacement to Facebook.

Things got so bad, I'd started constructing fictional interviews with journalists covering my non-existent unicorn!

One went like this:

Journalist: "You know, some people are calling you the [insert novel attribute about me] Mark Zuckerberg"

I'd chuckle pretentiously, lean in smugly and say:

Me: "Actually, I prefer to think of him as the Jewish [insert my name]"

Boom! I'd wittily establish myself as Mark's equal, we'd both have a good laugh, and the interview would continue.

Notes from an anonymous ceo.

What on Elon's green earth was wrong with me?

If you weren't there in the early 2000's, it's hard to explain how easy it was to be irrationally ambitious in tech.

There were only a handful of tech blogs (TechCruch, Mashable, GigaOm), and every narrative in the media framed hyper-growth as good and inevitable.

(Big crypto vibes right here!)

We all wanted to be rich, famous, and "change the world" –  it felt like anyone with the right idea could make it big.

This is exactly what I wanted, and what Mark lived with Facebook.

He did everything expected of him each step of the way (except turning down a billi from Yahoo – that was gangster) without the slightest idea what he was actually signing up for 20 years down the road.

Today I look at Zuck and mostly feel deep compassion,  and wouldn't trade my life for his if you paid me.


Testifying before congress, getting publicly scrutinized on a daily basis, and being blamed for the world's problems just doesn't sound appealing to me. You?

He's reached what I'm calling Zuckerdom – when accumulated power starts to negatively impact your quality of life and public perception.

Mo' influence, mo' problems.

Knowing what you don't want in life is a powerful thing.

While I wouldn't swap my swim shorts for his hoodie/suit, I appreciate and thank Mark for being my billion-dollar guinea pig.

His journey has helped me understand what I do want:

  1. To have ambitious goals framed by social good and positive impact.
  2. The admiration of others as a result of a thoughtful, sustainable business.
  3. Just enough influence to help many others live meaningful and healthy lives.

Be a boss, leave a comment.


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