Steve Jobs Versus Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg has no social skills, but he created the world's most popular social network. He was born the same year that Steve hurled his Macintosh against his Big Brother, IBM. Twenty-six years later, Mark’s empty eyes stare at us from cover of Time Magazine with the headline, “Person of The Year”. The public voted for Mac-toting troublemaker, Julian Assange to receive the award. In fact, he received twenty times more votes than Mark. However, the news icon decided Mark was a safer option to connect with the Time brand name. The nut-shelled reason that Mark is on the December cover is that he has connected one-twelfth of the world’s population. Time explains itself:
Facebook makes cyberspace more like the real world: dull but civilized. The masked-ball period of the Internet is ending. Where people led double lives, real and virtual, now they lead single ones again. The fact that people yearned not to be liberated from their daily lives but to be more deeply embedded in them is an extraordinary insight, as basic and era-defining in its way as Jobs' realization that people prefer a graphical desktop to a command line or pretty computers to boring beige ones.[1]

Steve blew his chance of winning this accolade in 1982. Does Steve really need the award anyway? Consider some of its previous recipients: Stalin (twice), Mao, Nixon, and George W Bush.

Hollywood has made a scathing and critically acclaimed film about Mark called The Social Network. Like Pirates of Silicon Valley, it details the mercenary tactics behind building a digital empire. The film was released on the heels of a hot trend of people leaving Facebook. Information Week[2] reported that Peter Rojas, founder of Gizmodo and Engadget, and Google guru, Matt Cutts have turned off their Facebook pages in protest against the enfant terrible who built it. Mark is making influential enemies, but his worst enemy is himself. He Shanghaied ConnectU and then joked about it, “They made a mistake ha, ha. They asked me to make it for them. So I’m like delaying it so it won’t be ready until after the Facebook thing comes out”. He hacked Harvard reporters’ accounts to stop an investigation about him.[3] He stole the check-in feature from Foursquare. He stole public facing profiles from Twitter. Then he changed his customers’ privacy settings three times.

Mark’s office is a twenty-minute drive from Steve’s. The Apple CEO was generous enough to be the first to sponsor Mark through his Apple Students Group.[4] Steve also featured Facebook pages in his iPad commercials. In June 2010, the un-grateful start-up up-start scrawled on his Facebook page, “This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make calls." Later, he replaced the iPhone with an Android.[5]

In September, Forbes Magazine announced that Mark is richer than Steve.[6] Regardless of Mark's rank in a rich man's magazine, Steve reigns supreme as the entrepreneur teenagers most admire. This is Mark’s most important demographic, and his greatest loss if he wants their support. The 2010 Junior Achievement Teens and Entrepreneurship survey placed Steve as number one favorite. Mark was down the list at number six, behind Oprah. A look at the questions reveals why this Steve was numero uno. Thirty-one percent admired entrepreneurs who “make a difference in people’s lives”. Wealth and fame earned only ten percent of their vote. Twenty-four percent said, “Controlling your destiny” was the key motivation to become an entrepreneur like Steve.[7]

Just like Steve, Mark travelled from place to place in India on a “vision quest” for a month of “pleasure and contemplation”. Though for Steve, he found less pleasure and more disappointment than contemplation.  Both men returned to the States only to sleep on the floor and foster formidable enemies. Mark kicked out his co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, whereas Steve’s co-founder left the company on his own ticket. Unfortunately, Mark doesn’t have the protection of Steve’s charismatic personality. He’s a PR train wreck.

Following in Steve’s footsteps, Mark tried to diffuse the harsh light shed upon him by the bio-pic by appearing on Saturday Night Live with the actor who portrayed/betrayed him. Unfortunately, Mark lacked Steve’s control over the event. The largely improvised sketch merely cemented the film’s portrayl.
The Social Network’s composer, rebel-without-a-pause Trent Reznor, won the Oscar and the Golden Globe for the score. The digital virtuoso had this to say about Mark,
When I see the media heralding Zuckerburg, putting him up on a pedestal of genius and mentioned in the same breath as Steve Jobs, I highly disagree with that. He was in the right place, at the right time, with a functional tool.[8]
The one thing Mark has over Steve is a knack for social networking. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn et cetera all know how to play nicely with one another. Old man Steve just doesn’t get it. Social networking involves alien concepts that Steve can’t quite grasp: community, altruism, gift economy, the non-rival good. He tried to create a social network called Ping for his iTune people to connect with each other. The oracle of social media,, says the clunky Ping “lives in a ghetto of its own. It doesn’t interact with other social networks at all, and that breaks one of the cardinal rules of social media if you ask us.”[9] It seems the open social concept grates on Steve’s closed up sociopathic sensibility. Steve tried to connect Ping with Facebook, but Mark pulled that plug soon after Steve announced Ping.[10] How embarrassing.
Steve invited Mark over for dinner in early October, 2010.[11] Perhaps there’s something these two can learn from one another. Whatever conversation transpired, they must have agreed to disagree on agreeable terms. When Mark heard that Steve was taking a medical leave in January, 2010, he posted on his Facebook with his iPhone, “Steve, you've done so much good for the world already. I hope you get better soon.” (150 people ‘liked” this). Nevertheless, Facebook maintains its distance from the lone wolf Ping.
At the Silicon Valley dinner with MacHead Obama, Mark sat on the President’s right hand side whilst Steve sat on his left. Steve was the only man not in a shirt and tie. Guess what he wore?

[1] Grossman, L. (2010, December 15) Person of The year: Mark Zuckerberg. Time Magazine.

[2] Diana, A. (2010, May 11) Facebook Deactivations Gaining Attention. Information Week.

[3] Carlson, C. (2010, March 5) At Last – The Full Story Of How Facebook was Founded. Business Insider. Retrieved from

[4] Frommer, D. (2010, September) Apple And Facebook Talked For More Than A Year -- Then Apple Launched Ping Without Facebook's Help. Business Insider. Retrieved from:

[5] Matyszczyk, C. (2010, June 14) Facebook's Zuckerberg disses iPhone, removes post. Retrieved from

[6] Bertoni, S. (2010, September 22) Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Richer Than Apple’s Steve Jobs [blog]. Money Talks. From Retrieved from:

[7] Junior Achievement (2010) Latest Teen Idol: Steve Jobs. Retrieved from:

[8] Adams, S. (2010, October 11) Interview: Trent Reznor discusses The Social Network soundtrack. Drowned In Sound. Retrieved from:

[9] Axon, S. (2010, October 16) Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg Talked Ping Over Dinner. Retrieved from:

[10] Swisher, K. (2010, September 2) Steve Jobs on Why Facebook Is Not Part of Apple’s New Ping Music Social Network: “Onerous Terms” [blog]. BoomTown. From AllThingsD. Retrieved from:

[11] Guynn, J. (2010, October 15) Apple's Steve Jobs pings Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg for dinner. Los Angeles Times.


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