In Zuck We Trust?

In Zuck We Trust?

Mark Zuckerberg does not trust his people.

Facebook is a great example of a company that has lost its way as founder CEO Mark Zuckerberg increasingly exercises control over product decisions.

Tightening control. It is difficult to fault Zuckerberg for tightening his grip on Facebook’s strategic reins in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Whether or not you agree with Zuckerberg’s strategic decision to evolve Facebook into a secure messaging platform is beside the point. Where we have a bone to pick with Mr. Zuckerberg is his decision to insert himself into Product Management decisions that typically are the purview of Product Managers. Zuckerberg wouldn’t be the first founder to believe that because he got it right once he can do no wrong. Zuckerberg’s power grab and product meddling has resulted in a number of Facebook senior executives leaving the ranks in recent months.

Zuck lacks “Trust”. Zuckerberg does not sufficiently trust his people – those who spend all day every day living and breathing Facebook’s various products, features and functionality. This lack of trust is in line with Zuckerberg’s “trust” score based upon the CEORater Big 5 Personality Analysis that we ran. Zuckerberg’s “trust” score sits at the 62nd percentile relative to the broader population. For comparison, Tim Cook’s trust score is at the 78th percentile, Elon Musk at the 80th percentile and GM’s CEO Mary Barra at the 90th percentile. The below image is from Zuckerberg’s Big 5 Personality Analysis which you may access by clicking the link in the image caption.

Mark Zuckerberg “Trust” Score. Click Here for full Zuckerberg personality analysis.

Instagram – Killing the Golden Goose. One could argue that were it not for Instagram’s success, Facebook’s reported usage metrics and valuation would be substantially less than where those figures stand today. Zuckerberg’s meddling in Instagram’s user experience (UI/UX) is ultimately what caused Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom to leave last year. We touched on this topic last year in a TEK2day Podcast episode when Systrom announced his Facebook resignation. To borrow a football analogy, rather than continue to run the plays that have worked, Zuckerberg chose to throw out the playbook and change the offensive coordinator.



At the root of Instagram’s problem is Zuckerberg’s desire to further monetize Instagram by driving Ads into the user feed. This change is similar to forcing Las Vegas hotel guests to walk through casino floors in order to access checkout services and elevators. Instagram users must sift through Ads in order to access the content they care about. Further, Ads aren’t clearly marked, carrying only a “sponsored” label which users must train themselves to look for in order to distinguish advertisements from user-generated content. Ads create friction, dilute the user experience and can quickly turn users against a social media platform. Our bet is that Instagram usage declines both in terms of user growth rate and user activity on the platform. My behavior has changed in recent weeks as a result of Instagram Ads. I’m not willing to pay the toll of having to face ads at Instagram logon prior to my accessing the content I care about (speaking both of our CEORater and TEK2day Instagram content as well as my personal content). Time will tell. Whether or not these product and strategic decisions work for Facebook – they will be Zuckerberg’s decisions – regardless of outcome.


Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress April 2018.

CEORater Big 5 CEO Personality Analysis