TED Conversations

Roger Farinha

Founder, New American Spring

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If you could do an ideological project with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, what would it be?

To be a TEDster, one must be a big dreamer. I dream of a massive face-to-face community network designed to revitalize traditional community, with the secondary but priceless effects of reforming US adult citizenship, and US youth character formations. This network must moreover have a social-networking, technological dimension. I can think of no person more suited to this side of my ideological project, than Mark Zuckerberg himself. He has demonstrated his ideological prowess and has arrived as one of the top technological geniuses of our time. Yet I feel I have the community organizational genius to design a face-to-face network equaled to his social network in Facebook--if only he would go to work for me, pro Bono; and be willing to write a whole new social networking dimension for my nonprofit organizational movement in New American Spring. (www.newamericanspring.org)

What would YOUR dream be, had you the opportunity to work with an accomplished social entrepreneur?

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    Dec 5 2012: Mark who? I don't know this man and I don't share the 'buzz' about Facebook.

    For a personal project I only choose people I know and whom I trust, so there would be none with Mark Zuckerberg.
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      Dec 5 2012: Facebook is the newest golden child of the new tech entrepreneurial phenomenon. Like anything else, once it becomes too big, it becomes unpopular with people like you and, sad to say, me sometimes (in my elitist moments)-- feeling that I'm not "smarter than the rest" if I go with the hype.

      But this is exactly why Facebook, and Mark, would do well to branch out in a nonprofit endeavor. It will give Facebook new credibility, it will be something never before done-- it would actually translate into entrepreneurial genius, if Zuckerburg would hear me out. For I represent the ideological strain of humanity-- the dreamers who will not sell out to the profit motive.

      Here's a quote from my book, the first modern-day American classic (soon to be):

      "No longer should our greatest energies be dedicated to the motive of material survival and creature comfort—the status quo, global condition which seeks to reduce all major human initiatives to the commonest value of money. Corporations are not persons, and unenlightened capitalism is beastly! With the birth of a radically new non-profit movement, we might attain to our next evolutionary step. Let our present society be seen for its shameful and no longer quiet desperation, for Henry David Thoreau long ago called us out. If non-profit organizations would arise to compete alongside for profit businesses, for example, propelled by the best and brightest and most talented of our species (individuals no longer seduced by primitive profiteering), our world would gradually transform into a new Atlantis."
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        Dec 5 2012: Regarding your quote and what it describes, people in France in 1789, not smarter than the rest, would have set out to collect what ever they could find to build and to put on their first barricades.

        So if you hope to win Mark Zuckerberg to become the revolutionary leader of your movement, you are either lacking charisma or conviction in your abilities and beliefs, or all - yet for certain you did not understand the idea behind Facebook if you choose for a fox to guard your hen house, if NOT '... to reduce all major human initiatives to the commonest value of money' IS what you are after.

        You appear to provoke for the sake of good and controverse arguments, so it would be interesting to know about the real intention of your question here.

        And I would be surprised if you buy what you said about the 'new tech entrepreneurial phenomenon', so what is it you like to find your answers for?
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          Dec 5 2012: Definitely not the revolutionary leader, Zuckerburg, but the first humble entrepreneur (so defined by accidental fate) who recognizes the paradox only few geniuses do-- that in not initially looking solely at financial profit, profit often comes as a bi-product. Heck, this is perhaps the very reason Facebook got so large. I personally don't feel Mark had the capitalist vision of Facebook in the beginning, as much as an ideological project as I do. I, however, am adamant about not-for-profit revolutionary evolutionary innovation-- so there is no plan to ever be swallowed by the capitalist monster. This is not to say, however, that Facebook cannot remain a for-profit company, having a nonprofit subsidiary in a tech-symbiosis, later to enjoy capitalistic boon for that unlikely relationship.
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        Dec 5 2012: You are limiting your view if you connect 'evolutionary leadership' to success only, as there is no binding cause and effect realtion to it. Elevating Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to entrepreneurial role-models is nothing but a false conclusion. Their success is a conglomerate out of chance and uninfluenceable timing, as they had been at the right place at the right time. Without the slightest doubt they have their talents, but those are neither extraordinary, nor rare, nor superior compared to others which are around. We come to see great leadership or inspirational thinkers only if they succeed, financially, which probably spawns the term 'golden' for such a 'child'.

        But is 'net profit' a true and only indicator of outstanding achievements, people and ideas? Wikipedia Germany is currently asking for donations, so do I have to take this as evidence of their incapacity to run this beautiful concept successfully? According to your 'new tech entrepreneurial phenomenon' they are nothing but lousy beggars, right? I seperate 'buzz' from 'value', which is true to ME.

        Those who follow the herd get only to see - buttocks! And this not always literally.

        Exceedingly few entrepreneurs set out for exorbitant financial revenues only, and it does not take genious, to figure out why. Moral corruption happens on the way of success, not at its very start. You may set in stone today your obduracy on the 'non-profit' part of your revolution, as a constant reminder of the very beginning.

        History is full of examples that especially this feature proves itself difficult to maintain and it takes stout hearts for all of us when we get to the point where decisions come up to be finally - and financially - made and not just imagined.

        Good luck with your movement! Yet remember, pride comes before a fall, and this feature can spawn even at a very beginning.

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