On the occasion of Facebook's 10th birthday, Mark Zuckerberg sat down with Businessweek to reflect on what the magazine generously calls the company's pubescent period. (Please. A decade in social network years makes Facebook more like 45-years-old.)
In keeping with this middle-aged maturity, Zuckerberg's annual vow is straight out of Miss Manners. Rather than the precocious (learn Mandarin) and bro-cious (only eat animals he's slaughtered himself) yearly challenges he's set for himself before:
For this year he intends to write at least one well-considered thank-you note every day, via e-mail or handwritten letter.
"It's important for me, because I'm a really critical person," he says at Facebook's sprawling corporate campus in Menlo Park, Calif. "I always kind of see how I want things to be better, and I'm generally not happy with how things are, or the level of service that we're providing for people, or the quality of the teams that we built. But if you look at this objectively, we're doing so well on so many of these things. I think it's important to have gratitude for that."
Asked about having his private messages made public, Zuckerberg seems pensive, not upset. "Oh, I don't know, that's probably not what I would have done," he says, and then suggests that Spiegel's move was a forgivable error in judgment. "Whenever I speak to entrepreneurs, they always ask me what mistakes [they] should try not to make. I actually think that the thing is, you're just going to mess up all this stuff, and we have [as well]."
Further down in the interview, which delves into Facebook's new one-app-at-a-time strategy, Zuck offers what sounds like the opening lines of a thank you letter to all of us:
Former Facebook employees say identity and anonymity have always been topics of heated debate in the company. Now Zuckerberg seems eager to relax his old orthodoxies. "I don't know if the balance has swung too far, but I definitely think we're at the point where we don't need to keep on only doing real identity things," he says. "If you're always under the pressure of real identity, I think that is somewhat of a burden." Paper will still require a Facebook login, but Zuckerberg says the new apps might be like Instagram, which doesn't require users to log in with Facebook credentials or share pictures with friends on the social network. "It's definitely, I think, a little bit more balanced now 10 years later," he says. "I think that's good."
Dear people of the Internet, thank you for letting me destroy anonymity and link everything you do online to your real name. I know that has not worked out for some of you. Have a nice summer!
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[Image via Getty]