For a man who built an online empire that is dedicated to make as much of our lives as public as possible, Facebook co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been able to keep his personal life in the dark and his media attention under control for the most part. We know very little about the man other than what he has been willing to share. Is he really that boring or is he simply a master of privacy in the public world he’s building?
It could be a mixture of the two. He knows about privacy. He may know more about online privacy than any CEO in the world. It’s his job to make people disregard their privacy, to encourage them to let the rest of the world know exactly what they’re doing at any moment. He’s just not a practitioner of his dream.
A Google image search of the man and his wife, Priscilla Chan, doesn’t reveal much. They may not be the A-list paparazzi targets like other celebrities simply because they don’t live in Los Angeles or New York, but there are people who want to see the youngest self-made billionaires in America out and about, yet the pictures simply aren’t flowing. Do they never go out?
Yes, they go out. They travel. They do things. They just know how to play the game and do it under the radar.
Shunning the spotlight
The less that is seen or heard from the CEO, the better it is for the company. Zuckerberg has demonstrated an inability to carry the right filters that tech CEOs need when out and about and the company gets plenty of press without his input. He wouldn’t have it any other way. He shuns the spotlight and his shareholders are thankful of that.
It goes deeper, though. Those close to him know have said that he wants control over the information that is available to the public about him, his employees, and his company. He doesn’t want to be broadsided by bad publicity. He wants to know when it’s on its way. The fact that this is the only “big” headline about the couple in the last year is a testament to their skill in privacy.
Actions over words
The couple is out there trying to do good things. They fell behind only Warren Buffet on the 2012 Top Philanthropists list with half a billion in donations.
What he does in his life isn’t important and he’s done a great job at making that happen over the last year. He wants his company to always be in the news while its employees should never be in the news. That’s the philosophy and it seems to be working so far. The IPO last year was the last time many of the company’s players were out and about. Now that they’re back into building mode, they people are not supposed to be the story. The company is where the spotlight should shine and they’ve managed to keep that philosophy going so far.
In the coming years we may get more of a glimpse of the private man, but for now we can only sit back and watch what his company does. Thankfully, they’re always a goldmine of potential news.