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Facebook. Meta. Zuckerberg.

When Enron was spiraling in a sea of scandal, they brought in Blue Shoe to advise on whether or not to change their name. Basically, my take was, “A rose by any other name … No. Own it. Do not change your name. Apologize for your actions, and move on.” It was a short consulting job. Then there was the Catholic Church — the Diocese of Rockville Centre, to be specific — who wanted to speak about messaging around the scandal that their new bishop at the time was a team member of Boston’s Cardinal Law and the publicity on why he was allowed to transfer to Rockville Centre. I gave them the same reply: “Own it, move on, and take the hit.” Another short consulting job. American companies are often looking to change history to better suit their plans for the future. Is that what Facebook is doing? I think not. Mark Zuckerberg, in my opinion, has never run his company in the way other CEOs run theirs. Anyone who has watched the film “The Social Network” is likely to recall his typical behavior. He doesn’t care about proper protocol. Rather, he cares about being invited to the party. He cares about being cool. He cares about the perception that he’s not a playa. He was never in the in-crowd. And as a result, he is always reactionary. If you look at his past behavior, you’ll see that his reactions have never been to fix what is wrong, what brought him to the precipice of being an outsider, but rather to move forward, onto something new — someone new. In that context, this name change makes sense. I do not think he’s trying to reinvent Facebook; I think he’s leaving it behind to move on to something else, something that will place him securely within the coolest of the cool, the newest of the new. It is not a reaction to Facebook’s image problems, which I do not believe are making him lose any sleep, and it’s been in the works for years. The following is from a New York Times article by technology columnist Kevin Roose: "As with most of Facebook’s strategy announcements, Thursday’s rebranding formalized a shift that has been underway for years. The company already has more than 10,000 people working on augmented and virtual reality projects in its Reality Labs division — roughly twice as many people as are on Twitter’s entire staff — and has said it plans to hire 10,000 more in Europe soon. Earlier this week, the company announced that it would spend about $10 billion on metaverse-related investments this year, and it has been acquiring V.R. start-ups in what could amount to a metaverse land grab."

As for the Meta branding — its logo and message — I think it’s excellent. I think it’s a good thing that the color of the logo is Facebook blue and that the resemblance of the image to the infinity symbol suggests just that: infinite possibility. As for the new name, well, I think it’s amazing. A friend of mine asked me why, if the name change has been in the works for so long, the company didn’t secure the URL and trademark. Well, to be honest, they didn’t need to. They are not a brand that’s difficult to find online, and they could easily swallow any other companies of the same name. Let’s be real here: If someone offered you $10 million for your name, well, most likely, you would hand it over before lunch. Zuckerberg lives in his head. He is visionary. He is smart. He is ruthless. Facebook’s problems do not take up much of his day, and I wonder why the press wastes so much time writing about it. Just thinking about it is a waste of our time. What we should be focused on is what Meta is going to do to secure the space so they are the only player that can dictate where it goes. The press should be all over this — getting in front of what Zuckerberg’s doing before he has carte blanche to do it. The same was true for Bill Gates before he retired from Microsoft. Gates was an earlier version of Zuckerberg, but with some of the same traits, including a disregard for anyone or anything that got in his way, a lack of interest in doing anything other than crushing the competition, and a desire to destroy other companies and take what they did as his own rather than working with them. He was just more palatable and better able to hide it. Zuckerberg is light-years ahead of his competitors and our members of Congress. And the danger he poses to the future could be the stuff of the next James Bond film. And his sidekick, Sheryl Sandberg? She is a master of hiding her innate lack of moral fiber, but I will save that subject for another time. --Christine Merser, Managing Partner, Blue Shoe


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