I’ll venture a guess and say that most of you have heard of Mark Zuckerberg. I’ll venture another guess and say that most of you have not heard of Reid Hoffman or Jack Dorsey. Hoffman and Dorsey are at a decided disadvantage here as Zuckerberg is the centerpiece character in the Oscar nominated movie The Social Network. No big screen for Hoffman or Dorsey. But I’m thinking that’s just fine with Hoffman as his company will soon go public. That said, Hoffman is the founder of LinkedIn, and Dorsey is the founder of Twitter.
Left to right: Zuckerberg, Hoffman, Dorsey
In full disclosure, I really never understood the fascination with Twitter – or, at times, with Facebook. Pardon my learning curve but status updates like getting ready to vacuum just do not strike me as the depth of information that needs to be posted for public consumption. But far be it from I to make the perfect the enemy of the good. As social network platforms, there is no denying their power and significance in today’s interconnected world. Connections matter. Get on board or get left behind.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell discusses that John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and Andrew Carnegie, along with a number of other capitalists of that era, were all born between 1830 in 1837. It was the dawn of a new era saliently marked by extraordinarily robust growth in the oil and railroad industries. These men prominently stood at the epicenter of such industries, in the right place, at the right time. We saw a similar occurrence during the computer revolution. Had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs been born in an earlier time, Microsoft and Apple might not exist today. To their credit, all of these men comprehensively harnessed the technologies and infrastructure advancements that were available to them at the time, and ran with it, while the rest of the world remained pedestrian. They were risk takers and unyielding in there myopic focus in seeing what others could not, or would not, envision. But it was the combination of internal forces and external facilitators (most of all, timing) that ultimately brought their embryonic visions to fully matured fruition.
In a sense, Zuckerberg, Hoffman, and Dorsey are today’s Rockefeller, Morgan, and Carnegie. They are visionaries, entrepreneurs, business luminaries, and billionaires. Like their predecessors in their respective sectors, these contemporaries figure prominently at the forefront of the newly created social networking space. J.P. Morgan dressed in a three-piece suit and top hat as he walked through Central Park while Mark Zuckerberg goes to work in a Gap sweatshirt and flip-flops. Yet, both have had an astounding impact on the world. They all deserve celebration and should be lauded (unlike many “celebrities” who have accomplished remarkably little and often contribute nothing of value to our society – read: Kardashians) for their respective, significant creations that we all may opt-into as participants. They are corporate titans of the highest magnitude, even in flip-flops.
John Brigantino is a graduate student in the Master of Science in Business Management & Leadership Program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. He enjoys writing, non-fiction books, traveling and the many cultural and leisure experiences Manhattan has to offer.