While it’s still good to be Mark Zuckerberg, 2018 has been a decidedly less good year to be the Facebook CEO. Zuck has (despite a televised apology tour) personally lost billions of dollars amid stock crashes after his social media platform suffered an enormous data breach that resulted in over 50 million user accounts being compromised. So as one could imagine, Zuck’s probably not thrilled to continue the public making of amends, but that’s what his agreement to participate in an extensive New Yorker profile must have been designed to do. The results, however, aren’t exactly flattering.
Author Evan Osnos notes that Zuckerberg greeted him while “wearing the tight smile of obligation.” The piece reminds us that he previously formed a habit of shouting “Domination!” at the end of Facebook meetings, and he still can’t standing losing at anything, including Scrabble. That happened once (to a teenage girl), and Zuck wrote a program to make sure it never happened again:
A few years ago, he played Scrabble on a corporate jet with a friend’s daughter, who was in high school at the time. She won. Before they played a second game, he wrote a simple computer program that would look up his letters in the dictionary so that he could choose from all possible words. Zuckerberg’s program had a narrow lead when the flight landed. The girl told me, “During the game in which I was playing the program, everyone around us was taking sides: Team Human and Team Machine.”
Yes, it sure sounds like the Facebook CEO cheats at Scrabble with an app, and that anecdote arrives alongside a discussion of how Zuckerberg is obsessed with ancient Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar, who may have pulled strings to execute his own grandson as part of his quest to vanquish political opponents. Here’s how Zuckerberg interprets Augustus’ legacy:
Ancient Rome became a lifelong fascination, first because of the language (“It’s very much like coding or math, and so I appreciated that”) and then because of the history. Zuckerberg told me, “You have all these good and bad and complex figures. I think Augustus is one of the most fascinating. Basically, through a really harsh approach, he established two hundred years of world peace.”
To his credit, Zuckerberg admits that Augustus “had to do certain things” to maintain power and keep that world peace alive. He adds that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, honeymooned in Rome, and Chan “was making fun of me” because she felt like a third wheel (to Zuck and Augustus) on their romantic vacation. Fittingly, the couple’s second daughter is named August … after Augustus, of course. Read the rest of the New Yorker profile here.
(Via New Yorker)