Watch Live: The Washington Ideas Forum 2014

Brave Thinkers

Illustration by Quickhoney

Name: Mark Zuckerberg
Job: Founder and CEO of Facebook
Why he’s brave: He’s willing to make bold moves at the risk of offending his customers.
Quote: “We are publishing more in a day than most other publications have in the history of their whole existence.
"


Zuckerberg turned down $1 billion from Yahoo for the networking site he famously built in his dorm room—perhaps the most audacious in a series of decisions he’s made that narrowly split the difference between bravery and folly. History (and his creditors) will judge Zuckerberg’s business acumen, but he’s clearly a genius at shaping the online world. By encouraging users to divulge real information about themselves to their “friends”—as opposed to creating an idealized online persona—he overcame privacy fears and made Facebook into a legitimate community. And by opening up the site to outside software developers, he made it a successful platform for reaching customers with new applications. But Zuckerberg has repeatedly shown that he’s willing to offend his vast customer base in pursuit of a profit, introducing an invasive news-feed feature, allowing businesses to infiltrate the site and follow users’ habits, and applying a Twitter-like redesign. And he has rarely backed down in the face of popular protests. When you’re giving your product away for free, who’s to say the customers are always right?

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