March 1, 2014

Who Can Know How Much Randi Zuckerberg Is Worth?

randi zuckerberg fashion.jpgcue hatred

Part 1 here


Off topic: Randi strongly believes Facebook has a legitimate place in the business world, and this makes me think Facebook is finished.  I realize this is a speculative trade to make.  The usual anxiety about Facebook's future is that teenagers aren't interested in it, but the more relevant demo here is adult men, especially the ones in suits.  Facebook runs 60/40 women to men.  In the language of self-aggrandizing social media, that's a tipping point.  5% more estrogen and Facebook will be perceived as a women's site and no guy will want any part of it except for guys you will want no part of.  Hush yourself, you have your sexism backwards:  The instant a woman notices a man flipping through Facebook and one eyebrow goes up, you can head to your car and beat the stadium traffic, the game is as good as over.  That's what happened to Myspace.  It tipping pointed into "unemployed/some high school" and The Ruling Class had to sell it to Ima Holla Achoo for 20x less than they bought it.  Now it looks like Windows Mobile, which is demographically appropriate.

Lose the men and you've lost Big Business, and at some size point a technology needs Big Business to want it, which makes Pinterest more valuable than Instagram and WhatsApp completely worthless.  This is the story of Blackberry.  The conventional wisdom is that people didn't like their emails in monochrome and preferred the sleek and sexy iphones, but you probably remember all the business casual salarymen proudly carrying around two phones like some bourgeois Frenchman with a dignified wife and a touch sensitive mistress, a couple years in a guy's going to get to thinking, "what am I, a Mormon, how did I end up with two wives?"   When Business was henpecked into supporting the iphone, Blackberry went sadly into menopause and defiantly into Africa.  Plausible deniability requires that I do not explain how layered a joke that is. 


I want to believe that Randi Zuckerberg is delusional, that because she is so wealthy and famous she sincerely believes if you take a MacBook Pro to a Panera and start a mommy blog or a particle accelerator, follow your passion, you should be a TEDx speaker in no time, but don't forget it's hard work, money isn't everything, and take time out to unplug!

But this person was at Davos.  Now I'm confused, was the invite Mark + 1?  That's the easy criticism to make, that she's famous only because of her brother, but nepotism only gets you so  far, Mark has a much more intelligent wife who just graduated medical school and no one is interested in her, and when the media has no other choice but to acknowledge her they do this:

priscilla chan.JPG

I know, I know, it's probably photoshopped.  Still.

So on the one hand the media has no idea what to do with an Asian physician except depict her as a borderline psychopath on Grey's Anatomy, on the other hand they are excited to interview a lunatic  who broadcasts the appearance of excessive action-- frantic activity as a defense against impotence-- that's what the demo wants, and if you've been paying attention you will understand the translation: since the target demo has no idea what to learn from the experience of an Asian woman who despite marrying the Powerball became a physician anyway, you get Davos updates from a woman who plurals adjectives.  This isn't a criticism of her, it's a criticism of you: what do you expect to gain from all the haste, the energy, the "finding ways to be creative?"  Unlocking creativity is the third biggest swindle perpetrated by managment consultants, after open floor plans and managment consulting.  Creativity was never the problem, the problem was always the math. 

Randi probably read her book herself and I don't doubt that it took months to come up with the phrase "dot complicated", after which she needed a vacation, but she doesn't understand why she wrote the words she did, what forces were acting on her, and what these forces wanted from her that she was elevated to celebrity status.  Consequently, her demo doesn't understand either: they think she's an idiot.  This woman went to the World Economic Forum, which you probably think is irrelevant and you'd be right, but grant that they are at least pretending they are relevant; yet they still allowed her in, knowing full well if anyone found out it could completely obliterate their legitimacy.  Why take such a gamble, to what possible benefit?  Look, if Scarlett Johansson is going then at least you can say Scarlett Johansson is coming, I totally get it, but putting Randi Zuckerberg on the brochure should be brand annihilation.  


for the sake of this premise, pretend she came to the 2014 Davos

"I'm pretty sure that's Charlize Theron, not Scarlett Johansson."  And I'm pretty sure they're the same person, and just because now she's Rachel Maddow doesn't mean she's serious.  "But she did actually do serious humanitarian work."  Yes, great, how about that.  Is there a blonder picture we can use for the flier?

It's probably very frustrating for whoever that woman is to try being anything other than whatever she is because no one will see her as anything but that, but this is the nature of the trade off: you spend your life trying to be seen as something, then if you happen to succeed then you will not want to be only that anymore, you are really something else.  But the world and/or your girlfriend won't listen.  This is especially hard if you simply age out of it, you want to move on with new ideas but the jerk in the supermarket wants you to be the person from '99, which means that the jerk in the supermarket still is the person from '99 and can't understand how calendars work.  "You changed!" he hisses with disgust because you fail to normalize his cortical sclerosis.  Sigh.  You can't punch him, there are witnesses.  There are always witnesses, and they will all be from '99.


You would be forgiven for thinking Randi was at Davos merely because she's rich, but consider that Warren Buffett was not there.  He's a capitalist, not a globalizer, so his brand doesn't synergize, in fact, he is the competition.   "No, he knows Davos is irrelevant!"  So why does he go on CNBC?  Buffett is a CNBC favorite, but what's so remarkable about his appearances is that while he is branded as a sober "buy and hold" investor, he is only ever asked about short term trends: are we at a bottom, what will the Fed do tomorrow, etc.  Why?  You know what he's going to say: "You want to buy good companies when they're undervalued," he'll intone over a cheeseburger, callously unaware that there are only 7 minutes until the close.  --What about Facebook?! Buy at 57?!   "Oh, I don't know anything about those new fangled tech stocks, I liked Wrigley's as a child, I understand the company, it offers durable competitive advantage."  --Oh, Uncle Warren, you're so out of touch!  (But the rest of you understand Facebook, you liked it as a child, doesn't it offer competitive advantage...?)

What does Watch Us With The Sound Down And Feel Like You're Active need him for?  It's not his words, it's him, he's the draw, he is the aspirational image of the demo of 35-54yo hopefuls: "Someday I'll be old, but when I am, I'll have become rich through the market."  So keep trading. 

And here I have to go back over something.  The harder part of the psychology is that the demo doesn't want to become full time traders, either at home all day or on Wall Street-- that part must remain a fantasy--  because then it would be a job and it wouldn't count; it has to be a side gig, then their success wasn't their "work self" but their "real" self;  no one else can claim a sliver of that success-- not the liberals with their "'entrepreneurs' just pretend they don't benefit from public services!" or the wives with their "behind every good man...!" or the echoes of their father yelling,  "you need to apply to Sperry Rand, now there's a company you can put in forty years with!"  It all happened in their head, no one else can share the credit, it is 100% a consequence of their personal value.    Bonus: if they fail, it can be quickly discounted as merely a hobby-- that wasn't, after all, their real self.

The mistake is in thinking this has anything to do with the money.  It's said that most at home traders fail, but this is incorrect: they fail at making money, but they are successful at feeling like a traderThat is the goal; the money is secondary, which is why they fail at making it.  The buy/hold/reinvest the dividends strategy of Buffet is totally opposite to what's desired, because the strategy does not involve market timing or status updates, it is on autopilot, and there's no "i" in autopilot.  Well, there's one, but it doesn't stand out. 

The trading activity itself-- the frantic activity--  keeps the rest of reality away.  You're not your job-- you're something else.  You're not your family, you're more than that.  Things have the potential of possibly happening someday, and no work will have been necessary to accomplish it.  Just you wait.

But even that's not true.   The hardest part of the psychology is that feeling like a trader isn't the final goal.  Turn CNBC back on, there's Buffett, and oh, look, there's Peter Schiff.  Peter Schiff is another CNBC favorite, and his presence is even more incongruous until you understand it isn't.   Whatever your opinion of his opinions-- debt/inflation/government/armageddon-- his are more political than financial or macroeconomic rather than technical and anyway they are 100% long term opinions.  He may tell you to buy gold for the coming collapse, but you have a few years to open a position.  So why is he there?  "Because he's right!"  No-- why is he on Fast Money

Here is the unspoken fantasy that explains the presence of Warren Buffett and Peter Schiff on CNBC:  "Someday I'll be old, but when I am, I'll have become rich through the market.  And then people will want to interview me."


Swap out the demo, and this is Randi Zuckerberg.  She believes she is worth all her money, she believes she is more than Mark's sister, she believes she has valuable opinions.  Anyone who disagrees is a hater.  You're just jealous.  "No, she's a fool!"  Then how come she's so rich?

Those who are enraged by her are actually suffering from the same delusion she is, which is why her target demo as seen by Davos includes her haters.  The standard criticism of her is that she didn't really do anything to deserve her money-- "she got rich because of her brother"--  but this is a profound disavowal of the reality: she got rich because of timing-- even though her job at Facebook was trivial, she was there from the beginning and got paid in stock options.  What's interesting is that no one makes this criticism of her, because that's what her haters believe is supposed to happen to them.   She timed the market the way you're supposed to; what she did that makes her hatable, therefore, is that she had inside information.

I don't begrudge anyone the good fortune of right place/right time, take your money and run, but first drop a knee and be humbled before God reflecting soberly on the knowledge that you didn't deserve it.   I love getting paid, do whatever you can do to get paid, but do not let the money whisper to you that you are worth it, it will be lying and you will believe it.  You hold a fetish of value and not actual value.   But even her haters want the money to mean retroactively they were already deserving of it, this kind of fortune has bypassed reality testing and instead creates a new reality,  it uses the truth in order to lie: of course I'm not rich because of my work product, duh, you can't measure a human being's value based on his labor.  I'm rich because that's what I'm worth.  "Isn't that specious reasoning?"  Oh, dear, sweet, earnest, Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

And so the hatred of her, like all hate, is revealed to be a defense.  To her haters Randi is a buffoon, a step above relationship expert, she is too glaringly undeserving of that money; Randi is an obscene counterexample to the logic that the payout mirrors value and self worth.  She is a narcissistic injury for everyone else.  So she's disparaged in a specific way: she doesn't deserve all that money because she got it from her brother.


Not coincidentally, this is the narrative of Davos to the demo that, unlike Randi, will never, ever, ever be rich; but to whom Randi represents a possibility of it:  with globalism comes the possibility of a lifestyle independent of your work product, and, more deeply, that your self-worth will finally be recognized by the world that is happy to pay you just for your individuality.  Why wouldn't it?  Your baby pictures are adorable.

To be clear, it's not a lifestyle that could be independent of your work product-- it has to specifically be independent of your work product, otherwise its based on something other than you and thus wouldn't count.  This is why one cannot profit from "nepotism" and "inside information".  Those are bad.  That they are, in fact, actually bad is besides the point: they are the exemptions which prove you are worth your money.

It's probably unnecessary to point out that this increase in lifestyle is built on the increased work product of whoever will do it for 30 cents an hour, and anyway it is a red herring.  The real attraction for us isn't just the lifestyle, but that it systematizes-- it makes normal-- not ever wondering: how come we have more lifestyle when we didn't do more work?  How did that happen?  In 2008 it was 1933 and six years later it's 1999, what kind of bananastown calendar is this? 

sp500 2-28-14.jpg

no caption is possible

Confused, I run through my checklist: was there a war?  No.  Did they invent a new technology?  No.  Was cold fusion discovered?  No.  Did the aliens come?  Don't look at me like that, did they come?  Then nothing could possibly explain how we are all worth twice what we were worth in 2009, or even 30% more than we were worth in 2007.  "But stock prices aren't based on our worth."  Then what do they reflect?  Our productivity?  Our innovation?  A bet on our future prospects?  I ask you again: Did the aliens come? 

And hence Globalism-- the brand, not the particulars-- is attractive because it is the physical manifestation of the logic of disavowal we already use for everything else.    "I don't know how it happened, but it makes sense.  After all, I am worth it."  Economics mirrors psychology, as it always must.

So Randi goes to Davos, never once asking why they would want her there?  Convincing her demo of underproducing hyperconsumers that capitalism-- controlling capital-- is pointless and mean, but globalism-- doublespoken as "progress", "human rights", "everything is connected"-- that is a noble cause.  Remember that the "culture" she thinks she speaks for, including those that hate her-- "the startup culture"-- is premised on starting a business in order to sell the business to someone else.   Of course the idea is to get rich-- which sounds like capitalism, if you're retarded, but observe the message that is being taught: that the necessary correlate to getting rich is to give all the capital to someone else.   The power is traded for the fetish of power.  That's not capitalism, it is madness, and apparently Davos and Randi think women especially will heart it.   It'll work for a handful of well publicized people pictured above the caption, "$100 billion!  You could be next!"-- followed immediately by a story about how worthless the business turned out to be, so of course the goal for you is to sell out ASAP;  but the vast majority who have aligned their psychology with this vector will pursue an impossible fantasy at the expense of their labor and their lives.  If you don't believe me, believe Lori Gottlieb.  This logic recommended to her to drop out of Stanford medical school to join, and now she's a relationship expert.  

"But capitalism exploits the worker."  I'll take my chances, because when you get a taste of the money but no access to the capital, you are easily seduced by Globalism-- the brand, not the particulars.  Hence the Hollywood stars, hence Buffett's grandson, hence Randi Zuckerberg, all who act like they belong there.  They do.

Every time you hear the word globalism, you should hear three things: 1. wealth uncoupled from work product.  2. Lifestyle as a reflection of your personal self-worth.  3. You give up control of the capital, and by capital I mean you.    "Do I still get paid?"  Sure, but you have to promise to spend more than what we pay.  "How will that work?"  Don't worry, Visa will explain it all to you.


It is no coincidence that social media, "everything is connected" (the default is plugged), is a vivid metaphor for globalism, even as so many social media vaginalists think they are against globalism if it is defined as Wall Street.   Propaganda doesn't care about your motivations, so long as you act in the required direction.

When social media is branded to men as a positive, the gimmick is that it magnifies their power,  e.g. "the hive mind."  This brand is reinforced even when it is depicted as bad, e.g. men's increased power to stalk, harass, or bully people.  On the other hand, when social media is branded to women with interests and passions but no math skills it's for "finding support" or "community"; nothing powerful is expected to occur there, it's a place to feel safe, "connect" and "have a conversation."  Those are not accidents, and they have nothing to do with biology, they are the result of market research and 50 years of very, very bad parenting.

But my generation came of age in a world with social networks... we understand that the business leaders of the future will be three-dimensional­ personalities whose lives, interests, hobbies and passions outside of work are documented and on display.
We should embrace this new world. The answer isn't fewer baby pictures; it's more baby pictures. It's not that I should post less; it's that everyone else should post more.
Let's change what it means to be professional in the Internet age. The time when your personal identity was a secret to your colleagues is over and done.  And that is a good thing.

This is a woman who hates everything.  I know that seems unbelievable given that she adorbs baby pics and is always shown smiling in lipstick three shades too bright for her hematocrit, but don't be fooled, her hate is transmogrified by money and fame and class buffers so it doesn't action the same way it does for Al Qaeda, but if she had a commercial pilot's license she would hit you with it.

Think seriously about what she (thinks she) wants:  acceptance of her individuality-- by work.  Not for her work product-- there is none; but for her individuality, by work. 
First question: which work?  Not the job you have, it's real, and it's boring.  It is a future "career", the fantasy environment seen on TV dramas where all of life takes place.
Second question: why work?  Men are not being taught to want their job to value them, in fact, men want as little to do with their jobs as possible.  Randi and the globalism party bus are teaching women to want "careers"-- more precisely, to want to draw more of their identity from their careers.  The perk of taking your work home with you isn't more money, it's acceptance of your individuality.  Also you get to have to shop at Ann Taylor.  Before you seize on this as a biological flaw in women's character, let me remind you that they want work to accept their individuality because their family and relationships have failed them in this regard.  The only place they feel... happy?-- is when they are at work or plugged in.  "I know The Bachelor is mindless TV, but I just like it."  Keeps your husband out of the room, anyway.  How great is it to be alone?
Third question: what are the consequences of Randi's utopian fantasy of your job valuing you as an individual for everyone else at work?
She believes her authentic self, via Facebook, should be accepted everywhere, home and work, so the suits should just shut their greed vacuums and embrace her baby pictures, her individuality-- after all, that's why they hired her, right? 
That sounds laudable-- except that she's lying.  Ok, I have to pretend not to be sickened by her baby pictures, will she Like me live-posting My Summertime Threesomes?  Huh.  So now individuality has an asterisk: since Facebook should be on at work, everyone's Facebook should be nonthreatening, not mean, safe-- work appropriate
"Well, stupid, just don't put naked pics on Facebook."  Fair enough, but whereas before it was my poorly thought out choice, now it is not allowed by work.
"Well, Facebook shouldn't be on at work."  Duh, of course it won't be on at work, no company would allow Facebook to be on at work, there's work to be done.   So "ok at work" really means "if work saw it" and "Facebook" really means "the internet."
"Well don't put naked pics--" You're focused on the wrong side of the equation.  Why should I be careful of my internet behavior?  It's not because it can hurt me, it's because it can hurt the company.  What Randi doesn't realize she was used to say is that your internet life better be work acceptable since there's much more at stake there than at home. 
If threesomes are't your thing, try a 2nd Amendment Fan Page or 10 Things I Hate About Senators and see if your job supports your individuality.  See how close to the edge you can get before Facebook itself censors you.  It is tempting to see this as a "war on men" because Randi tests as a genetic female, or a war on conservatives because Randi sounds like a "capitalism with a human face"-progressive who ran pass interference for the DNC in 2008, but I hope you can see that the force would equally oppose anything that was slightly outside of the mainstream.  Randi needs the job to tell her she is valuable, and the job wants frictionless employees.  The war isn't on men or women, it is on individual freedom, it is regression to the mean by suppressing the mean, where mean is defined by its deviation from SFW, according to W. 
Since work has encroached on your home life at your request, since you've conflated plugged/unplugged with work/home, then
"The time when your personal identity is a secret to your colleagues is over and done.  And that's a good thing."  
It's good for the company, anyway.  You may be surprised to discover that the more replaceable you are to the company, the higher standards you are held to, that's what happens when you don't control the capital.  Rather than fostering individuality and creativity, Randi is telling the organ donors to sanitize their internet presence so that it doesn't affect the people who are profiting from your work.  Consolation is you get to post your baby pics and work has to accept it.
In the absence of a big payday, the only things left that can value us are the job, and the media.   Regularly someone says something "offensive" in the media and the media punishes or fires him, and we debate whether that was justified or not.  The debate entirely avoids the most important point: the media company punished the guy in media.  They could have fired him privately, the way you would have gotten fired from your job if you started YZing all your coworkers.  Not only do they publicly fire him, they force the guy to make a public apology first-- and then fire him anyway.   Who benefits?   The offended victim?

But as much as we say we hate their power to judge us, we want them to have this power-- who else is going to have it?  If they have this much power to destroy a person, then how much more significant is a RT?  How great would it be if they acknowledged my worth?  With no power, what other chance do I have?  In the fantastical words of Marshall McLuhan, "there is no sweeter praise than the gaze of a tyrant, especially if it's in HD."  
This is what we want judging us, this is the calendar we're using.  Something external that can value us at 1999 levels while the real world is pricing us at 2008 levels.  My face is in my hands and I wonder how anyone could be asked to raise a girl in such a world?  Recently a female cardiologist with a "difficult" 10 year old daughter who had been well trained to want things but not control things asked me if I had read "the study in the New York Times"-- !?!?!?!?!?-- that said that people with the same surname, over generations, continued to achieve the same level of wealth, showing "therefore" that genetic factors were more important than the home environment in determining social mobility, isn't that probably true?  Having to do this sober I asked her, "But didn't you change your surname 11 years ago?  Or are you betting she can just upgrade hers?"  What else could I say?  If you read it, it's for you?