Monday, February 06, 2012

Boris and Facebook

Boris Johnson asked today why we can't manage to create an internet business like Facebook?

He suggested that young people lacked the necessary single-minded ambition and also blamed our society's reluctance to praise success.

Now unfortunately you are going to have to read my tuppence worth before deciding on your own reasons.

1) He is correct in blaming lack of ambition in many young people. State education does not allow failure and teachers are actively discouraged from criticising pupils. Being repeatedly told how good your work is from the age of 5 is not likely to stoke the fires of great ambition. 

2) I'm not sure about us disliking material success in this country. There isn't much criticism of billionaires such as Richard Branson, Alan Sugar or Ken Morrison. It is however considered fine to say the most appalling things about the rich in general, without offering any justification or considering for a moment what would happen if they were not around to employ millions of people and pay a large proportion of the taxes that fund the NHS, State Education and the Benefits System.

3) Our ever increasing anti-risk, health and safety culture, along with the growing tax burden, endless new workplace regulations and our Government's willingness to go along with whatever crazy human right is dreamt up by some Brussels bureaucrat, does not exactly encourage the entrepreneur. Just try employing somebody or borrowing money in Britain.

4) Shouldn't Boris be doing something to help matters?

Right, now it's your turn. Where is our Mark Zuckerberg?


Kimpatsu said...

Billionaires in Britain don't pay tax, Frank. They are the worst tax dodgers in the world. Don't you read Private Eye? The NHS is funded by you and me, not the mega-rich.
BTW, do you really want an egomaniac like Zuckerberg anywhere in the world, let alone on the shores of the sceptred isle?

Paul said...

What Frank said.

Plus Labour's move to grant rights without responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

Facebook's perceived value is based on all the personal data they have collected. Their supposed huge IPO value is based on the notion that this personal data can be exploited more effectively than it is being exploited at present.

I believe that whilst a higher level of personal data exploitation can be achieved in the short term, in the long term this will lead to people demanding better legal protection for personal data, including the right to force a corporation to dispose of data help upon a person. To spell it out, using the current treasure trove of Facebook data will lead directly to its downfall.

Anonymous said...

Facebook is just a horrible example of entrepreneurship - it wasn't designed to be a business at all, wasn't profitable for years, and eventually weaseled its way into profitability because other companies basically worked out a business model on its behalf. Most of the unpopular changes now are focussed on making it profitable and are driving people away from it.

But even then, the real problem is that entrepreneurship is so risky and so random. It's like a million people throw jelly at a tree, one person becomes Zuck and the others all walk away with losses ranging between "a good amount of money" and "a totally ruined life". It doesn't seem morally justifiable to encourage people into doing that, given that they will most likely be one of the 999,999 who don't succeed.

Anonymous said...

How does FB make money out of data? I use a hotmail address in a fake name and pretend to be someone much younger. The (few) people I choose to interact with on there all do the same.
I'm 57 and female but my profile states otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Boris Johnson is an idiot rather than looking to create mass jobs, he is looking for a single person dishonest enough to steal other peoples privacy.
If he really wants that sort of role model for British youth, then he needs to move to Liverpool and start looking there.