Friday, December 24, 2010


It’s that time of the year. December 21st, the shortest day of the year has come and gone. The New Year is approaching, and the season of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas is upon us. Firstly, I want to say thanks to everyone and everything for help and support, for gifts seen and unseen.
There are a bunch of people out there I need to thank, because, garbage doesn’t pile up in front of my house but gets carted away and somehow dealt with intelligently. I want to thank the men and women who make that miracle happen.
Last I checked, my house has clean running water. I want to thank whoever is responsible for that. My family and I greatly appreciate it.
Oh yeah, and the people at Trader Joe’s and Ralph’s, I’d like to thank them for having all this amazing stuff on hand, fresh, clean, friendly, so that my family, friends, and I could have wonderful things to eat during the holidays.
It was a pain at times to do all that Christmas shopping, and there wasn’t as much money as years passed, but, my gosh, what a complaint to be blessed with! I get to complain about having too much shopping to do for my family, friends, and loved ones. Please forgive me for complaining. I want to thank all those responsible for me having such a thing to complain about.
For a few days it rained like a son-of-a-gun, but someone—obviously a whole group of someones—had planned for this and so the torrents of water were not much problem. And with all the wind and rain and fallen tree branches, I barely noticed a flicker from the lights in my house. I want to thank the men and women who make that kind of thing happen so seamlessly.
And the gas, thanks for the gas that magically gets piped into my house so my vintage 1940’s stove can be fired up and we can cook all that great food I mentioned earlier.
Heat, can’t forget heat, the gas that flows to my house kept my house toasty warm during those wet, windy days. Thanks for the heat.
And in the midst of it I caught a cold. Poor me. But I had herbal tea, vitamin C, aspirin, soup, and a comfortable bed. I want to say thank you to all the people I will never meet who made it possible for me to have a pretty bad cold with such ease and comfort and without serious risk of getting pneumonia or dying. I always knew if things got really out of hand I could run down to the med center and get antibiotics if I needed them. I want to thank the local docs and nurses who I knew were out there if I needed them.
I want to thank all those people at all those disease control centers around the world who track outbreaks wherever they are and try to deal with them rapidly and intelligently so that we don’t once again have tens of millions of people dying from the flu like we did early last century in this country and around the world.
I want to thank the wine makers out in the valley, the farmers who grow and sell such wonderful food in the local farmers market, the masters of the baked good, the people who design all the window displays and put up the lights and decorate the shops and public places in my town and all the towns and cities around the world.
I want to thank those make things beautiful. I want to thank those who teach, those who raise children well, those who inform, those who care, those who work for justice, those who protect, those who study, those who learn new things, those who preserve old things worth preserving, those who amuse us, those who surprise us, those who transform us, those who remind us of the sacred, those who inspire us.
I want to thank the plumbers and the electricians and the handymen and handywomen, the makers and the builders, the maintainers, the cleaners, the sweepers, the sanitation guys and women. I want to thank the doctors and the lawyers, yes, the lawyers, the ones who keep the system straight even with all its kinks.
I want to thank those who pray. I want to thank those who sing. I want to thank those who dance, those who write, those who paint, those who film, those who photograph.
I want to thank them all.
I want to thank you, for everything, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing, for caring, for teaching, for appreciating, for being there, for the laughs, for the insights, for the friendship, for the help, for the mutual life we co-create here on this wonderful crazy planet.
May you find many things and many people to be thankful for. May you be thankful for yourself, for who you are, and for what you’ve been able to give. May you be your own greatest fan, appreciative of your gifts and your insights and your contributions, grateful for the love, kindness and service you have been able to show others.
            So, go out there, do your best. I know the Holiday Season can be hard in ways, but shine your light. Give as much thanks as you can and make it as wonderful and joyous a holiday as you can. Give us the gift of you. And again, thanks for everything.
            All the best, John 
            I can be reached at and 805/680-5572.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


             It didn’t come out so clearly in the movie, The Social Network, but it does come through strong and clear in the book, The Facebook Effect: Mark Zuckerberg is a man on a mission. His mission is not to make a zillion dollars. He’s already done that and has repeatedly refused to cash in his chips and walk away with enough money to make him the richest kid on the block.
             In 2004, Zuckerberg was twenty, Facebook was 4 months old, and a financier offered to buy the company for $10 million. 
            In 2006, Zuckerberg pretty much walked away from a deal for Facebook worth close to $800 million. His sister remembers Mark Zuckerberg saying at that time, “This is a lot of money. This could be really life-changing for a lot of people who work for me. But we have so much more opportunity to change the world than this. I don’t think I’d be doing right by anyone to take this money.”
Facebook is long passed being valued in the millions. Based on prices for privately traded shares of its stock, Facebook could presently be worth more than $50 billion dollars. Zuckerberg, who is now twenty-six, owns about 24% of the company. His share could be worth more than $10 billion, but, to some degree, it seems Mark Zuckerberg could care less about the value of the company, though controlling the company is non-negotiable for him.
One of Facebook’s longest serving executives, Kevin Colleran, stated that the reason for Facebook’s success was, “Mark is not motivated by money.”
A vice president, Chris Cox said, “Mark would rather see our business fail in an attempt to do what is right and to do something great and meaningful, than be a big, lame company.”
Zuckerberg has stated repeatedly over the years, “It’s not about the money.”
And his actions support his claim. In 2006, when Viacom, parent of MTV, wanted to buy Facebook, the highest number bandied about was $2 billion.
“Why don’t you just sell to us?” a Viacom executive asked him. “You’d be very wealthy.”
“You just saw my apartment,” Zuckerberg replied. “I don’t really need any money.”
Zuckerberg’s apartment was a modest one-bedroom with a mattress on the floor and books scattered in piles throughout his room.
It really wasn’t about the money. It was about the vision. 
Though the movie, The Social Network, and the book it was based on, cast a shadow on Mark Zuckerberg, it is absolutely clear that nobody but Zuckerberg made Facebook what it is today.
Like Apple has been inseparable from Steve Jobs, Facebook is inseparable from Mark Zuckerberg.    
Of course he’s made mistakes along the way, but to think of Zuckerberg as anything less than one of the most driven, focused, forward-thinking visionaries of his generation is to underestimate one of the brightest young men alive. At twenty-six, he is at the helm of a company, a utility, as he likes to call it, that serves 500,000,000 people around the globe, and counting.
Zuckerberg is a man on a mission called Facebook.  All along the way, when others wanted to sell out or make more money with Facebook advertising, author David Kirkpatrick notes, Zuckerberg, “steadfastly refused to compromise his vision.” 
For Zuckerberg, it was always about building the service Facebook could provide. His vision is that Facebook will help people to communicate and will empower the individual. His vision is about connecting the entire world. Zuckerberg understood that the value of a network grows as more people are served by that network. The logical conclusion is that the most valuable network is one that can serve all the world’s people. That’s where Zuckerberg is going. His vision is the whole world. And before you laugh, remember, that in six years, at the ripe old age of 26, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have close to 10% of the world’s people using their service.
Zuckerberg has stated repeatedly, “We’re going to change the world.”
And, he says, “I think we can make the world a more open place.”
His goal is to make people comfortable with ‘radical transparency’, a dramatic shift away from what we were formerly comfortable with concerning issues of personal privacy. The idea is that technology is so ubiquitous and personal information so readily available that there is in effect no place to hide. The absence of hiding places is a good thing to Zuckerberg. He feels it leads to an increase in integrity. He may still be young and idealistic, but his vision is that people will become more honest and more transparent as they realize that they are no longer able to lead double or triple lives with secrets in unopened closets.
Again, he may be young and idealistic, but Zuckerberg and his gang are changing the world.
“The question I ask myself like almost every day is “Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing? …Unless I feel like I’m working on the most important problem that I can help with, then I’m not going to feel good about how I’m spending my time. And that’s what this company is.”
            That's the question Zuckerberg asks himself, "Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?"
           Not a bad question to ask yourself now and again. Namaste.
             I can be reached at or 805/680-5572.