They are going to do WHAT? Facebook looks to cure all diseases.
Wow. Some people say you lose you way when you lose your WHY.
It’s a great point. And one I thought about today as I was asked to comment on the radio — on the amazing news about the founder of Facebook.
You see Mark Zuckerberg’s WHY is a bit bigger than most.
He wants to end all world diseases.
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chanhave pledged more than $3bn (£2.3bn) toward a plan to “cure, prevent or manage all disease”.
The first wave of cash will be a $600m investment in a new research centre called Biohub. This is to be a partnership with Stanford, Berkeley, and the University of California and is tasked with finding new ways to fight disease.
This comes hot on the heels of the wonderful work already done by Bill Gates and his wife and his company Microsoft. Who this week pledged to “solve” cancer in the next 10 years.
At the tender age of 32, Mark Z is worth around $55.9 billion dollars. So the $4billion pledged is less than 10% of his worth but it is still a big chunk of change.
But WHY might he do this?
I was asked for a few sides to the story for Radio Ulster. Thanks to Tom Cheesewright for recommending me to them.
You could argue it’s purely a PR move.
With Facebook again and again being linked to harvesting data and perhaps doing naughty things with users, perhaps this is Mark’s way of mitigating the negative PR from this.
It’s not the first PR worthy he has done. As in December 2015, he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged to give 99% of their Facebook stock to causes during their lifetimes.
This latest move will get them a LOT of positive coverage from the news. Especially in new territories that need to be conquered. So…
You could see it as a power play for the hearts and minds of Africa.
With Facebook, as a platform with over 1 billion active people on there , and Google as it’s only real competition, where else will they go? Their growth in the US is stalling. And China has it’s own social networks. So next must be Africa or India. But how do you crack such a large place? You give away stuff for FREE.
However, it doesn’t always work, as Facebook found in India. As, in India, Free Basics was effectively banned after a groundswell of support for net neutrality. A principle affirming that what you look at, who you talk to and what you read is ultimately determined by you, not by a business. A fair point. Underneath it all the simple fact.
People didn’t TRUST Facebook.
What about in Africa? The FREE internet plan has more than 635 million Africans already signed up. But there is going to be some HUGE growth in mobile connections in the region. With 700 million mobile phones being mooted by 2020 in sub-Saharan Africa alone.) So perhaps the dangers of China and messaging apps being the main social power house are too much?
But is this just me being old and cynical?
You could feel this is part of a BIGGER change in society.
Not just the idea of people and companies investing into the developing world. But that as the world gets cleverer and cleverer and some people richer and richer — that a new breed of philanthropist is being born.
As Mark through his philanthropic organization is leading an investment of $50 million in a Bangalore-based education tech startup named Byju. This is a tech startup that helps educate people where there are no schools.
Perhaps tech rich people coming from technology money allows them to see money as something they can give away. A bit like their technologies. Perhaps coming from money made more quickly than traditional companies also helps this new breed of givers.
Or are they all begin clever business people and seeing an opportunity in giving a solution to a HUGE problem. Something all good entrepreneurs like to do. They might not be doing it for the wrong reasons. But helping the countries with problems where you think “where the future is going to be built” is never a bad move.
What do you think?
Please do comment below.
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Here are some other LinkedIn articles by me:
- The F word and why we should celebrate it.
- My letter to Kate Winslet — please don’t…
- Twitter vs Facebook who has the eyeballs for it?
About the Author:
Dan Sodergren is a professional speaker and digital marketing trainer based in Manchester with Great Marketing Works. He specialises in mobile and social marketing with ideas ranging from augmented reality, to RTB and back again.
He trains companies and individuals in best practice on social and mobile marketing platforms, gets to talk about it all on radio and is even occasionally seen on the BBC.