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Luck, Zuck and a Buck. Why Facebook Can Do Things Other Publicly Traded Companies Can’t

This post on Medium got me thinking. Here’s why we are lucky to have Mark Zuckerberg as the majority shareholder in Facebook.
The Good Lord knows that I’m no fan of Facebook, and when it comes to large companies, I don’t trust the ones that are widely publicly traded. Why? Because publicly traded companies are owned by algorithms. Less than 10% of all shares are purchased using traditional stock-picking methods. Between 50-60% of trades are done by algorithms. This turns equity markets into casinos with a lot of paperwork.
If we wanted Facebook to improve quickly, the only way is for them to step outside of the markets that only care about quarterly returns. If Zuck wasn’t the majority shareholder holding 28.2% of the company, FaceBook wouldn’t be able to do what they need to do and survive the sell-off.
But he is willing to do the right thing. And at great personal cost. For the company, for the users and community, and, let’s face it, democracy. We needed a capitalist (actually, a bunch of them) willing to give something up to help democracy.
With all the narratives about bad leaders coming out, how many can we trace back to the impact of being publicly traded? How many are forced into bad decisions because they are indirectly at the mercy of an algorithm? Can a widely held public company ever be true to a mission beyond profit? Can the stories they tell ever be really authentic?

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