Zuckerberg is out of alignment with reality

Back in September, Tim Cook published a letter on Apple’s commitment to customer privacy. As part of the letter, Tim had this to say:

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

That was largely aimed at Google, but it seems that it hit Mark Zuckerberg a little too close to home. In an interview in TIME this week, he came out in defense of Facebook:

A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers. I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!

Yep Mark, I do think that paying Apple puts me more in alignment with them. You know what doesn't feel like alignment? Complex and ever-changing privacy settings that prompt hundreds of "how to" articles.

As for Mark's comment on Apple's pricing, well frankly it's dumb. Tim's statement is about being aligned with customers' best interests - particularly on privacy. In this sense, pricing has nothing to do with customer alignment. But hey, let's go down that path just for fun ;)

  • Apple sells hundreds of millions of devices annually, plays in the premium segment, and routinely tops customer satisfaction rankings.
  • Therefore, Apple is very well aligned with its customers.

Hm... Now for Facebook:

  • Facebook has over 800 million users, plays in the free segment, and routinely ranks poorly in user satisfaction rankings.
  • Therefore, Facebook is not very well aligned with its products ... er users.

What? But Facebook is "a lot cheaper" than Apple, so how can that be? Let's not be daunted:

  • Facebook has millions of advertisers and ad revenue is soaring.
  • Bingo - we have a winner! Facebook is well aligned with its customers, advertisers.