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Mark Zuckerberg vs. Silicon Valley's Richard Hendricks: Why Facebook 'Welcomes' Regulation

HBO's hit sitcom about the tech industry lights a real-world path to a better internet.

Mark Zuckerberg is the multi-billionaire founder and CEO of Facebook. This week he testified before Congress, assuring lawmakers that his company will play nice with government regulators.

Richard Hendricks is a character on HBO's sitcom Silicon Valley, the bumbling CEO of the unfortunately named Pied Piper. His memorable moments include evacuating his bowels, vomiting, and then lunging into a glass wall in front of his workers.

One is poised when being grilled by Congress and the other can't deliver a pep talk to his staff without hurling under his desk.

But Hendricks is a better hope for the future of the internet than Zuckerberg. Here's why.

In his testimony, Zuckerberg welcomed regulation—and agreed to help craft it. He's in the same position as late-19th-century railroad tycoons. Contrary to conventional wisdom, these robber barons embraced regulation as a way to raise the barriers to entry for competitors who were eating into their profits and market share.

Still sporting a hoodie, Richard Hendricks is at an earlier stage of his career. He's trying to build a new internet in an effort to outmaneuver Hooli, a fictional amalgamation of Google and Facebook. Richard represents the next wave of innovation—the competitor who, if government stays out of it, will eventually erode Facebook's market share by offering a better product.

Even Richard's approach to disrupting Facebook is more than just TV fantasy. There's a real movement in the tech world to build a new decentralized web that would give users actual control over their own data and create open platforms that aren't controlled by any single all-powerful CEO. One reason to bet on real-life projects such as Blockstack and Ethereum to decentralize the internet is that talented engineers are beating down their doors, because working at Google and Facebook is lucrative but soul killing.

As Facebook and Congress start to write new rules for cyberspace, all of us who believe in free expression and permissionless innovation have a stake in making sure that the future of the internet remains as open as possible.

Written by Jim Epstein and Nick Gillespie, who also narrates. Produced by Todd Krainin.

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  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    It's about time that Facebook band of people from different countries from communicating with each other during an election and either country.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    Sorry, what?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    And if Facebook won't do it, we will. We: The People. Through Congress.

    FUCK YOU!

  • colorblindkid||

    I don't know if he's trolling, but that's seriously what people want. That is the only place their logic goes. "Meddling" in elections is now anybody on Facebook commenting on an election in a different country.

    Millions of progressive Americans bitching about Brexit on Facebook is election tampering. Oh wait, that's not meddling because they're on "the right side of history". It's only the bad people who can't have an opinion on elections in other countries.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Have you not seen Incomprehensible Bitching before? Also, it's a she.

  • Mark22||

    Also, it's a she.

    "What difference, at this point, does it make?"

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Millions of progressive Americans bitching about Brexit on Facebook is election tampering. Oh wait, that's not meddling because they're on "the right side of history".

    This plus ex-pat Brits crying about Brexit makes you understand why these people, and the progressive upper middle-class in particular, seems to need a cocktail of anti-depressants and/or barrels of alcohol just to get through an average day.

  • cereal_shake||

    Hendricks doesn't actually exist.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Whaaaat

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    This is worse than when Citizen X found out he was a Millenial.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    THAT STILL HASN'T BEEN CONFIRMED.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Count the growth rings on your femur.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Don't worry. Crusty and I are also millennials.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    THAT'S EVEN WORSE.

  • Don't look at me.||

    How can you be certain?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    'scuse me while I kiss this guy.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Poor Mrs. Fist.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    You just gave away the series finale to Silicon Valley, in which Hendricks finds himself in the mouth of madness, battling his creator for the future of the mankind.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    SPOILER ALERT: Richard is becoming more like Gavin with each passing season.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    +1 blood boy

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I must have missed this episode of Get Off My Lawn.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    To me the message of "Silicon Valley" is that Silicon Valley is a giant wank fest. But Zuck helping set regulations garantees he'll be able to fuck all the little guys.

  • Hackmaschine Mutter||

    To me the message of "Silicon Valley" is that Silicon Valley is a giant wank fest. But Zuck helping set regulations garantees he'll be able to fuck all the little guys.

  • BYODB||


    One reason to bet on real-life projects such as Blockstack and Ethereum to decentralize the internet is that talented engineers are beating down their doors, because working at Google and Facebook is lucrative but soul killing.


    *rubs his temples*


    You guys really don't understand how people generally make decisions, do you?


    Most people will do a shitty job that has a high probability of killing them before their time if it involves lucrative pay, and that's permanent real death. You think people wouldn't take 'soul crushing' for a few decades to be filthy rich over failing miserably? I'm sure there's a few people who would make that choice, and some very narrow subset might be 'talented' and become successful innovators, but...really?


    This is the type of belief that people have before they graduate out into the real world. I take this to mean that Reason.com hasn't actually met the real world. Those 'altruist' business developers are basically unicorns.


    Did Reason writers also believe Steve Jobs was some force for good? Oh, wait, they do even while his platform is as closed as they come while also being incredibly exploitative. The biggest irony is the people who say they're against that type of behavior are perhaps the most likely to use an iPhone.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Though one thing that is also true in tech is everything pays pretty damn well.

    For instance, at a non FANG (but still large company I won't name) right out of college I was making 6 figures. People will take a paycut from, say, 150,000 dollars a year to 120,000 to do something they love.

    But they do expect payment.

  • BYODB||


    People will take a paycut from, say, 150,000 dollars a year to 120,000 to do something they love.

    That's a valid point, I don't know as much about your industry as you do for sure. I just figure that the 'the best' talent goes for the highest rate, and 'reinventing the wheel' (or in this case, the internet) is probably going to attract the wing-nuts.

    Of course, 'wing-nut' and 'genius' segments have an overlap on the venn. I assume this is how Tor was invented? /sarc

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    There's also a lot of entrepreneurship. And the most money period comes from getting a successful start up. And there is a fairly large pool of talented idiots willing to bet on that fucking long shot.

    But it happens. I know at least one person who's start up got funded, he made about 30 million dollars, and now just walks around wearing fancy casual clothing and doing cocaine (I presume).

    Also, I think TOR was originally military.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm going to shut up.

  • Henry Buttal||

    Keep going, it's a pretty good Silicon Valley imitation...

  • silver.||

    I do love when devout Apple consumers complain about giant corporations. Or wastefulness and consumerism when they get a new model every other year.

    I think Gillespie et al. are being optimistic about the particular technologies, but I think entrepreneurs will always be a thing, especially if the government stays out of the market. For all the problems it introduces, incorporation makes taking business risks a lot more palatable.

    I worry more that the products that become successful won't particularly advance liberty. To the average person who doesn't care about surveillance or privacy, why would blockchain technologies matter? Why invest in a less refined internet when the current one is fine for all conceivable uses? People seem to increasingly view their rights as being specifically bestowed by the government rather than prohibited.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    WITH A NAME LIKE PIED PIPER THEY HAVE TO BE INNOVATIVE!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Shit, you guys, we broke shreek.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    How do you break that which is made from silicone?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    There is a lot of ways.

  • Procyon Rotor||

    Silicone lube. Although, that's not so much break really. More like dissolve into a sticky, gooey mess.

  • J. S. Greenfield||

    Sorry, this article is pretty much a fantasy story. Google's and Facebook's positions are not about technology. If they are ever to see meaningful competition, it won't be a result of technological competition -- and it won't be easy (or likely anytime soon).

    See Ben Thompson's extensive writings on Aggregation Theory over at stratechery.com.

  • Libertymike||

    Why is this article "pretty much a fantasy story?"

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Facebook Google et al are following the traditional new business model. They grow like crazy, disrupt the traditional existing industry, attract lots of attention, politicians notice a new money source to swindle, latch on to the slightest excuse to create new bureaucracies, the new companies are now too big and rich to dare tell the politicains to fuck off, so instead they invite the regulation, get locked into their new method, and settle down to be bureaucratized and certified. Now they can't change, resentment builds, people itch for something better, and someone comes out fo the woodwork, heck, lots of people come out of teh woodwork, and pretty soon teh disruption cycle starts again.

    You are the one claiming an extraordinary change to this disruption cycle, seemingly implying a new permanent industry has evolved for the first time in history. The burden of proof lies with you.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Bring on that Regulatory Capture which will cement the current players in place.

  • Bob Meyer||

    AI is getting to be pretty impressive. The Zuck-bot might actually pass the Turing Test.

    What is it about congress that makes people wimp out when appearing before a bunch of political hacks? Zuckerberg isn't afraid of regulation, he knows he'll get exactly what he wants, government protection in return for doing as he's told. Does he really think that congress would destroy such a powerful tool?

    "Nice little company you have here. It'd be a shame if something happened to it before we could use it to eliminate our common enemy - independent minds"

  • Rockabilly||

    man, you'd have to be a fool to want the goobermint to regulate your business unless you want to make it harder for upstarts. I bet that's what it is, making it harder for a new kind of Facebook or what have you with bullshit regulations only you can afford.

  • ||

    Zuckerberg looks disconnected; and not in a good way.

  • Apple Support||

    The data breach has created a lot of buzz in the market due to which Facebook has to suffer a lot and ultimately the social network king "Mark Zuckerberg". The information related to this news has also been mentioned on the Apple Support which is a very great thing.

  • prediksi singapore||

    Ini ditambah Brit ex-tep menangis tentang Brexit membuat Anda memahami mengapa orang-orang ini, dan kelas menengah atas yang progresif pada khususnya, tampaknya membutuhkan koktail anti-depresan dan / atau barel alkohol hanya untuk melewati hari rata-rata.

  • prediksifajar||

    mark mark mark

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