We’ll See How Smart Mark Zuckerberg Is
By Mark Chussil
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO, recently spent up to $19 billion to buy WhatsApp. You might have heard.
Whether Mr. Zuckerberg overpaid is a subject of frenzied speculation for those who must have an opinion. We do know that no one else thought it was worth more; rather, that no one else with a spare $19 billion thought it was worth more. We know that because Mr. Zuckerberg was 1) willing to pay 2) more than anyone else. Otherwise the media would be all aflutter about what someone else was uniquely willing to pay.
I predict that the future judgment the pundits hand down will focus on the future outcome of the buy-WhatsApp bet. Smartness, though, is about the present-time decision to place the bet. Strategy is a decision, not an outcome. The decision to place this bet is wholly under Mr. Zuckerberg’s control; its outcome is not. The future judgment by the pundits about the outcome of his bet will be wrong in the same sense that it is wrong to say playing Russian roulette is a good decision if it has a good outcome.
Mark Chussil, Founder and CEO of Advanced Competitive Strategies, is also a Co-founder of Competing.com.