Lunch

Monday 16 September 2019

12:30pm

Roger McNamee

Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook catastrophe

If you had told Roger McNamee three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund’s bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg.

Zucked is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing. It’s a story that begins with a series of rude awakenings. First there is the author’s dawning realization that the platform is being manipulated by some very bad actors. Then there is the even more unsettling realization that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are unable or unwilling to share his concerns, polite as they may be to his face.

And then comes Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, and the emergence of one horrific piece of news after another about the malign ends to which the Facebook platform has been put.

Roger McNamee

Roger has been a Silicon Valley investor for 35 years. He co-founded successful funds in venture, crossover and private equity. His most recent fund, Elevation, included U2’s Bono as a co-founder.

He holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Roger plays bass and guitar in the bands Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System and is the author of The New Normal and The Moonalice Legend: Posters and Words, Volumes 1-9.

He has served as a technical advisor for seasons two through five of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” series and was also responsible for raising the money that created the Wikimedia Foundation.

'Zucked' is both an enthralling personal narrative and a masterful explication of the forces that are now threatening our democracies. This is a wise, hard-hitting, and urgently necessary account that crystallizes the issue definitively for all of us at this critical time.