Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus developed the concept of a social business as “a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective.” It’s a business where investors can recoup their investment, but they will not get any dividends. Instead, the money goes back into the company to further the business and its social objectives, and to improve the lot of the workforce. It’s a far cry from traditional VC thinking. It’s a world apart from the goals of anyone who has invested in Facebook recently.
So what does Mark Zuckerberg want? A recent posting by his account ID to the Zuckerberg Fan Page reads: “If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a “social business” the way Yunus described it? http://bit.ly/fs6rT3 What do you think?”
Luckily for Zuckerberg, the post was signed by #hackercup2011 to make it clear that the world’s youngest billionaire was not forsaking his powerhouse investors. Still, the comment got 1,800 likes and 500 comments before it was removed. That certainly says something about how some Facebook users regard the site—as a utility designed to serve the public, rather than as a purely profitable enterprise. By hacking Zuckerberg’s account, #hackercup2011 raised the question of what Facebook’s millions of users would like the site to be: a social network, a social business, or some combination of the above.