This just in: Mark Zuckerberg has gone caveman.
That kind of headline might look perfectly normal at the Onion, Funny or Die, or even eSarcasm. But it, or something much like it, is actually from the CNN Money site, atop a blog post written by Fortune Mag's Patricia Sellers. I quote:
When he's not too busy connecting people across the universe, Mark Zuckerberg is pursuing a new "personal challenge," as he calls it. "The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," says the Facebook founder and CEO.
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Unless Patty overslept and missed April Fools by 56 days, she's serious. And so apparently is Zuckerberg. He wrote to her to explain:
Every year in recent memory, I've taken on a personal challenge -- something to learn about the world, expand my interests and teach myself greater discipline.…..This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I've basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I'm eating a lot healthier foods and I've learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals.
In 2009 Zuckerberg wore a tie to work every day (presumably one that matched his hoodie). Last year he vowed to master Mandarin. This year he's channeling Ted Nugent.
So far, he says, he's killed a lobster, a chicken, a goat, and a pig, and he's planning to go hunting.
Next year? I'm predicting a sex change operation. (Maria Zuckerberg, you look so fashionable in that pink hoodie, girlfriend.)
But when you look at other tech CEOs, Zuckerberg's behavior is really not all that far from the norm. For example, Steve Ballmer has also been known to stun, kill, and slaughter his own animals -- usually Microsoft marketing managers who have fallen into disfavor. (Not to worry, Microsoft donates the meat to local charities. I understand it tastes just like weasel.)
Yahoo's Carol Bartz doesn't kill her own food directly, but she regularly visits stockyards and screams obscenities at the cows until they die from embarrassment. It's more humane that way.
Steve Jobs has been known to personally guide every macrobiotic linseed muffin toward a state of Zen tranquility before consuming it.
Arianna Huffington doesn't prepare or even pay for her own food; she just takes food other people have made and reheats it.
Taken in that context, Zuckerberg's return to his primordial self is not that weird. We'd all be a lot healthier if we got closer to the sources of our food. Let's just hope cannibalism isn't on the young billionaire's menu -- though that would certainly be one way to winnow his friends list.
How do other high-tech CEOs eat? Post your thoughts below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "Mark Zuckerberg meets the Flintstones," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringeley's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.