What Problem Will Mark Zuckerberg Solve Next???

Mr. Z “Leans Right” In an Effort to Solve the Greatest Nonproblem of Our Time: the Skillz Gap

Our topic today is the skillz gap, a problem so fiercely urgent that only the nation’s preeminent techno-wonder kid can even begin to have the smarts to address it. I am talking about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and in the time that it took me to type his name our failed and failing public schools failed to produce yet more workers skilled enough to work at what is indisputably the most amazing company in human history. So what a relief to learn this week that Mr. Z is starting a new lobbying effort that will tackle the skillz gap once and for all.

Let me see if I can break it down for you non-genius style. You see, because of the union-stifling and non-excellence of our failed and failing schools, companies like Microsoft and Facebook say that they can’t find enough skilled workers. Now if you add ‘willing to work for less’ to the end of that sentence you will be five words closer to reality, which as millions of laid-off tech workers can testify is a harsh place to be. This is where Mr. Z and his cool Silicon Valley Posse come in. You see, they’ve figured out how to solve both the fake problem and the real problem at the same time. Step one: say skillz gap over and over again using your best robot voice. Step two: push for an immediate increase in H 1-B visas and green cards. Step three: ignore haters who point out that 25% of the workers being imported from overseas are filling entry level jobs. Step four: there is no step four because the skillz gap problem is solved!

Mr. Z has taken a little bit of heat for the fact that his new superPAC will be headed up by a right wing operative who runs something called Red Sea, LLC, whose clients favor “freedom and limited government,” both of which have many likes on Facebook.

[Jon] Lerner’s Red Sea strategy group has not only helped  Club for Growth and Grover Norquist, but it has also worked with conservatives like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Utah Gov. Mike Lee and Nevada U.S. Senate candidate and Tea Party darling Sharron Angle. 

But you see, that just shows that Mr. Z is not $#@%in around. He understands that you don’t solve a fake problem by coddling it or by leaning in, whatever that means. Mr. Z knows that tackling fiercely urgent problems like the skillz gap and the unstifling of our failed and failing schools requires big guns like Mr. Lerner, who is best known for a TV ad that derided liberals as a “latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading” freak show. With that kind of fierce urgency, it will only be a matter of time before the skillz gap, the achievement gap and whatever other gaps we can come up with between now and then are *crushed* once and for all.

Mr. Z’s new superPAC will also be focused on education reform, which happens to be one of his passions as he explains here in a somewhat stilted statement defending his decision to host a fundraiser for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last month:

Mark and Priscilla have worked closely with Governor Christie on education reform in the Newark school system. They admire his leadership on education reform and other issues and look forward to continuing their important work together on behalf of Newark’s school children.

Speaking of New Jersey a huge chunk (and that is in no way a reference to Governor Christie) of the $100 million that Mr. Z donated to the Newark schools turns out to have gone to consultants and an outstanding plan to reward excellence and outstandingness. In other words, problem solved. Mr. Z is said to have ponied up $20 million of his own dough for the new superGAP closing initiative and is encouraging his pals to chip in $2 to $5 million. Which brings me to my original question: what problem will Mark Zuckerberg solve next???

What problem would you like to see Mark Zuckerberg solve next? Send suggestions to tips@haveyouheardblog.com.


  1. An IT (Information technology) perspective

    Increasing H-1B workers isn’t the solution and just hiring US workers isn’t the solution either. It’s the quality, knowledge and depth of skills required

    Schools/Colleges/Universities have changed since year 2000….I interview a lot of fresh grads (both at the undergrad and masters level and those that require H-1B visas) and I do have to say that the quality of tech skills is quite lacking for entry to mid level positions.

    My company does have a good chunk of H-1B workers who are just good at 2 or 3 specific skills which is also a problem.

    There will be 1 H-1B guy who’s just good at low level database skills, another H-1B guy who’s an average coder and another H-1B guy who’s skills spans 1 or 2 quality assurance software packages like fitnesse or silk central.

    But they have these skills. *Repeat* they-have-these-skills

    Most US Undergrads do not even come close where specific skills are needed for IT work. Which leads me to question: Are Universities teaching the wrong things? For IT internships, the quality of tech skills from thousands of college kids is so troubling that we have to literally throw away their resumes and either focus on just US workers with at least 2 years of work experience at a similar company as ours or look to hire an H-1B worker with specific skills.

    As far as laid off IT workers that are complaining about foreign workers, they simply haven’t upgraded their skills. We interview them as well and for the most part they want a senior level or the specific IT skill that they were once an expert in which no longer applies.

    The IT industry technology is dynamic and changes from time to time. So must the education and learning as well.

    I also have to point out that in countries like India and China, high school ends at 10th grade and then kids go to Junior Colleges where they pick up Industry specific skills. In my numerous conversations with current and past H-1B and Green Card foreign workers I have learnt that there are numerous computer programming and software learning centers where they teach specific skills that cater to the needs of the Businesses worldwide.

    Which leads me to question a few things:
    1. Why aren’t schools and universities trying to teach things that are actually in demand in the IT Industry
    2. The quality of IT skills has declined since I believe since the year 2000…are the majority of young people now spending too much time launching 1 app at a time on their “smart” devices, clicking the like button as if they’re monkeys on Failbook, being restricted in creative/random thought to 140 characters on Twitter
    3. Hedge funds are performing badly so are they trying to monetize public education to turn a quick buck
    4. US Political System from National to State to Local government aren’t really paying attention to Education, there seems to be no push for a complete overhaul of the system. If it isn’t working for so many years, it isn’t working at all
    5. More recently, public school kids are getting I-pads. WTF! are my tax dollars going to teaching them how to use their fingers to tap like monkeys 1 app at a time? Can most of them even afford to buy apps? How about ensuring that they learn how the hardware and software on these “smart” devices are made….only then they’ll regard these as “dumb” devices and go on to create better smarter things.
    6. What is wrong with my country?

    1. I do not believe it is the universities or colleges that have failed your industry, but your industry itself. Businesses want our education system to do the training for them to eliminate their cost for that endeavor. The purpose of university is to develop a well rounded person that can think and reason, and to gain some basic knowledge about a particular subject area. The purpose of the business sector is solely to make money, and for that reason if they can get someone else to provide training for their workers they will do it to make more money. The money is the core of our problem.

      1. By the way, I work on the Buyside and we manage money, mostly for Pensions of Police Officers, Teachers and State Governments. My firm has continually received money from the same organizations for over 50 years to create more value and they don’t want to give their hard earned money to Firms on Wall Street that received bailouts or to Hedge Funds.

        Singling out my industry makes no sense. Obviously we want smart people that can innovate and grow the business. If you are saying that Universities provide only “basic” skills, then we in the Asset Management industry (as well as other industries) will look elsewhere. Then don’t blame us for hiring foreign workers or workers with more experience or just considering Masters level resumes from top 10 universities only.

        Check the facts. Look around you. Apple/Facebook/Twitter are disruptive technologies that have caused a cognitive shift in thinking and aptitude of young people.

        Jobs everywhere require more skills than before and “specific skills” So most Universities and Colleges providing “basic skills” that don’t keep up with technology are producing students with too much debt and not relevant skills to enter the workforce.

        You also are failing to recognize that Technology everywhere is creating a huge demand for Computer Programming, Robotics, Bio-Medical Research, Data Mining & Mathematics (this is not just limited to the Asset management industry). So specific skilled workers that require these high skills are more in demand than ever (if you’re willing, just dive into U.S. Census Bureau Statistics to get an inkling) If you’re scratching your head now and still don’t get my point, then just create a movement called #OccupyTechnology and protest against it….you’ll be the only one on the street.

        If this data isn’t a wake up call to all the mediocre universities/colleges then I don’t know what is. They can continue to provide “basic” skills at ridiculous rates of tuition….in a way, they’ve already made their money.

        With enough student testing (another controversial topic) at the high school level, one would expect that they have “basic skills” before they go to college to major OR specialize in a “specific” area. I think we’re wasting money if it’s the Universities that are teaching “basic skills”

        Also it should be the high school’s job to develop students that are well rounded and can think and reason well. Are you saying this is not the case?

        You just can’t blame money. There’s a lot of blame to go around….Education, Technology, Politics, Government.

        1. why can’t you guys get together and open up your own college to train high school gradutes, or start your own apprenticeship program, oh yeah and pay your emplyees decent wages with benefits. In other words instead of complaining take matters into your hands, if Eli Broad can have his own school for Supentindents I am sure you can have one for IT workers. If Zuckerberg needs workers maybe he can donate a hundred million dollars to a college to start classes for IT workers.

          1. Don’t you just love it when techies like Zuckerberg and Gates complain about our public schools, about not having adequately prepared workers and about having to import H-1 Bs from India etc., when they are grads of private high schools and college drop outs themselves and they did not need to complete college to learn those tech skills?

            So why not create their own colleges? Maybe this is the real reason why they pour millions of dollars into K12 education –they know personally that college isn’t really necessary for that kind of work, that people just need basic tech skills and they can learn the rest in their own garages.

            The funny thing is they have done nothing to promote the learning and development of technology skills in public education, nor have they attempted to replicate the kind of education they received in their private schools, where they were able to learn basic tech and programming skills. They have only promoted the militaristic “no excuses” schools that promote compliance, not creativity, and they have fostered an environment where technology is used ON students, not taught to them. They have not been at the forefront promoting programs where tech and programming courses are to be taught in K12. Why might that be? Maybe they don’t want to pay livable wages, so they aim to direct K12 education to create compliant worker bees who are just tech savy enough to do entry level work and, most importantly, create an army of workers who would be willing to accept low paying jobs.

            Yes, it is absolutely about the money. None of those guys are in involved in real charitable philanthropy today. It’s venture philanthropy and all about a return on their “charitable” investments.

  2. What problem would I like to see Mr. Zuckerberg solve next? Personally, I would like to see him successfully extract his cranium from his rectum, but since he’s been unable to solve that one for several years now I won’t hold my breath waiting to see it…

  3. […] In this post, she has Wonder Boy Mark Zuckerberg solving the problem of the “skillz gap” by hiring a rightwing operative to run a national campaign. This campaign will use our public schools as the enemy, the schools that fail to provide the entry-level workers (willing to work for less), thus making it necessary for him to import foreign talent (willing to work for less). […]

  4. No one is advocating for a tech-free education. These outlier drop-outs never seem to say “hey, let’s help education!” They say “let’s destroy it!…and completely ignore good education practices and dedicated, highly skilled teachers…” Now, how to show that they are worth cracking! Wait, we’re tech companies! LOPSIDED DATA!

  5. This is what happens when you throw billions into the hands of someone on the spectrum who has inadequate social skills and no understanding or empathy towards others.

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