No More Annual Personal Challenges for Mark Zuckerberg?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scrapping his annual personal challenge this year in favor of a longer-term focus.

Zuckerberg explained the reason for the change in a Facebook post: “When I started these challenges, my life was almost all about building the Facebook website. (It was mostly a website at the time.) Now there’s so much more to learn from. At Facebook, we’re building lots of different applications and technology—ranging from a new private social platform to augmented and virtual reality—and we’re handling a lot more social responsibility. And outside Facebook, I’m a father now and I love spending time with my family, working on our philanthropy and improving at the sports and hobbies I’ve picked up over the years. So, while I’m glad I did annual challenges over the past decade, it’s time to do something different.”

He continued, “This decade, I’m going to take a longer-term focus. Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030 so that I can make sure I’m focusing on those things. By then, if things go well, my daughter, Max, will be in high school, we’ll have the technology to feel truly present with another person no matter where they are and scientific research will have helped cure and prevent enough diseases to extend our average life expectancy by another two-and-a-half years.”

Zuckerberg wrote that he expects digital social environments to change drastically over the next five years plus, “re-emphasizing private interactions and helping us build the smaller communities we all need in our lives.”

He also emphasized Facebook’s commitment to small and midsized businesses, saying that 140 million SMBs are already using its services to connect with customers, mostly free-of-charge, and adding, “Over the next decade, we hope to build the commerce and payments tools so that every small business has easy access to the same technology that previously only big companies have had … At the end of the day, a strong and stable economy comes from people succeeding broadly, and the best way to do that is to make it so that small businesses can effectively become technology companies.”

Zuckerberg believes AR glasses will be the next big technology platform, writing, “Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.”

Finally, he touched on some of the myriad issues his company is facing on topics such as politics and privacy, reiterating previous calls for more regulation.

He wrote, “As long as our governments are seen as legitimate, rules established through a democratic process could add more legitimacy and trust than rules defined by companies alone. There are a number of areas where I believe governments establishing clearer rules would be helpful, including around elections, harmful content, privacy, and data portability. I’ve called for new regulation in these areas and, over the next decade, I hope we get clearer rules for the internet.”

Zuckerberg also mentioned the social network’s upcoming global independent oversight board for content, writing, “This decade, I hope to use my position to establish more community governance and more institutions like this. If this is successful, it could be a model for other online communities in the future.”

Zuckerberg’s personal challenges, year-by-year, were:

  • 2019: Hold a series of public discussions to discuss the future of technology in society
  • 2018: “Fixing these important issues” of misinformation spread via Facebook’s platform
  • 2017: Visit and meet with people in all 50 states by year-end
  • 2016: Build an artificial-intelligence-powered personal assistant based on Jarvis from Iron Man, and run 365 miles ( over the course of the year
  • 2015: Read a new book every other week.
  • 2014: Write at least one thank-you note every day
  • 2013: Meet one new person every day who is not a Facebook employee
  • 2012: Code every day
  • 2011: Only eat animals he killed himself
  • 2010: Learn Mandarin
  • 2009: Wear a tie every day

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