\u201cMove fast and break things. If you\u2019re not breaking things, you\u2019re not moving fast enough.\u201d\n\u2014Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook\n\nWhen I first started working in Silicon Valley in the early \u201890s, a colleague shared some salient advice: \u201cIf you see an opportunity to do something, just go do it. It\u2019s quicker in the long run to beg forgiveness after the fact than to seek permission before.\u201d\nThe company I worked for, Sun Microsystems, was on fire back then. Revenue was doubling every year; its market capitalization was larger than the reigning king of the hill at the time, IBM.\nMy co-worker\u2019s advice made sense in that context. Then the dot-com bust happened. Things changed. What works on the way up doesn\u2019t necessarily work on the way down.\nSun went out of business just as Facebook was coming to town. And, in fact, the social media giant moved right into the defunct computer company\u2019s former headquarters in Menlo Park.\u00a0\nAll this is to point out that as pithy as Mark Zuckerberg\u2019s quip might be, it\u2019s nothing new. He didn\u2019t invent this mode of thinking. Silicon Valley has always had a bit of Wild West swagger: shoot from the hip and ask questions later.\nIt really just boils down to disrupting the status quo. It has been spouted in conference rooms from San Francisco to San Jose since William Shockley, the co-inventor of the transistor and an iconoclast if ever there was one, founded his semiconductor company in Mountain View in 1956.\nShockley, by the way, once said: \u201cRegret is unnecessary. Think before you act.\u201d Silicon Valley seems to remember the first part, but not the second.\nMove fast, beta test, fail often, disrupt\nDisruption is the Holy Grail in high tech. Better, faster, cheaper, more efficient. Cut out the middleman. This Machiavellian approach is to pull out all the stops to give your customer something they didn\u2019t even know they wanted.\nWhen you are disrupting, you are out to gain market share. You don\u2019t worry about the consequences.\u00a0 You let the chips fall where they may. That\u2019s just collateral damage. You only care about disrupting. No regrets.\nOh, and if there are rules that stand in your way, you have three choices:\n\nChange them\nIgnore them\nBreak them\n\nFollow the rules? That\u2019s for losers. (In Silicon Valley, the only true law is Moore\u2019s.)\nBut we can\u2019t just blame the Silicon Valley mindset on the tech giants and other companies providing the goods and services. After all, Econ 101 tells us it is all about supply and demand. As consumers, we have to admit that we are enabling companies to continue down this path.\nWhether it\u2019s AirBnB giving hotels a run for their money, Uber undercutting taxis, Netflix unseating cable TV, Tesla taking on the auto industry, we champion the \u201clittle guy,\u201d the David vs. the Goliath.\nIt\u2019s also the self-serving way. We want better and faster. We want cheaper. Hell, we want free. The big technology platforms are all too willing to comply, as long as you don\u2019t mind free meaning that you \u2014 and every piece of data about you \u2014 can be mined and thereby monetized.\nSo, Zuckerberg & Company simply and dutifully supplied what was demanded.\nThe platform that was designed and built for ranking college coeds turned out to have a more general application, that of connecting friends, families, communities and businesses. It now spans the world with over 2.3 billion users.\nBut, as it also turns out, things like social platforms don\u2019t necessarily scale so simply.\nImagine living in a small town where you and your new neighbors can leave doors unlocked. Then, overnight, the town grows into a mega city and burglaries are rampant. Now, everyone needs locks on their doors. The only problem is, none exist. They weren\u2019t designed for this city. No one thought that far ahead.\nFacebook is just one of many companies that has created a platform without following Shockley\u2019s advice: Think before you act. \u00a0Ultimately, it\u2019s not about Moore\u2019s Law. It\u2019s about another law. The one belonging to Murphy.\nThe litany of problems that have transpired over the past two years for Facebook and its users, ranging from Russian trolls influencing elections to data security and data privacy scandals, hate speech and voter suppression, is a clear indication of that.\nThat which can go wrong, will go wrong, especially when your mantra is \u201cbreak things.\u201d\nA voice of sanity in the wilderness\nAnd this is why Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, a company borne of Silicon Valley soil and now one of the largest companies on the planet, is saying things have to change.\nIn his commencement speech at Stanford University a few weeks ago, he was quite blunt about it.\n\n\u201c\u2026if you\u2019ve built a chaos factory, you can\u2019t dodge responsibility for the chaos. Taking responsibility means having the courage to think things through.\u201d\n\nI couldn\u2019t have said it better myself. But Shockley could: \u201cThink before you act.\u201d\nCook\u2019s comments were unmistakably aimed directly at Facebook. The two companies have been partaking in a war of words for some time now, so this is no surprise. But the fact is, Cook is right. And, as the old saying goes, if the shoe fits, wear it. His comments should resonate for many, if not all, of the major social medial platforms.\nFor Facebook specifically, it is today just shy of a public utility. With the majority of the developed world depending on its platforms, it\u2019s time for Facebook to take on that responsibility.\nOther than creating a \u201cwar room\u201d to address the situation and going on PR campaigns, what is the social media giant doing? It\u2019s entering an even riskier business.\nFacebook, which has yet to prove it can be trusted with user data, now wants to be handed the keys to the vault that hold the user\u2019s hard-earned dollars.\nThat\u2019s right. Facebook wants to become \u201cFacebank.\u201d\nNot surprisingly, with the announcement of its hybrid, blockchain-style crypto currency called Libra, Facebook is immediately under scrutiny. Questions abound, such as:\nIs it blockchain or isn\u2019t it?\nWhereas blockchain and existing cryptocurrencies are based on the distributed ledger system that provides a level of assurance via the distributed system itself, Facebook is proposing some new \u201cpermissions-based\u201d system. Who gets what permission? How is this going to be tested before being released?\nWhose data is it?\nGiven Facebook\u2019s propensity to share data with its other platforms and even third parties, what\u2019s to stop Facebook from harnessing user transaction data from its cryptocurrency ledgers and selling that to advertisers?\nWhose coin is it?\nThe cryptocurrency will have some of the properties of \u201cstable-coin\u201d (a cryptocurrency that has its valuation tied to an existing currency) but Facebook is, again, proposing a variation on the theme, an alternative to this model. It wants to tie its currency to some bundle of assets, as of yet undisclosed. How exactly will that work?\nThese are but a few of the questions that have already arisen.\nThe bottom line is Facebook wants to sidestep its current mess and try its hand at disrupting a new business, one with which it has no experience. Let\u2019s revisit Murphy\u2019s law and ask: What could go wrong?\nSo, it\u2019s little wonder lawmakers in the US and Europe \u2014 even before the Libra announcement \u2014 had been making more and more noise about new regulations, perhaps even breaking up the mega technology platforms. As noted, Facebook is not alone. Pick any of the platforms, and you can find similar security breaches among myriad other problems.\nIt\u2019s as though the regulatory bodies are saying that if 60-year-old Silicon Valley wants to act like an irresponsible teenager, then we\u2019ll treat it like a teenager. Maybe a \u201cgrounding\u201d is in order.\nOr, maybe it\u2019s time for Silicon Valley to grow up.