NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Make no mistake ... Mark Zuckerberg is clearly out of his league as Facebook (FB) CEO and head visionary. I was wrong about the guy (and maybe the stock, though I still think it goes irrationally higher, sort of like Netflix (NFLX)).
Can Zuck come back? Anything's possible, but, he needs Sheryl Sandberg (or somebody) to Lean In on more Facebook brainstorming sessions and fewer activist appointments. Sandberg, as COO, appeared to be the rock that kept Zuckerberg focused. She has either gone AWOL -- thanks to her celebrity (?) -- or there's just no helping a young CEO in over his head.
With the exception of folks deep inside, nobody knows what's really going on at Facebook, however, it's clear Zuckerberg conceived and built something great before hitting a creative wall. If he's the best Silicon Valley has to offer, innovation did die with Steve Jobs and only has a fighting chance thanks to Elon Musk.
What has really changed since a March 2012 Time article asked Is Innovation Dead? Or since PayPal co-founders Max Levchin and Peter Thiel proclaimed innovation in Silicon Valley dead in 2011 (via Forbes):
Levchin was quick to call out the number of "me too" start-ups in the Valley today. "Innovation ultimately ends up being about solving very hard problems. If you're trying to build one more wrinkle on the Angry Birds idea," Levchin said. "You're not solving a very hard problem."SXSW was chock full of "me-too" startups this year. A nauseating experience. Fancy business cards and uninspiring elevator talks, but barely any exciting thought outside of an increasingly rare handful of unique entrepreneurs. In the last couple years, we have seen more refreshments from Apple (AAPL) than at the end of an Ironman Triathlon. Mark Zuckerberg has brought the world 12,000 different advertising products, a failed smartphone app for his original app and, reportedly -- TBA this Thursday -- a knock-off on Twitter's wildly popular Vine application. And, according to Business Insider, he's in South Korea pitching Samsung a smartphone idea and failing miserably. What's the problem?
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