We've likely all heard by now that Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook, announced his $100 challenge grant to help overhaul the Newark school system on the Oprah Winfrey Show. As close to achieving Gym Class Heroes frontman Travie Mccoy's dream to "be on the cover of Forbes magazine" (Zuckerberg reportedly weighs in at Number 35 on Forbes' new list of the richest Americans) " 'smilin' next to Oprah and the Queen" (although the Queen is not expected to appear), questions swirl around the timing of the 26-year-old billionaire's revelation of his financial contribution, which dovetails with the New York weekend premiere of "The Social Network".
While Zuckerberg did not share the stage with her Majesty (the Queen of England, not Oprah), but he was joined by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Cory Booker when the announcement officially went public on the show.
Neither Zuckerberg nor Booker nor Christie have much to lose here. While their motives, whether they be political gain or trying to enhance or save public face, the question is, do their intentions and/or their timing of the announcement really matter in the long run?
It's an age-old one. The ancient rabbis of suggested that every human being has been created with two inclinations: one to good and one to evil. They further suggest that these inclinations work in concert with one another; namely, that a partially selfish act (like building a home because you're jealous of someone else's), for instance, has the potential to result in something good (for instance said home providing safety and shelter not only for one's family, but for friends in need, as well as a place to open the doors to welcome strangers and guests alike).
In this regard, does it matter now or later why Zuckerberg is giving such a staggeringly large gift (even for a guy worth some 6.9 billion dollars), when he's decided to give it, or where he's making the announcement? And will we hear more news about these things and spend more time discussing the aforementioned amongst ourselves than we will learning about what the gift might do? And, if so, what might it say about our the balancing of our own inclinations (PS-I'm really asking the questions, not telegraphing any particular answer)?