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Before Our Very Eyes, Mark Zuckerberg Is Transforming into a Male Version of Gwyneth Paltrow

Or maybe a dude Randi Zuckerberg?


First he decided to take two months off for paternity leave. Then he earmarked roughly $45 billion worth of Facebook shares for charitable causes. Then he set about building a robot butler. Then he decided to run 365 miles this year, and invited you to join him.

Every time we scroll through the headlines lauding (well, mostly lauding) Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s newest deeds, we begin to wonder, "Who nominated Mark Zuckerberg Silicon Valley’s life guru?" And: "Has Zuck been hanging out with Gwyneth Paltrow again?" Not that this is a problem for us, exactly. Influential people lending their headline-grabbing prowess to seriously neglected social issues like parental leave and gender equality can help nudge public opinion forward. Where work-life authority is up for grabs, better the Zuck model than that of, ahem, another big-name baby-making CEO. (Two weeks maternity leave?! We can't recover from a cold in two weeks!) 

But still, it's getting a little out of hand, this Zuckerberg Institute of Life Coaching. We’d wager Zuckerberg himself is the architect of his own ballooning self-regard as the tech world's Gwyneth. Self-promotion, shameless or not, runs in the family—just look at multi-platform integrated brand Randi Zuckerberg. Any person who decides to kill his own meat and learn Mandarin in his spare time isn’t just carrying out the wishes of an expert handler. Zuck is creating an image of the aspirational role model because, well, he actually is an aspirational role model, and his sincerity can make even the robot butler he plans to build sound practical. “This should be a fun intellectual challenge,” he wrote on Facebook, sounding like someone about to undertake the Sunday Times crossword puzzle. 

It’s all documented in his Facebook feed, whose blend of personal updates and aspirational missives is starting to read like a proto-Goop calibrated for the Valley mindset. Throw in a line of hoodies and some Frank Gehry coffee table books and he’d have himself a website—except, oh, wait, he already has one. And you’re already on it.

But it’s a weird dynamic to navigate, as we know from reading about regular-gal Gwyneth’s adventures with $4,739 juicers and Swarovski crystal sweatshirts. No matter how many miles we virtually run with Zuck, he’ll still be a guy with a robot butler and a $10 million Eureka Valley pied-à-terre, and we’ll still be over here, walking our non-remarkable dog past hospitals not named after us while we take a much-needed break from assembling our sixth piece of Ikea furniture.

At the end of the day, being Zuckerberg (like being Gwyneth) is something only one person in the world can pull off. So, Zuck, would you kindly let us off the hook? We liked it better before, when we could brush aside celebrity-dished life advice as the ramblings of someone who extolls the curative powers of bee venom and spends her time bedazzling the names of dead rappers onto purses. Because if you keep setting a shining example without regularly flirting with ridicule, we're not sure we can live with ourselves. 

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