Film mines Zuckerberg’s speeches for growth obsession

A new film by University of Illinois researcher Ben Grosser provides a lens on 15 years of Silicon Valley’s obsession with growth, in Mark Zuckerberg’s words.

NOV 7, 2019 9:45 AM
JODI HECKEL

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A new film by University of Illinois researcher Ben Grosser provides a lens on 15 years of Silicon Valley’s obsession with growth, in Mark Zuckerberg’s words.

Grosser created “ORDER OF MAGNITUDE” using video excerpts from Zuckerberg’s speeches and interviews during a 15-year period, from 2004-18. Specifically, he extracted phrases from the videos each time Zuckerberg said “more” or “growth” or referred to numbers. He predicted he would end up with a three- to five-minute supercut video. “ORDER OF MAGNITUDE” is 47 minutes long.

“It turns out he said these things so many more times than I could have ever imagined,” said Grosser, a professor in the School of Art and Design and the co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

“He was fully invested in growth and metrics right from the start,” Grosser said of Zuckerberg. “One of the founding principles of Facebook, and Silicon Valley in general, is growth at any cost. More users is better. The obsession with growth revealed in Zuckerberg’s speech over 15 years reminds us how we ended up with a platform that values growth over anything else.”

Courtesy Ben Grosser
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Film mines Zuckerberg's speeches for growth obsession
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Film mines Zuckerberg's speeches for growth obsession
Description
A new film by University of Illinois researcher Ben Grosser provides a lens on 15 years of Silicon Valley’s obsession with growth, in Mark Zuckerberg’s words.