We recently learned that Elizabeth Warren is the kind of presidential candidate Mark Zuckerberg considers an existential threat to Facebook. She is, after all, determined to break up the sprawling social-networking empire. But what about the others? What sort of presidential candidate does Zuckerberg consider an existential asset to Facebook? We may have an answer: step right up, Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Bloomberg recently reported that Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, privately recommended candidates for technical positions at the Buttigieg campaign. Zuckerberg and the Buttigieg folks were quick to minimize the connections, portraying them as akin to a boss forwarding résumés rather than some kind of endorsement. But Zuckerberg’s attempts at deflection were imperfect at best.
He and Buttigieg share friends, as well as an education—they both completed their Harvard schooling in 2004, Zuckerberg as a sophomore departing for Silicon Valley, Buttigieg as a magna cum laude graduate headed for Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Most significantly, they share a persona: the confident, disruption-peddling wonder-kid with a modern startup mentality.