Mark Weinstein is known as a 'distributor'. As the Founder and CEO of the rapidly expanding high integrity social network, MeWe, he's managed to flip the current social media model on its head - or at least, he's trying to. A self-proclaimed 'privacy expert', Weinstein is best known for spearheading the movement against data collection and privacy violations on the web. Find out more as we take you through ten things you didn't know about Mark Weinstein.
1. He's got a degree in Philosophy
Before he was a distributor, Weinstein was the CEO of various companies. And before he was a CEO, he was a student - a student two times over, in fact. In the mid-1980s, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After deciding that student life suited him, Weinstein decided to continue his adventures in education by studying for an MBA in Strategic Marketing Management at UCLA Anderson School of Management.
2. He's always been one step ahead of the curve
According to his LinkedIn profile, Weinstein's history as a disruptor stretches way back. Back in the days before social media was even a glint in Mark Zuckerberg's eye, Weinstein was shaking things up with his very advanced attitude to environmentalism. During a time in the 1980s when most of us were still blissfully ignorant of the dangers of plastic and landfills, Weinstein was preaching the green gospel as the president of MBA Students for the Environment.
3. He was one of the original social media inventors
Before Mark Zuckerberg, there was Mark Weinstein, and before Facebook, there was SuperFriends.com. Although it's been some time since SuperFriends has seen the light of day, back in the day, it was all the rage as one of the very first social media sites on the web. It even managed to earn a mention in PC Magazine's "Top 100" sites. Weinstein (yep, he was the genius behind it) eventually sold the network on at the turn of the millennium along with its equally successful sibling, Superfamily.com.
4. Mark Zuckerberg inspired MeWe
Mark Zuckerberg didn't just give us Facebook. Whether he knows it or not, he's also been directly responsible for another, altogether different kind of social media network - MeWe. Speaking to medium.com about what drove him to form MeWe, Weinstein laid bare how his aversion to the tactics used by other social media sites like Facebook drove him to find an alternative. "Social media wasn't invented so that we could all be data - it was invented so that we could enjoy private communication with our friends, families, shared interest communities, new friends we discover online, and more," he explained. "When Mark Zuckerberg said, “Privacy is a social norm of the past,” that statement floored me — privacy is built into the individual rights DNA of the USA’s Constitution and democracies worldwide. I decided at that moment to change my life, come back to social media and build the next generation social media experience that gives people all the great features of social media while eliminating spying, targeting, newsfeed manipulation, electioneering, and undermining democracy."
5. He's won a ton of awards
Who knew disruptors like an awards ceremony as much as the next guy? Over the past few years, Weinstein and MeWe have accrued quite the collection of trophies and titles. To date, MeWe's honors have included being named 2020 Most Innovative Social Media Company by Fast Company; a 2019 Best Entrepreneurial Company in America by Entrepreneur Magazine; Start-Up of the Year Finalist at SXSW for Innovative World Technology; one of the "Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America" by Entrepreneur Magazine; and a "company to watch" in the 2018 FTI Tech Trends Report. Weinstein, meanwhile, has been named "One of the Top Minds in Online Privacy" and a "Privacy by Design Ambassador" by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada.
6. The inventor of the internet has got his back
Apparently, the inventor of the internet, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, is no more thrilled about privacy loss and data integrity violations than Weinstein is. So concerned has he become about the state of his invention, he's even jumped on board the MeWe bandwagon to become one of its most trusted advisors. "He is an amazing gentleman," Weinstein has said of the legendary computer scientist. "Tim invented the Web so people could communicate anywhere and everywhere together. He did not invent the web for companies and governments to spy on us, collect and sell our data, target us, and manipulate what we see. He is working hard to fix these issues as are we here at MeWe."
7. He's found a way to make money from a free website
MeWe markets itself as a free website. In fact, being free is part of its MO - as Weinstein himself has said, "privacy is not something anyone should have to pay for, ever." But while privacy can't be bought, plenty of other things can be. If you were curious to know how a man turns a profit from a free website, wonder no more. As he explained during a question/ answer session on Reddit, MeWe might be mercifully lacking in ads, fake news, newsfeed manipulation, and facial recognition, but what it does offer in abundance is 50 GB of extra storage at $4.99 per month, 'secret chat' at 99 cents per month, live voice and video chat at 99 cents per month, MeWePages at $2.99 per month, and more besides.
8. He writes for multiple outlets
Weinstein wants as many people to know about privacy rights and the dangers of conventional social media sites as possible. And you don't achieve that by keeping your mouth shut and your words to yourself. Over the past few years, Weinstein has written numerous articles on the subject closest to his heart, many of which have been published by the likes of the HuffPost, USA Today, The Mirror, The Nation, InfoSecurity, and Dark Reading.
9. He's in hot demand as a speaker
If you fancy learning more about Weinstein's works and believes, you might soon get the chance. Keen to spread the word on the state of the world and how he plans to improve it, Weinstein has made himself available as a public speaker. And he's had no shortage of opportunities to preach the word. To date, he's treated us to speeches at global conferences such as EY’s Strategic Growth Forum, KNOW Identity Conference, Global Security Conference, GMIC New York, Security BSides Vancouver, Customer Experience Asia, and many more.
10. His number one life lesson is to be grateful
If there's one thing that Weinstein makes sure to do every day, it's to count his blessings. Speaking to medium.com about his number one life lesson, he referenced a quote from Jack Canfield (“Chicken Soup for the Soul” author turned MeWe advisor) that runs, "Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life." “I couldn’t agree more with this statement," Weinstein shared. "I wake up every day deeply grateful for my family, my loved ones, and the work I get to do serving people all over the world."
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee