In the wake of his SXSW keynote talk with BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy, is there anyone Mark Zuckerberg hasn't granted an interview? Caroline McCarthy, Stacey Higginbotham, and Nick O'Neill landed chat time with Zuck. Who, you ask? Exactly. Zuckerberg used to privately tell colleagues he didn't want to talk to anyone besides Wall Street Journal reporters (an obligatory move, while he was raising money) and Fortune's David Kirkpatrick (a man constitutionally incapable of writing an unkind word about a tech mogul). That he's talking to anyone who will listen suggests that Zuckerberg is trying to change his ways. He needs to stop, now, before he does more damage to his personal brand.
If Zuckerberg is really going to model himself on Steve Jobs, he can't be accessible. His post-interview appearance at a Facebook developers' event was doubly foolish. It contradicted the message he was trying to put out: That he's letting go of managing Facebook as a product so he can run it as a company. Zuckerberg was trying to make amends for letting Lacy conduct a Wall Street-style CEO interview about money, power, and personality by address developers directly. But he made several flubs, and his underlings had to step in and correct him about which features Facebook was making available to outside programmers.
In other words, Zuckerberg's not yet a CEO, even as he's losing sight of the details of his website. He hasn't learned how to win over people with manufactured charm. And his just-a-programmer schtick is threadbare. One very fair criticism of both Zuckerberg and Lacy: Neither had anything to talk about at the interview. Jobs, Zuckerberg's role model, knows that he can only go on stage when he has something to announce — and he drives his engineers to tears making sure they deliver it for him. Zuck, admit that it's going to be a while until you master that part. And until then, do yourself a favor. Shut up.