Rather than shelling out a measly $100, a handful of Silicon Valley’s most illustrious leaders have opted instead to douse themselves in buckets full of ice water -- all in the name of wiping out ALS, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The Ice Bucket Challenge, in which nominees must either donate $100 to the ALS Association, a national non-profit, or dump a bucket of ice water over their heads on camera, has completely inundated Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Bold-faced participants run the gamut from Justin Timberlake to Martha Stewart to Ethel Kennedy.
And now, Silicon Valley has taken the plunge. After being challenged by Governor Chris Christie, Mark Zuckerberg posted his own version to Facebook yesterday -- though with hardly a mention of the disease. “That was really cold,” he deadpanned after soaking himself.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took a more long-winded -- and slightly self-promotional -- approach. After being nominated by former footballer Steve Gleason, who revealed he was battling the disease in 2011, a group of Microsoft employees drenched Nadella with a water cooler. “From personal experience,” he joked in conclusion, “it’s better to have your head in the clouds than under a bucket of ice.”
While Zuckerberg extended the challenge to Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg and Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Nadella nominated Jeff Bezos and Larry Page.
Clearly, the initiative has brought forth a surge of awareness as well as an outpouring of funds. The ALS Association says it has raised more than $4 million since its inception on July 29 -- up from the roughly $1 million during the same period last year.
Nevertheless, the campaign has also received criticism, with some noting that its counterintuitive premise seems to be eluding a donation. (Some dumpees, it should be noted -- including Costolo -- have made donations in addition to taking on the challenge.)
But there’s one eminent figure who has rejected it outright: President Obama, who was nominated by Kennedy. “The President appreciates Mrs. Kennedy thinking of him for the challenge,” a White House spokesman told the Boston Globe, “though his contribution to this effort will be monetary.”
Related: The Magic Formula for Viral Content