Zuckerberg, of course, is a famously difficult interview (my interview of Zuckerberg from TechCrunch40 last year is here). At first glance, this interview is going much better. The audience, at least, is tame.
Swisher: What is Facebook right now? Define Facebook.
Zuckerberg: Facebook is about helping people share information and share themselves. We build products that help people share personalities, open up, share pieces of them communicate, while giving them complete control over their privacy.
Swisher: What were your inspirations?
Zuckerberg: “We’ve been building Facebook for four years now.” AOL was an early inspiration, hacking things on AOL platform, in chat rooms. A lot of his friends grew up learning how to program on AOL.
Swisher: what was it like to come to silicon valley and get instant attention?
Zuckerberg: Once they got to 30 colleges decided FB was worth spending time on, decided to move to California for the summer. So many great companies driving down 101, like Yahoo, thought it would be good to meet some of them.
He says that at the end of the summer he and some of the others stayed in California, took more time off Harvard, eventually dropped out.
Talking about taking classes at Harvard, Art in the time of Augustus, never went to class once. He said he was planning on catching up but built FB instead. Few days before classes ended he built a tool to have people upload images and information for everyone to collaborate. He passed the class.
Swisher: Asks about big funding from earlier this year, Zuckerberg’s decision to stay CEO.
Zuckerberg: Says CEO sets vision for the company and recruits a team. Says not done executing on vision, still building team.
Swisher: What did you learn in first couple of years as CEO?
Zuckerberg: Says “Beacon was a big mistake for us in a lot of ways” but it reinforced for them that there are lots of ways to share information, they learned.
Swisher: Asks Sheryl why she left Google for FB?
Sandberg: web is becoming more social. thinks trend is increasing. was at google for 6.5 years, was looking for something new. was excited about opportunity to do something small again. really believes in mission, wants to help FB scale.
Swisher: Opening up of the platform, what thinking was behind it?
Zuckerberg: they knew they could never build all the useful applications that were needed. Wanted to allow developers to help them. It grew a lot faster in first year than they thought it would. 300k developers now. Lots of apps they didn’t anticipate or purposefully didn’t want to go after. Music, for example – iLike built app. Another – games – things like scrabulous.
Swisher: What is your relationship wth Microsoft?
Sandberg: It’s good. It’s a good partnership. You can’t go it alone. We’re a small company. Partnerships really matter.
Swisher: With Google?
Zuckerberg: We talk to them all the time. Larry came to his apartment when he had a mattress on the floor. Google does a lot of interesting things, would be good to work with them on some things. Google is such a big company that is doing so many different things, working on social stuff. [no real answer here].
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