What’s the Facebook mission?
Mark Zuckerberg: The stated mission of the company is to make the world more open and connected. And one of the things we’re really proud of is that now 800 million people around the world are using Facebook every month. Perhaps even crazier—it’s mind-blowing, from my perspective—but more than half a billion people use Facebook every day. If you look forward five years, the story that people will remember isn’t how this one site was built. It’s how every single service that you use is going to be better with your friends.
Sheryl Sandberg: From the wisdom of crowds to the wisdom of friends.
That’s Google vs. Facebook, right?
Sandberg: I don’t think it’s Google vs. Facebook. I think the wisdom of crowds applies not just to Google but to a phase of the Web that’s about information, mostly based on anonymity. The information Web is still broadly used, but the social Web didn’t exist before. The social Web can’t exist until you are your real self online. You have to be Charlie Rose. He has to be Mark Zuckerberg … then you have the evolution of the social Web, not just on Facebook but throughout.
Is this the key to monetization, the way advertisers will reach people?
Sandberg: Marketers have always been looking for that person who’s not just going to buy but spread the word to their friends. What we do on Facebook is enable marketers to find that. If I do it on Facebook I’m sharing with an average of 130 people. It’s word-of-mouth marketing at scale.
You’re aiming at an IPO now. Why become a public company?
Zuckerberg: A big part of being a technology company is getting the best engineers and designers. And one of the ways that you can do that is you compensate people with equity or options. We’ve made this implicit promise to our investors and employees that by compensating them with equity and by giving them equity, that at some point we’re going to make that equity worth something publicly, in a liquid way.
When will it take place?
Sandberg: When we’re ready.
Zuckerberg: Good question. Honestly, it’s not something I spend a lot of time on a day-to-day basis thinking about.
How would you describe the Facebook corporate culture?
Sandberg: We build things quickly and ship them. We get feedback. We iterate, we iterate, we iterate. We have these great signs around: “Done is better than perfect,” “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Zuckerberg: One of the big theories that I had about that was that all companies slow down dramatically as they grow. But if we can focus at every step along the way on moving quicker, then maybe—we’re around 2,500 or 3,000 people now—maybe we can move as quickly as a company that only has 500 people because we’ve invested so much in building up the infrastructure and tools and the culture that tells people to take risks. That ability to build stuff quicker will be a big advantage for us over the long term.
You’re one of four tech giants battling for the future. How does this play out?
Zuckerberg: Google, in some ways, is more competitive and certainly is trying to build their own little version of Facebook. But when I look at Amazon and Apple, I see companies that are extremely aligned with us. We have a lot of conversations with people at both companies trying to figure out ways that we can do more together. Our goal is not to build a platform. It’s to be across all of them.
In your conversations with Steve Jobs, what did you ask him?
Zuckerberg: How to build a team that’s focused on building as high quality and good things as you are. How to keep an organization focused when I think the tendency for larger companies is to try to fray and go into all these different areas. A lot just on the aesthetics and mission-orientation of companies … we connected a lot on that level.
Do you trust the judgment of people to know what they ought to share?
Zuckerberg: Yeah, and I think that people go through a learning process, too. When social networks were first ramping up on the Web, some people shared a few things too broadly. … What we’ve done in the last year is we’ve made it so that anytime you share anything, the privacy control is now right there. I don’t think we’re at the end. We’re going to need to keep on making it easier and easier.