Sunday, March 9, 2008
"You have to ask questions."
There have been a couple posts already on the infamous Mark Z interview with Sarah Lacy. My thoughts - I have never been more proud of the 23 year-old Facebook genius. His answers to what were kind of questions, were smart, casual, and consistent. He never strayed from the Facebook mission - to help people communicate more efficiently and effectively. He reacts very naturally and honestly to all things floating around the media by reminding us that he isn't focused on the net worth of Facebook or going public and he is striving to create an open environment that gives users the highest level of control over their information as possible.
When we circled around the Microsoft partnership and advertising focus (which is my interest), it was actually refreshing for me to hear that he plays the role of CEO for the reason of making sure that people do not stray from the mission and do not become greedy (my words, not his) in their endeavors with the company. It seems to me that advertising models can either go terribly wrong or they can be effectively done. He is headed the effective route if he can ensure that Microsoft is very accurate in their targeting and planning capabilities. Although it is way too easy for advertising to get out of control, I am a little less concerned than I was before hearing Mark today.
I also like to hear that Mark and his company believe that people are inherently good and they are focused on ways of sharing that build trust. He discusses how the open platform will work by saying that applications shared by users that produce the most informative and useful tools will be given more access to post further applications. (Sounds a bit like the search criteria for Google, yeah? BTW - he gives Google a few kudos by saying "I like them")
If I could predict a bit of future - it would be that Facebook is approaching the online music category. Although Mark says that the Facebook community is providing the apps for music, he doesn't deny that there are talks with companies to build music apps.
And the coolest thing?!? He still writes longhand in a journal keeping notes of visions for Facebook and opportunities. Although... he does go Mission Impossible and gets rid of them after he writes them down. Someone is still old-fashioned like me and writes with a pen and paper!
Now - the gossip side of it: he couldn't have gotten a worse interviewer than Sarah Lacy. She was more concerned about plugging herself and her new book about him that she forgot that the audience came and paid hundreds of dollars to hear him talk - not her. The turning point in the interview? When Mark Z said "You have to ask questions." The crowd gets up, applauds, and the egg throwing continues through the rest of the hour. I'm amazed how calm and cool he kept it even when the crowd was about to have that girl turn in her press pass. He even tried to take a bit of the heat at one point.
All-in-all - loved to watch him speak. Print doesn't do him justice when it comes to his strategic and smart thinking. His reasons for the moves he makes are reasonable and smart. I'm excited to see where Facebook is headed in the next five to ten years. Hell - I might even go get a Facebook account now - I think the one I started two years ago without logging on once since then is probably deleted by now.