Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg – a conundrum

Facbook – you either love it or you hate it. I hate it – but Mark Zuckerberg does at least seem a nice sort of chap. Maybe he’ll settle down and get married soon – that will add a sense of reality to his life!

Amplify’d from www.mercurynews.com

His face pale and shining with sweat, words stumbling out in a voice pinched with anxiety, Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the verge of a panic attack in June at the All Things Digital conference, as he fumbled to explain his mistakes in college and in building Facebook.

Less than six months later, in front of some of the most influential figures in the Internet industry at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week, Zuckerberg looked like a different person — relaxed, thoughtful, even funny — as he talked about his shortcomings.

“Ah man, I’ve made so many mistakes in running the company so far,” Zuckerberg said, answering a question from an audience member who called him a “celebrity entrepreneur.”

“Basically, any mistake you think you can make, I’ve probably made” — Zuckerberg paused to smile — “or will make in the next few years. But, I think if anything, the Facebook story is a great example of how, if you’re building a product people love, you can make a lot of mistakes.”

Facebook’s reach continues to grow. Experian Hitwise said Friday that nearly 1 in 4 Internet page views in the U.S. last week were on Facebook.com. And despite his unflattering film portrait in “The Social Network,” Zuckerberg in recent weeks has appeared comfortable talking about his personal life. At a Nov. 3 product announcement, Zuckerberg started out with a story about an exchange with an elderly neighbor

as he walked to work in Palo Alto.

On Monday, with more than 100 journalists massed at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco to hear Facebook unveil its new Message service, Zuckerberg talked about hanging out with his girlfriend’s family in Boston last Thanksgiving. Recounting conversations he had there with high school students about e-mail that “make me feel really old,” Zuckerberg said they influenced his view about how Facebook should build its Message service.

On stage at Web 2.0, Zuckerberg spoke slowly and thoughtfully, making eye contact with the audience, his palms open with fingers extended as he talked.

Zuckerberg said he thinks “every day” about

building a unique culture at Facebook, and talked about one internal yardstick the company uses — the number of Facebook users, divided by the number of engineers who work there. For some time, that formula has yielded a number greater than 1 million. The size of that number, Zuckerberg said, indicates that Facebook is in a “golden period” where it has the influence of a big company and the creativity and agility of a startup.

His response to a question about criticism leveled by Jobs that Zuckerberg’s demands were “crazy” in negotiating a deal between Facebook and Apple: “It’s fine.” His take on how big tech companies need to think about social media: “Get on the bus!” He even laughed when co-interviewer John Battelle said, “you’re gonna want to stay away from those movies,” referring to “The Social Network.”

Read more at www.mercurynews.com

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