The surprise announcement that Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg would make a rare television appearance has sent tech bloggers on furious search for meaning buried in the just-released transcript. On Monday night, PBS will air the interview between Charlie Rose, Zuckerberg and Sandburg, which was taped in Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters last Thursday. If you miss it, Bloomberg TV will rerun the program on Tuesday night, but much of the interesting bits have already been flagged by the impatient Facebook news junkies. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg is on a tour of colleges like Harvard and MIT to recruit some new talent to join Facebook.
The Big Picture
The video of the interview itself seems a little bit awkward, and at 42-pages-long, the transcript is not a quick read. Zuckberg and Sandberg don't give too many interviews and their lack of practice shows in this snippet of their conversation with Rose:
We never — Facebook never sends any information out about anyone.
I understand that. But it goes out because Facebook has a system that allows that.
Yeah, because Facebook –
– allows people –
Allows other people to share.
Now let's dig into some details, as told by brow-raising headlines from the internet.
"Facebook's Zuckerberg Says Apple's Jobs Advised on Company Focus" - If you've been keeping up with the details revealed in Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography, you already knew that Jobs and Zuck were in cahoots, or at least shared some mutual respect. Now we know that Mark "had a lot of questions" for Jobs, including but not limited to "how to build a team around you that's focused on building as high quality and good things as you are." [Bloomberg]
"Zuckerberg Says Amazon and Apple Are Allies, While Google's Building 'Their Own Little Version of Facebook'" - Liz Gannes aims right for the jugular with a swipe at Facebook's relationship with the other Silicon Valley giants. Zuckerberg pushes back against Amazon and Apple being competitors. He's not so nice to Google. [AllThingsD]
"Zuckerberg and Sandberg Discuss Facebook's Future" - Nick Bilton at the Times Bits blog goes for the generalist approach, and we thank him for that. Letting the preview video speak for itself, Bilton does latch onto what Rose calls a "flat-out war" in Silicon Valley. "I don't think that this is going to be the type of situation when one company wins all this stuff," said Zuckerberg in the interview. [New York Times]
The Notable Quotes
We don't mean to imply that the interview lacks meaningful gems. We've pulled out some of our favorites. Long story short: Mark Zuckerberg should buy a new outfit, and Sheryl Sandberg should talk more.
Sheryl Sandberg reflects on how little Mark has changed over the years:
It's interesting to watch as closely as I have. Like since I've known Mark over the last four years, in some ways, everything's changed, in some ways, nothing has changed. So what's changed is, you know, he was on his way to being Mark Zuckerberg four years ago. But now he's, like, Mark Zuckerberg.
But we could walk around Palo Alto four years ago, and people didn't, like, look. And now they do. But when you actually know him, like nothing's changed. He wears actually exactly the same thing even though it's a new T-shirt. But he wears the same thing. He has the same girlfriend.
Mark Zuckerberg talks about the timeline for Facebook's IPO — or rather, the lack thereof:
…We've made this implicit promise to our investors and to our 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 and liquidly, in a liquid way. Now, the promise isn't that we're going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon. The promise is that we’re going to build this company so that it's great over the long term, right. And that we're always making these decisions for the long term, but at some point we'll do that.
Sandberg pushes back against the commonly held notion that Facebook wants to host content:
We don't want people to use Facebook to watch movies or read newspaper articles. We want to provide the social technology, so we want them to listen to music on the iPhone or through Apple or through Spotify — anything they want. We want them to watch movies everywhere. We just want Facebook to be how they share wherever they are.
The best part happens when Charlie Rose asks Zuckerberg and Sandberg about their views on immigration policy, for some reason. They play ball for a minute before shutting the door on Rose when he asks why we aren't "stapling a green card to every diploma":
We're not — we're not experts on the political process.
It's above my pay grade.