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Facebook on 60 Min's

Lots of buzz about Zuckerberg's appearance on 60 minutes last night. As most I've read point out, for those of us in the tech community there really wasn't very much to learn from the piece. Rather, a typical company/ wunderkind-CEO profile. But that's clearly by desgin: 60 minutes doesn't angle its reports for the most knowledgeable viewers - otherwise they would be unwatchable for 99% of their audience.

So in that sense the piece was well done. It effectively introduced Facebook (the company and the site) to a mainstream/ 60 minutes audience. And it wasn't all puff - it made mention of the controversial issues around the company - the lawsuit and the troubles with Beacon. For someone in Pittsburgh who doesn't know much about social networks or facebook, I imagine they liked it.

In my mind the only thing that made it any bit controversial is Zuckerberg himself. He's a bit awkward. But then again, he's 23 years old giving an interview on 60 minutes. If someone had interviewed me (or most others) on 60 Minutes at 23 years old, I would have killed to reach the awkward level. Unfortunately, I more likely would have fallen into complete and utter, nervous, flailing doofus level. For a young guy, he's clearly very smart and seems self-aware. And, if you ignore the awkwardness and listen to his answers, I actually think he did a good job. Sure both he and their messaging could use a bit more polish, but overall his answers made sense.

With that, my favorite part of the interview though was when Leslie Stahl asked the WSJ reporter whether he was a good CEO (no comment on whether a reporter is even qualified to make that call). Her answer: "I don't know." Yeah, me either. All this guy did was start a company 3 years ago that has taken over the social networking space - leapfrogging established players in the process - grow the company to 400 employees, come out with a platform that has spawned a whole cottage industry, announce an advertising platform that had 60 major advertisers signed up on day one and in the process finance his company at a $15 billion valuation. Obviously, the jury is clearly still out on whether he's doing a good job running that place....


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