Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Men and (No) Women Facebook of Facebook Management

Yesterday, I posted on the management shifts at Facebook, most particularly the changing of Chief Operating Officer Owen Van Natta’s title to chief revenue officer and vice president of operations.

I also gave a rundown of all the top execs at the fast-growing social-networking company and their duties (there are an awful lot of vice presidents with operations in their title, which I shall leave to another post to parse).

But, silly me, this is Facebook after all, and I forgot the photos of each of the members of co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s brain trust, who will presumably make the popular site hugely profitable and an inevitable part of every man, woman and child’s life on the planet.

Right, boys? (Because there are no ladies in this group.)

So here’s the dream team head shots and a little background on each below the photos from their bios on the site and elsewhere.

zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg needs no introduction these days what with all the magazine covers and morning news shows. My mother knows who he is now and my mother can hardly turn on a computer. But let’s try, shall we?: Harvard. Almost Quarterlifer. Co-founder. Flip-flop wearer. Genuine visionary with potentially Gatesian dreams of dominance over all he surveys. I think that about covers it.

owen

Owen Van Natta was COO and is now, as I said above, chief revenue officer and vice president of operations, where he is in charge of important parts of the business, like ad sales and other money-making efforts. Van Natta came to Facebook from his stint at Amazon.com, where he held the weighty title of vice president of worldwide business and corporate development and also was part of the founding team of its A9.com site. With a handsome surfer-dude look, is it any surprise he went to college at the University of California at Santa Cruz?

chamath

Chamath Palihapitiya, who was born in Sri Lanka and was raised in Canada, was recently hired as Facebook’s vice president of marketing and operations. The former AOLer, where he was in charge of its instant-messaging division, is widely credited with turning it around. He also did a stint after AOL at the Mayfield Fund, where he waxed on in a section of its Web site about his love of poker, noting that he regularly played, “very high-limit or no-limit hold ‘em games in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and have played against many of today’s top pros.” We like him already.

cohler

Matt Cohler, vice president of strategy and business operations, was one of Facebook’s earliest hires and feels like the Yoda figure at Facebook to me (he is also in charge of the critical international expansion). A New Yorker, he went to Yale, worked in China, was a management consultant at McKinsey and was also part of LinkedIn’s founding team. And don’t be fooled by the baby-faced looks–he apparently worked for a year as a jazz musician in Europe and, therefore, is a hep cat.

yu

Gideon Yu is also a recent hire at Facebook as its chief financial officer. Like that cat named Oscar who can detect death, Yu seems to have an amazing ability to get a sweet job at the hot Web company of the moment at just the right time. Case in point: He left Yahoo as its treasurer and went to YouTube as its CFO just a month before it sold to Google for $1.6 billion, a deal in which Yu apparently played a key role. Then, on his way to a spot as a junior partner at also-hot VC firm Sequoia Partners, he grabbed the Facebook CFO job in July. I say we watch where Yu goes and follow stealthily behind so as not to be detected.

dustin

Is it just me or does Dustin Moskovitz remind you of cuddly actor Seth Rogen from “Knocked Up” with his hair cut short? As Facebook’s vice president of product engineering, he oversees the site’s architecture and more (like mobile strategy and development). More importantly, the economics major shared that Harvard dorm room with Zuckerberg, where they and others created the service (while most other people’s college dorm mates basically drank beer and passed out).

dangelo

Last but not least, Chief Technology Officer Adam D’Angelo, a longtime Zuckerberg pal. He’s in charge of keeping Facebook from breaking apart as it grows, kind of like Scotty in “Star Trek.” But there’s no warp drive that can save the site from all those surly college students and surlier Silicon Valley types if it all went kerflooey. His Facebook bio says the computer-science grad from the California Institute of Technology was one of the “top 24 finalists in the Topcoder Collegiate Challenge, which tests the ability to design and implement complex algorithms in a timed environment.” Color me impressed, even though I have no idea what that means.

In any case, I look forward to meeting you one and all.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald