After BoomTown broke the news yesterday that top Google exec Sheryl Sandberg was tapped by Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg to be COO of the hot social-networking company, I talked with her and got the usual blah-blah quotes about scaling and growing operations and building a platform and how she wasn’t leaving Google as much as “going to an opportunity.”
But, as loyal readers will find out in the weeks and months ahead, she is sure to make for a much more lively new character in our ongoing and near-obsessive coverage of the Facebook saga, which we at BoomTown HQ like to call “As the SuperPoke Turns.”
It is certainly an interesting bet for Sandberg to make the move from the powerful Google (GOOG) to the upstart Facebook. And whether she wins or loses, it will be fascinating to watch.
But fried as she was late last night when we talked after the big announcement was finally made and deserving of a break, BoomTown will bring you a sassier sit-down with Sandberg after she clears out of the Googleplex Friday after six years (wherein all her rights to unlimited visits to the organic soba latte barista and shiatsu massage therapist will be suspended tout de suite!).
So until then, here are some sizzling tidbits about Sandberg (pictured here, with those soon-to-vanish colored Google exercise balls) to chew on:
The 2007 holiday party where Sandberg met Zuckerberg for the first time was thrown by former Yahoo president and COO Dan Rosensweig, who is close to both (apparently, BoomTown’s invite, where I could have witnessed this historic meeting, was lost in the mail!). Interestingly, Rosensweig himself was someone Zuckerberg probably considered bringing into Facebook.
One plus for the socially awkward Zuckerberg is that Sandberg–who spent her formative years swimming in the shark-infested waters of Washington, D.C., as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Larry Summers during the Clinton administration–has struck a lot of friendships around the Valley. That includes Google rival Yahoo (YHOO), where her husband David Goldberg once headed up the music efforts. Yahoo President Sue Decker is a good friend, for example.
Sandberg even seems to make nice with VCs (she has to, as her husband is now an entrepreneur-in-residence at Benchmark Partners). According to Facebook board member and major investor Jim Breyer of Accel, for example: “I met her in 2001 at the U2 Concert in San Jose. Bono called her name out in front of the whole crowd thanking her for the work she had done with Larry Summers. We (including Bono) all went out for drinks afterwards. Little did I know that it would be a 23-year-old entrepreneur who would finally allow me to recruit her.”
Ah, the sweet ironies of the Valley!
Speaking of which, here’s a video I did in June, with a longish chat with the then-pregnant Sandberg at the start, where we talk about the status of women–or lack thereof–in Silicon Valley.
The occasion was one of Sandberg’s regular gatherings, which she organizes at her home in Atherton, Calif., and which she calls “Women of Silicon Valley.” (Alternatively, BoomTown has dubbed them “ladyfests.”)
The events feature a wide range of speakers, talking to a broad swath of typically high-ranking women technology executives from Internet, software and hardware companies, as well as from other walks of life, about a range of issues. This one was with political pundit and Web diva Arianna Huffington.
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