Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Sheryl Sandberg PR Tour Rolls Into Town!

Mark Zuckerberg? Who’s that? Now, at Facebook, it’s apparently the Season of Sandberg!


Ah, the appeal of a fresh face is just irresistible to the press–OK, including BoomTown, except we posted more than a month ago!–with two major pieces, in Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, rolling out this week alone, with everything you wanted to know about the new COO of the social-networking site, former Google (GOOG) exec Sheryl Sandberg (pictured here).

But if you don’t have time to read them, here’s a quick synopsis of both:

Fortune: “Meet Facebook’s New Number Two” by Jessi Hempel

Details: Just 14 days into new job; Leg-tucking white Eames chair (pictured here); as Google’s VP global online sales and ops, ran everything!; she and Zuckerberg met cute at holiday party; aced Larry Summers’s midterm and final at Harvard public economics course, much to his shock, since he implies she was kind of chatty in class with friends.


Also Harvard MBA; obligatory McKinsey stint; Treasury Department in Clinton administration; picked 300-person Google over investment banking; always 10 steps ahead; Google.org mover and shaker.

Facebook aims: A need for corporate structure pronto; also time for the bigger picture; no more one-off decisions; more international growth; hiring senior managers; oh, yes, also must invent a new ad model for social networks.

But no silver bullets!; kicks ass, talks tough, then hugs all around (we did not make this up!); take out trash from Mark’s all-night Pizza-My-Heart-and-Red-Bull party (OK, we made that one up!).

Money quote:This feels like Google when I started.

The Wall Street Journal: “New Face at Facebook Hopes to Map Out a Road to Growth” by Carol Hymowitz

Details: Two weeks into new job; Biz dev guy Dan Rose is already sick of her (“It feels like she’s been here six months already.”); flip-flops endangered?; is able to argue why she is right by arguing how she is wrong; dangles data before engineers like fish before seals; easygoing but intense (when will these opposing dichotomies end?); crashed Harvard computers, but it was worth it.


Taught aerobics and was a stretching fascist; more cute dinner chatter with Zuckerberg before hiring; grew Google team from four to 4,000; a feminist and hangs with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda (see aerobics!) too!; Facebook pix of Argentine waterfall-leaning; went to high school in Miami; small kids, hubby; more 10 steps ahead and shoving people out of comfort zone.

Facebook aims: Employee performance reviews; processes for identifying and recruiting new employees; management-training programs; rally troops; stop the cash burn and up ad sales; close-knit culture must go, but you get hundreds of millions of new friends!

Also must figure out how to save Beacon’s bacon; earn trust of users, while frantically searching for a business model; wants frank feedback from staff and will publicly thank such person who gives it.

Money quote: “Facebook is a different space than Google, with tremendous potential to connect people, but it needs scale, it needs systems and processes to have impact, and I can do that.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik