How Will Facebook’s Zuckerberg Adapt to Working in the Public Eye?

As a 28-year-old CEO at the helm of the largest social networking company in the world, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has seen his share of scrutiny.

He will now get even more as a newly born public company leader, so we asked a panel of thoughtful insiders to reflect on how it might change his work style.

How do you think Mark Zuckerberg will adapt to working in the public eye?


Brandee Barker Former Director of Communications, Facebook

Mark has been adapting to the public eye for many years now, since the media widely criticized him for turning down Yahoo's offer to buy Facebook for $1B in 2006. By now, there have been millions of stories written about Mark, scrutinizing everything from his Adidas sandals, hoodie sweatshirts and eating habits to his relationship, personal travel and bodily functions. Through all of this, Mark leads Facebook with great focus, passion and conviction -- and his results speak for themselves. My hope and expectation is that very little will change about how Mark works from May 18 forward.

Jason Hirschhorn Owner, The ReDEF Group; Former President, Myspace

From an outsider's POV, Mark has grown his ability to work under the kind of scrutiny most couldn't imagine, whether it be his company communications or public interviews. Age, experience and having Sheryl Sandberg as a partner have contributed to this evolution and it likely will continue. As the world quickly shifts to the new universe that brings with it questions about use of data and privacy, he will need to consider his vision with the changing views of his user base. That tension will be something to watch. Interestingly, I think it's the media and the street that need to get used to a new breed of CEO with new values and ways of doing things that may not fit the past or current "norms." Product experience over profit maximization. Time in the office over the road. Hoodies over suits. My bet is he'll be just fine.

Anil Dash Managing Director, Activate; Director, Expert Labs

Zuckerberg won't have a hard time adjusting to doing product work in public -- every choice the company makes in that realm is already scrutinized extensively anyway. But making decisions about operations and finances -- and implicitly revealing the company's priorities as a result -- are going to require a huge adjustment in a publicly-traded Facebook. The biggest challenge will be having outsiders second-guessing Zuckerberg not just on decisions, but on the autocratic process by which he makes and enforces them.

Robert Scoble Startup Liaison, Rackspace Hosting

He'll be great -- going public is going to make Facebook the world's most dominant brand, and Mark's the right guy to do it. He's a quick study, and he understands social the way nobody else in the industry does. Just the fact that they haven't focused on monetization, that they don't make any money on mobile yet, is wild. They'll be able to turn on a whole new form of mobile advertising pretty quickly and make billions.

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