Facebook has "adult supervision," and that title goes to its chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, according to reports.
Before Sandberg came to the firm, Zuckerberg was a "hubristic geek" who apparently needed her diplomacy and "light touch," Bloomberg Businesseek reported.
Is this another story about how all techie/geek founders need someone with a head for business? It does play that way, however, it also portrays the former Google exec as definitely in a maternal role. It likens her to Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison (yikes!) to show her sensitivity and caring. She even comments on how she's cried at work, prompting Zuckerberg to offer her a hug.
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Obviously she's a business genius, too, because she came up with the idea of making advertisers pay for ads -- instead of users. (I'm not sure how users paying for ads would have worked at all, other than making all users leave.) Let's pretend that advertisers paying for ads isn't common sense to a 10-year-old.
In short, it's a pretty glowing profile for an executive that manages not to screw things up. Of course, most CEOs and COOs are pretty much not the reason for company success. That has to do with innovation and its employees, but I guess most executives like to read Businessweek and think what they do is rocket science.
I will say that, in my experience, Sandberg crying in Zuckerberg's arms would not have flown with the typical 60ish CEO. I think she has found her niche at a young company with little expectations of how a second-in-command acts. She can be herself without being labeled "overemotional" or "bitchy," the usual labels heaped on female executives (although from the story, she's portrayed as more a doting mother than firm parent.) And although she has fallen into a few female executive minefields, such as a Vogue fashion shoot and subsequent profile that described her Calvin Klein dress and Prada ankle boots, she seems to have emerged unscathed.
The question is, is Sandberg really that maternal and lovable? If so, then she is creating a few female executive -- one that plays on her strengths and isn't looking to a male model of leadership to succeed.