Early Facebook Investor On Meeting Mark Zuckerberg
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Early Facebook Investor On Meeting Mark Zuckerberg

Kif: I wanna get to Mark
Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg because they’re, I’m gonna
say, powerful people. Roger: Yeah, I’ve noticed. Kif: So you know them both. Roger: Yeah. Kif: How did you meet Mark Zuckerberg? Roger: So 2006, I got an email
from a guy named Chris Kelly. He was the Chief Privacy
Officer at Facebook. He says, “My boss has a huge business issue, and he doesn’t know how to solve it, and he needs to talk to somebody who’s been around a long
time but has no conflicts. Would you take a meeting?” Now, Facebook was 2 years
old. Mark was 22. I was 50. And they had $9 million
in sales the year before, and they got it basically
from, you know, pizza ads. They didn’t even have News Feed yet. They were still just college campuses and high school students. But it was already obvious that he’d broken the code on social. I take the meeting. He comes in my office. I go, “Look, you don’t know
me, I don’t know you, I need to tell you something.” I said, “If it hasn’t already happened, either Microsoft or Yahoo is gonna offer a billion for the company.” And I gave him a whole
bunch of explanations about what’s gonna happen, like your management team, your parents, the board directors, everybody’s gonna tell you take the money. It turns out the reason
he was coming to see me was Yahoo had just offered a
billion dollars for Facebook. I basically hypothesized
precisely what was going on. Kif: But he hit you with silence, right? This is 23-year-old Roger: 22-year-old. Kif: 22-year-old. He’s CEO, the
hottest thing in the Valley. What did the silence feel like? What were you thinking in that moment? Roger: So… I described this in
some detail in the book because it was a meeting
unlike any I’ve ever been in, and I don’t know how many people have ever had this experience of being one-on-one in a conference room that’s set up like a living room. So we’re in sort of comfy chairs, but we’re no further
apart than you and I are. And I described this thing to Mark, and he hasn’t said anything yet. I mean, he’s introduced
himself, and that’s it. There then ensues a silence
that lasted almost five minutes. I challenge you to be
one-on-one with somebody and have them pantomiming thinker poses for five minutes and you not
be on the verge of screaming. I mean, at about the
three-minute mark, my fingernails were implanted in the cushions
of the side of the couch. And at the four-minute mark,
I’m literally thinking, “I’m gonna scream if he
doesn’t say something.” And when he finally
relaxes and says something, I mean, I have no idea
what’s just been happening. I’ve never been in a meeting where anybody ever did that before, but it’s also in some
ways really amazingly cool because I’ve said something, and he’s thinking so hard about it and trying to decide, “Do I trust this guy
I’ve never met before?” So when he relaxes and
starts talking to me, he’s paying me a huge compliment. And that part’s really obvious. It was obvious that this was… His first reflex was not to
blurt out what was going on, and I’m looking that as, “Wow, in an entrepreneur who’s only 22, that’s a really good sign.” That level of caution,
that level of listening, that level of thinking, I mean, I was already impressed before he came in, but after that, I’m going, “Wow, he is really one in a billion.” So I ask him, “Do you wanna sell it?” And he said, “No, I don’t.” Kif: Yeah, how have Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg changed since then? Roger: I wonder because I don’t get to
talk to them anymore. My last interaction
with either one of them was October of 2016, and the last interaction
with anybody at Facebook was February 2017, and they have very consciously not communicated with me since. So I can’t be certain. All I can tell is from what I see. The Mark that I knew
was really idealistic. He had this vision of connecting
everyone in the world. The same way Google had a vision of collecting all the world’s information. He was gonna connect everybody, and he was so convinced
of the merit of that idea that I think he truly believed that any means necessary to
get there was appropriate. And in the early days, when
he had authenticated ID, when he had real privacy protection, that was likely to work. But once 2011 happened
and they started to go to this business model of surveillance and really trying to manipulate attention, and 2013 when they started to embed data from outside of Facebook so
the targeting got really good, well, authenticated ID
started to feel like friction. So they basically said, “You know what, we’re not gonna actually
police this anymore. We’ll let the people who use
the product do the policing.” And privacy starting in, what, 2009? They start trading data in a limited way, and they have the consent decree in 2011, and that clearly didn’t
slow them down at all. So my impression is that Zynga
basically hacked Facebook in 2007, 2008, 2009. They realized, “Oh, my God,
friends lists are the key to increasing time on site. So we’re gonna move things forward.” And you look and go, wow. I wish I’d hung around
just a little bit longer so I’d seen that because that part’s really scary. And that was a conscious choice, right? They basically said, “Our goal is so important that the personal information of
the people who use our platform is just something we’re gonna trade for competitive advantage.” And they stopped… I’m not sure they ever
looked at the people who used the platform as people, but from that moment forward
they for sure didn’t, and they were for sure
looking at them as a metric, and that’s unhealthy. Kif: Yeah.

43 thoughts on “Early Facebook Investor On Meeting Mark Zuckerberg

  1. Zuck- verb, active. Defined as buying someone's data without informing first that the data is worth cash. Ex. Lisa zucked Margery into giving over her personal information for a temporary stimulus.

  2. The movie “the social network” made Zuckerberg look like a hero when he was always intent on turning the masses into a product for the corporation and making himself insanely wealthy in doing so.

  3. This narrative about data selling really has some cinematic promise. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin should work on "The Social Network 2".

  4. Grandpa is reading too much into the silence of a person with zero social skills. Its unprofessional to keep someone waiting that long on 1 to 1 conversation.

  5. Steve Jobs was an asshole because he was obsessed about how much better his products can be Mark is an asshole because he's an asshole.

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