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Five Questions for Sheryl Sandberg

Posted by: Helen Walters on April 1, 2009

Sandberg.jpgA bit of a different format for 5Qs this time. Next Tuesday, April 7, BusinessWeek editor-in-chief, Steve Adler, will interview Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, as part of the ongoing “Captains of Industry” series. (To get a sense of the format, see these recent interviews with Martha Stewart and Sony’s Howard Stringer.)

As COO at Facebook, Sandberg oversees all the business operations of the vast online social network, from sales to marketing to biz dev. Previously VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, Sandberg is a veteran of both McKinsey and the World Bank, while she also worked in the Clinton administration, as Chief of Staff for the U.S. Treasury department. She’ll clearly be able to speak to a whole range of topics, and Steve will ask her some of the best questions we receive from readers, along with his own. So tell us: what would you like him to ask her?

Reader Comments

Kevin Lawton

March 13, 2009 3:39 PM

Do you see Facebook offering a branded, ultra-low cost (possibly subsidized) netbook for developing markets? Could Facebook use this as a way to grow the next billion users as their base?

There was an article recently about how to build lower costs devices:


March 14, 2009 9:52 AM

My Questionz from Sheryl sandberg that ''is it Posible to Add any Future plan notbook on (facebook) like (Mind MAP )& also people in Turkey litle confused of New changes.

@Nilofer via Twitter

March 16, 2009 1:50 PM

Define how Facebook's culture is different from Google's. How does that difference show up in design?


March 16, 2009 11:53 PM

Is Facebook the brainchild of a CIA project? No, really. :)

Farhan Lalji (@farhanlalji)

March 17, 2009 11:49 AM

Was the (latest) homepage design change just a response to Twitter's growth? Or user need?


March 17, 2009 2:38 PM

How can you expect brands to have confidence in the platform and utilize facebook for paid advertising when creating fan pages for brands has proven frustrating as some brands of the same category have more "boxes" for information and trying to reach facebook is next to impossible with emails going un-answered and the lack of a helpline?


March 19, 2009 9:13 AM

Apart from illegal or copy righted material, clearly what a user puts in Facebook is his/her wown property, for alll times and under all circumstances.
Why does Facebook not make a very simple and clear 3 sentence statement that clearly and umambiguously says so?
This woul remove a lot of frustration / suspicion / resentment in the existing and prosepective user community.

Richard Hardyfruit

March 19, 2009 9:44 AM

Now facebook is so mainstream that both my mother and dog have profiles, how do you intend to retain a cutting edge space that is keeps the attention of the younger generation?

Frank Loweser

March 19, 2009 2:05 PM

What makes you think Facebook won't be replaced by something else that seems fresher. A decade ago, AOL was all the and IMs.

Then friendster. That was eclipsed by myspace. Now facebook is having its turn at the top. But it seems like the industry creates something that consumers stampede to every few years. What makes you think Facebook can avoid that cycle.


March 22, 2009 11:54 PM

why don't you bring old facebook back. i liked it so much better

Taige Zhang

March 23, 2009 5:34 PM

How come you don't let groups charge for membership or for services. Or if I organize an event, why can't people RSVP and pay at the same time, all on facebook. Just link their credit card or paypals with their facebook account. You could totally monetize that and take a 3-4% commission for group membership or ticket sales. Imagine doing that with musicians and concerts! Better than just social ads and virtual gifts. No?

I think this would be a better revenue stream and people are totally used to paying for things online now. Groups would find this a lot easier than having to send people to eventbrite or some physical place to buy tickets.

There's so much you can do facebook! Why aren't you doing anything besides messing with the layout?

eric bauman

March 27, 2009 3:06 PM

does facebook plan on charging a membership fee as a solution to "finding more money" as over 3 1/4 of its user's are going into a panic induced asumption of that to be true-- even though there has'nt been talk of a membership fee... from any side i/e - businees columnists and facebook itself

Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

April 3, 2009 11:12 AM

Do you think Google should pay $1 billion to buy Twitter? (see Henry Blodget ;) -- and/or would you care to take part in a prediction poll?: "How Much Do You think Google Should Offer (to actually ACQUIRE Twitter)?" (

:) nmw


April 3, 2009 11:25 AM

If this were 1999, who would Facebook be the equivalent of? AOL, Yahoo, Google, someone else?

the home brand (via twitter)

April 3, 2009 11:31 AM

when droves of facebookers opposed the privacy policy change, facebook took quick action. can we plan on seeing same with layout?

Eric Jackson

April 3, 2009 11:32 AM

I was surprised by the way Gideon Yu's departure last week was reported in the press. On the day it happened, the company made a point of stating it was looking for a new CFO with "public company experience" -- yet, Gideon had formerly been Treasurer at YHOO next in line to take over as CFO when Sue Decker was promoted. Later in the week, in Mark Zuckerberg's memo to the organization, no mention was made of the need for public company experience. Instead, Mark seemed to indicate the change was due to Gideon's desire to spend more time with his family. How do you explain this shift and do you regret the way FB initially positioned this story to the press on the day it happened?

SE_blog (via Twitter)

April 3, 2009 2:15 PM

Are you still planning to modify profiles/features to better serve business users (and gain market share from Linkedin)?


Helen Walters

April 8, 2009 11:42 AM

Thanks to all for such thoughtful questions. The Steve Adler (BusinessWeek) vs Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook) match took place last night so please, no more questions. I'll add a link here as soon as we have the video. Thanks again, Helen

Steve Bower

April 13, 2009 5:03 PM

Ditto for Tiage Zhang's question.

I have a group that currently does membership processing via a combination of e-mail and a third party payment processing system.

I'd love to combine my membership management with facebook; e.g. create a group and let facebook accept charges on my behalf. They can happily take some percentage (or a fixed amount) per membership. Allow for multiple types of memberships, annual, monthly, etc. and I'm sure it would be a money maker.

Helen Walters

April 13, 2009 5:10 PM

Again, thanks for the questions. As promised, here's the link to the full interview:

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