The Facebook SXSW keynote debacle: What would you have asked?

The Facebook SXSW keynote debacle: What would you have asked?

Summary: It's not too often that a keynote at a major conference turns into a total train wreck. But that's what happened with the Mark Zuckerberg keynote at SXSW where he was interviewed by BusinessWeek's Sarah Lacy.

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It's not too often that a keynote at a major conference turns into a total train wreck. But that's what happened with the Mark Zuckerberg keynote at SXSW where he was interviewed by BusinessWeek's Sarah Lacy.

News.com's Daniel Terdiman has the best account of Zuckerberg keynote and how Lacy lost the crowd. The Twitterati was brutal and Lacy was heckled for cutting off Zuckerberg and becoming the story. The blow-by-blow on Twitter and Techmeme is just fascinating.

Perhaps the train wreck occurred because Lacy wasn't a geek. Perhaps it was Lacy's song-and-dance as an FOM (friend of Mark). Or perhaps it's because Lacy pulled a condescending quote about how the crowd just didn't understand how hard it was to be a journalist. In any case, it wasn't pretty.

But the larger question is this: What would you have asked Zuckerberg? Frankly, I would have had a starter set of (hopefully) good questions and then opened it up to the masses, which are likely to be smarter than me anyway. That said here's what this inquiring mind would have liked to ask Zuckerberg.

  • Google and MySpace have exchanged jabs over the monetization of social networking. What are the unique challenges and opportunities you see on the monetization front? Why ask that question: At the least you may get a little MySpace quip from Zuckerberg. At best you'd get a real analysis of the perils and promise of social media advertising.
  • Let's talk scale. Zuckerberg recently hired Google exec Sheryl Sandberg as chief operating officer. What does Zuckerberg hope to learn from her? What are the three things you've learned about the need to scale your business?
  • Knowing what you know today would you have built Facebook's technology infrastructure any differently?
  • Fast forward to five years from now. What will Beacon be? What will Beacon look like in a decade?
  • Who do you see as Facebook's primary competition? Is it Google? Is it other Internet media players that will absorb social networking features?
  • What has Microsoft brought to the table for Facebook? What can you learn from them? What Microsoft executive would you most like to emulate?

And that's just off the top of my head. What would you ask Zuckerberg? We can file them away just in case I get an interview.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Collaboration

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5 comments
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  • Zuckerman let a "journalist" interview him as his keynote?

    NT
    Vesicant
  • RE: The Facebook SXSW keynote debacle: What would you have asked?

    What Went Wrong - SXSW Keynote Sarah Lacy and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
    excerpt:
    The train wreck:
    1) Sarah wasn???t focused on what the SXSW audience wanted to know about FB. She was asking questions that were general and business-oriented, rather than what the SXSW crowd wanted to hear about from Mark which I believe fell into three categories.

    First, they should have discussed current issues with features about personal usage in FB and upcoming personal features for FB. It???s applicable to everyone. The second and most important to the SXSW audience is the subject of making money as a FB developer. And the most important and interesting discussion topic should hve been the future of the social graph and the social media platform...

    continued...

    http://blogs.personallifemedia.com/dishymix/2008/03/10/what-went-wrong-sxsw-keynote-sarah-lacy-and-mark-zuckerberg-facebook/
    SusanBratton
  • RE: The Facebook SXSW keynote debacle: What would you have asked?

    It sounds like Zuck handled a really crappy interview well and
    came away with the crowd's support. I think Lacy got caught
    trying to grandstand, then tried to play it off as if it were
    nothing and then got slammed by the crowd... Kind of like a
    surfer on the North Shore going over the falls of a 60 foot
    wave. - <a href="http://aoleonthemartiangirl.com">Anime
    Girl</a>
    AnimeGirls
  • RE: The Facebook SXSW keynote debacle: What would you have asked?

    It was hideous to witness live. I cringed for her! She was very unprofessional: she went too far with trying to act chummy w/ Zuck. She acted very inappropriately by bringing up embarassing stories -- how nervous he was when they first met and sweat pit stains ... she was twirling her hair, flirting and giggling like a school girl. She came off as patronizing and condescending towards the young CEO and seemed to think SHE was the star of the show as THE JOURNALIST who gets to interview Zuckerman. And, at the end, she took it SO personally and acted very immturely - she refused to let certain people ask questions because they heckled her ... and made it worse today by telling everyone on twitter to "screw." Mature. I think she's going to need to change industries.
    genjiinu
    • oops, I meant --

      "Zuckerberg".
      genjiinu