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.