The All Things Digital Conference, also known as D11, was held at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. One of the speakers was Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of the social networking website Facebook. She is one of the most powerful and influential women in the tech world. It was her first time speaking at All Things Digital since 2006.
In her presentation, Sandberg talked about the underwhelming performance of the Facebook Home software that is designed for use with the Android. She also talked about the fact that the HTC First has not experienced good sales since it was first released. This was the first phone to be manufactured with Facebook Home. Reviews from users have been mostly negative, causing Facebook to rethink their strategy going forward. Sandberg made clear that this is just the first version of Facebook Home. She said more version would be on the way after the kinks have been worked out.
She said that they are looking very closely at all of the feedback they have received regarding Facebook Home. She also said that they are reading every user review of the product. She mentioned the fact that supporters of Facebook Home use Facebook 25 percent more than they did before. However, a major complaint from Facebook Home detractors is that it takes over the phone.
Working with Mark Zuckerberg
Sheryl Sandberg also discussed her working relationship with Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. She said that she was a bit apprehensive about going to work for Zuckerberg in 2008, when Mark was only 23 years old. She joked about the fact that everyone thought she was crazy to go to work for a guy that was so young. In terms of their responsibilities at Facebook, Sandberg said they split everything evenly. Her responsibilities are primarily on the business side of things. Zuckerberg keeps his attention focused on products and design.
The issue of gender in the workplace was also discussed by Sandberg during her D11 speech. She said that in the middle of the 1980s, there was a 35 percent rate of women entering the field of computer science. Now that rate has fallen all the way to 20 percent. Sandberg attributes this in part to the lack of attention that female leadership roles are getting across the board, but especially in the tech world. She encouraged women to go into STEM, which is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Sandberg touched on some of the new technology that debuted at the Google I/O Conference. She discussed Google Glass, which is a computer that is wearable. She said she was able to test it out herself and she liked it, but Facebook was not currently in the process of making any devices that are wearable. However, she made a point of saying that Facebook was still very interested in designing software for Google Glass in the future.
Facebook Acquisitions and Mergers
Regarding some of the recent acquisitions that Facebook has made, Sandberg noted that the decision to buy Instagram was “looking like a very good deal.” She brought up the explosive popularity of Instagram, which took only two years to reach 100 million users. It took Facebook four years to reach the same total. However, she did not confirm if Facebook is thinking about buying the mapping service called Waze.
Guest Post from Ryan Harris. To quote Ryan’s Twitter profile, he likes to “talk tech news and moon landings, but mostly tech news.” Ryan is currently a copywriter with a few websites – including InternetServiceProviders.com – who’s working to expand where his writing can be found. If Twitter isn’t your thing, please feel free to send Ryan an email with your questions.