If you’re looking for a dose of sugar this morning, check out Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s interview on 60 minutes.
The story itself doesn’t cover a lot of new ground, except for a brief discussion of a revamped profile page, formally announced on Sunday night. Interviewer Lesley Stahl covers company culture, the site’s growth and aspirations, privacy concerns, past lawsuits and the biopic The Social Network.
More interesting than those topics — at least for people who’ve been keeping an eye on Facebook — is Zuckerberg’s demeanor. This is a chief executive who knows that as Facebook grows, he’s going to get a lot more scrutiny outside of the tech bubble. It behooves Zuckerberg to be charismatic, and so the interview is full of laughs, smiles, and giggles, both from Stahl and Zuckerberg.
As Mike Isaac observes at Forbes, “The so-called ‘toddler CEO’ is growing up.” Even Stahl notes that Zuckerberg is more confident and quicker to smile.
This is important if Zuckerberg intends to sell his vision of a Facebook that stretches to every corner of the Web, from local information and news articles to games and e-mail. When you’re pitching the idea of making every interaction on the Internet more social, it pays to be an extrovert. The portrayal of Zuckerberg in The Social Network as a cold and calculated entrepreneur probably didn’t help, and Zuckerberg was obviously trying to distance himself from Hollywood’s version.
That’s not to say Zuckerberg let his guard down. He avoided saying outright that Facebook wants to, in Stahl’s words, “own the Internet.” Instead, he noted that more companies will want to make their products social, and said, “The answer is we want to help other people build a lot of these products.” In other words, the answer is yes.