Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Does Mark Zuckerberg Need Adult Supervision Like Sergey and Larry?

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 4, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is just 26 and has done very well but his young age does often show itself in various ways. He's put his foot in his mouth several times over privacy and has had mixed reviews on his performance in high profile interviews.

Here is Chris Pirillo:

Things didn't go well for Mark Zuckerberg when he appeared on the D8 stage two days ago. From all angles, he appeared to be fumbling his way through the answers he was giving. He broke out into a cold sweat and had to remove his trademark hoodie. Bloggers around the globe took stabs at Zuck and his team based on his performance.

Today, I have seen several posts where people are beginning to wonder whether or not Zuckerberg should continue in his current role with the company he founded as a college student. Likely the most prolific comes from Shel Israel.

Does Mr Zuckerberg need "adult supervision?"

Google's founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page were at about that same age when Google's investors, John Doerr and Michael Moritz decided that they needed adult supervision. Eric Schmidt was brought in as co-CEO in 2001.

Every day brings Facebook closer to its eventual IPO. Its top investors might be wondering if Mr Zuckerberg needs someone to be his Eric Schmidt. Mr Schmidt did a great job in preparing Google for a stellar IPO.

And adult supervision isn't such a bad thing, Messrs Brin and Page still have theirs and they are now 36 years old.

Who would make a good Eric Schmidt to Mark Zuckerberg?

How about Scott McNealy the former head of Sun Microsystems?

I saw him recently at Verisign's celebration of 25 years of making loads of money from its dotcom registry services, in San Francisco's city hall. He's out of work following the Oracle acquisition so he has the time. He seemed a bit bored and listless but a new challenge might perk him up.

Mr McNealy isn't the most tactful person and he never outgrew his fratboy sensibilities -- he'd probably get along really well with Mr Zuckerberg.

He could become the lightning rod for Facebook in a similar way that Mr Schmidt is for Google. And he knows how to run a very large publicly traded company. They would be a great match, imho.

(Mr Schmidt is also from Sun.)


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