Business Insider: Ignition 2011 – Facebook

I had the privilege of attending the Business Insider Ignition 2011 conference this year on November 30th and December 1st.  The topics ranged from Facebook privacy to gaming on the web.  The MC for the event was Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider.  All of the presentations were interesting to say the least and Mr. Blodget was key in navigating us from speaker to speaker as well as valuable in the interview sessions he was a part of.

Right now, I am watching Henry interview Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.  She is explaining how Facebook would like to be the  main social player in the game.  They are interested in becoming THE app that people use on their phones in addition to being on every device we use.  Henry is inquiring on whether or not there is a Facebook Phone in development but she is doing a stellar job of skirting over the issue.  I guess that is something Facebook is not ready to share with us yet :) .  I can see why Sheryl is the COO of Facebook from this interview alone, she represents the company well and is prepared to give out information while keeping certain topics at bay for now.  I think it was funny when Sheryl pointed out that imitation is the highest form of flattery and that Google Plus is a very flattering product.  I think most of us can agree that G+ was invented to try and tap into the existing Facebook market.

Facebook is predicted to become even bigger than Google in the long run.  Brands and businesses have already begun to use Facebook to advertise, offer specials and deals, and even develop apps.  Walmart used Facebook product to build their own app so they can run adds via their customers existing networks.

I think Sheryl made some really great points about women and business as well.  Her explanation of how men tend to lean forward in their careers while some women lean back could be game changing for women.  Men can lean forward because they are geared toward being successful in business while women are given the option.  Successful men become more well liked as they become more successful, while successful women are less liked as they become more successful.  It is sad to know that this is true even today.  Unfortunately, the workload at home for wives and mothers is normally more than the workload at home for husbands and fathers.  Facebook does something very progressive, they offer equal maternity and paternity leave to its employees, which is a great perk to start changing this issue. Until today, I had not realized Facebook was so innovative with its human resource policies.  That actually gave me a new perspective and some new respect for the company as a whole.

According to Sheryl, she shares the responsibilities equally with her husband at home and when it comes to their children.  I think that is the formula to any successful relationship.  Respect, cooperation, and team work.  No one person should be more important or assumed to be the one who will be more successful.

Funny, I thought I was going to a conference about tech but it was so much more.  I’m not surprised, after all, tech is made up of people.  People are more complex than their jobs or their families.  It sounds like Facebook gets that when it comes to their employees and their customers.  Bravo for them.