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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg: Steve Jobs advised me on 'sharpening up'

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By Noel Young | Correspondent

November 8, 2011 | 4 min read

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was advised by Apple's Steve Jobs on how to sharpen his company’s focus and build the right management team for the world’s largest social network.

Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg revealed the advice to top TV interviewer Charlie Rose in a broadcast yesterday. He said he "had a lot of questions" for Jobs. Topics included “how to build a team around you that’s focused on building as high quality" as Apple.

Also yesterday, Harvard dropout Zuckerberg made his first official return to the university since leaving in 2004. “This is a great time to come,” said Zuckerberg, who was on a recruiting mission to Massachusetts. He met 200 students drawn by lottery in a session closed to the press. “There’s a lot of really smart people here, and a lot of them are making decisions on where they’re going to work in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

Steve Jobs, who died on Oct. 5, thought it was his responsibility to give advice to up-and-coming technology executives including Zuckerberg, according to a biography of Jobs published last month. Jobs told the author, Walter Isaacson, that he admired the Facebook CEO for not “selling out.”

Zuckerberg, 27 - now No. 14 on Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans - had sought Jobs's advice as he coped with fast growth and rivals such as Google. Facebook now has 800 million users.

Zuckerberg told Charlie Rose that he and Jobs also talked about “the aesthetics and kind of mission orientation of companies.”

Jobs did NOT propose that Apple buy Facebook, said Zuckerberg .

Groupon going public last week did not affect the timing of a potential Facebook IPO, he added. A possible IPO isn’t “something I spend a lot of time on a day- to-day basis thinking about,”

He went on, “We’ve made this implicit promise to our investors and to our employees that by compensating them with equity and by giving them equity, that at some point we’re going to make that equity worth something publicly and liquidly..

“Now, the promise isn’t that we’re going to do it on any kind of short-term time horizon. The promise is that we’re going to build this company so that it’s great over the long term, right. And that we’re always making these decisions for the long term, but at some point we’ll do that.”

As for China, Facebook isn’t aimlng at going there right away, either. With the site blocked, said Zuckerberg, there’s no “path” to making the service available in China.

Still, he said, “At some point I think there would be some discussion around what it would take to go there. Then we’d at that point have to figure out whether we were willing to do that.”

Large technology companies such as Facebook, Apple and Amazon can work together,he said, even if there is some competition.

As for Google,which launched rival social network Google+ earlier this year, Zuckerberg said,

“Google, I think, in some ways, is more competitive and certainly is trying to build their own little version of Facebook,” he said.

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