Oprah Talks to Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl: Oprah, this is Jesse.
Oprah: Hi, Jesse!
JESSE: Sheryl comes here a lot—she loves these biscuits.
Sheryl: I swear by the biscuits.
Oprah: You can't not have a biscuit when it's warm. [Takes one.] Mmmm, that's a good biscuit.
Sheryl: That's good, huh?
Oprah: So we're here in your neighborhood.
Sheryl: I live around the corner.
Oprah: And you came here for your very first meeting—or should we call it date—with Mark Zuckerberg.
Sheryl: It was date-like in the sense that I was nervous.
Oprah: It obviously went well.
Sheryl: We actually stayed so late the restaurant closed.
Oprah: That's a good date.
Sheryl: It was 10 at night, way past my bedtime. But he clearly wanted to keep talking, and he was Mark Zuckerberg. So I said, "Well, do you want to come over?" And then at midnight I had to say—
Oprah: "Time to go! My husband says, Get out!"
Sheryl: I have kids. My kids were getting up in five hours!
Oprah: So was it really like a courtship, trying to figure out whether this would work? Or did you know after that first dinner?
Sheryl: I knew immediately how warm he was, and how much he cared about Facebook. But getting to know each other was definitely a process. We spent so much time talking about the mission of Facebook, what he wanted to accomplish.
Oprah: Were you a big Facebook user then?
Sheryl: I was a Facebook user. I don't know if I was the biggest Facebook user. But it had put me in contact with people I'd lost touch with. So I understood Facebook and thought it had amazing power to change the world.
Oprah: You've been credited with turning the site into a "real business." What was your vision during that early phase?
Sheryl: I think the vision was the same one Mark has had since the beginning—to connect the whole world. Now we just have more employees to help us do it.
Oprah: When you first started, did you feel a lot of pressure?
Sheryl: Oh, yeah, I felt a lot of pressure. I wasn't sure I could do it. And I think that is something so many women feel. Men as well, but women particularly. One of the first things Mark and I focused on was, how do we make money in a way that's good for our users? I also worried, would we get along? We needed to trust each other.
Sheryl: When I was interviewing with him, we were supposed to talk one night at 9, but when I called, he was at a dinner, so he said, "I'll call you later." I said, "Well, I'm going to go to sleep in about 30 minutes, so if you're still out, we'll talk tomorrow." He called the next day and said, "Are you okay? Were you sick?" And I said, "No, I'm a mother—I go to bed at 9:30!" So I definitely had this fear that I was going to be too old for Facebook, that I wouldn't understand what he was doing. It was scary.
Next: How she handled the public backlash