Facebook Reportedly Courting Obama Former Aide

Robert Gibbs, former press secretary to Barack Obama, has reportedly been talking to Facebook about joining the company.

Facebook has reportedly been courting Robert Gibbs, former press secretary to Barack Obama, about a possible job with the social network.

Assuming Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times unnamed sources are correct, the talks are in preliminary stages. Gibbs left the White House in February after holding the job for two months. Certainly, for Gibbs to even consider such a position makes a strong statement about Facebook’s attractiveness as an employer.

However, we think Sorkin’s mistaken in presuming that a 2012 initial public offering influences the hiring decision on either side of the equation — because it contradicts not only what company executives have repeatedly said about not going public but also what Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has written on his own profile on the social network, while using the Questions application:

We aren’t planning to go public anytime soon. As a company, I think we look at going public differently than many other companies do. For a lot of companies, going public is the end goal and they shoot for and optimize around it. For us, going public isn’t a goal in itself; it’s just something we’ll do when it makes sense for us. Since we compensate people at Facebook with stock and we took investment, I view it as my responsibility to eventually make that stock liquid for people, but that doesn’t have to happen in the short term and our primary responsibility is still just to make sure Facebook develops to its full potential.

I tend to think that being private is better for us right now because of some of the big risks we want to take in developing new products. For example, products like News Feed, Platform, Connect and so on were all fairly controversial early on but have proven to be valuable services. The experience of managing the company through launching controversial services is tricky, but I can only imagine it would be even more difficult if we had a public stock price bouncing around. There are a lot more new things left to build like the examples I mentioned above, and I’d rather focus on building them than on going public right now.

Readers, what do you think about Facebook possibly hiring the former White House press secretary?