SXSWi ’08: Zuckerberg Speaks Again, We Make It Personal

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at SXSWi in Austin on Monday, just before we got personal with him.

Developers’ Garage at SXSWi. Doesn’t really suggest much intimacy, does it? That’s what we thought. So when the time came to pose questions to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg yesterday afternoon at Austin club Pangea, we were the ones to veer away from talk of API and other initials of which we’re blissfully unaware and launch Zuckerberg smackdab into the realm of the personal that we hang out within every time we log on to his site.

CarmenMondayII.jpgZuckerberg spoke for 30 minutes taking questions from the 100+ developers enjoying free lunch and cocktails on Facebook. “Yesterday wasn’t enough fun,” he quipped, before getting serious and saying, “The feedback we got yesterday was that we didn’t open it up enough for questions and we wanted to take 20 or 30 minutes today to do that.”

After listening to him take questions predominantly from developers, we decided it was time to shake things up.’s director, education, events and multimedia content Carmen Scheidel took to the mic and asked boy wonder, “Facebook has changed the way people experience personal relationships — how has Facebook affected your personal relationships”?

“Interesting question for a Developers’ Garage,” Zuckerberg laughed nervously. Then an audience member helpfully reminded him that at the beginning of his talk he told the audience it could ask him about anything it wanted. “It’s been fascinating,” Zuckerberg said. “I have a small group of really close friends. Going through the experience of building a company there have been some strains, but it also helped me build close relationships.”

In the balance of the program, Zuckerberg stuck closely to what most of the other audience members wanted to hear about — how Facebook would continue enabling its users to control their data, even as it continued “making data portable between different sites.”

He went on to say that he hoped developers would help the company offer more by way of politics-related applications saying, “We’d like to see more of that going on, and we’d like to have the community build it. I think it’s actually pretty likely that someone else would be able to do a better job with that than us.”

“The quickest growing class of information on the Web is information you don’t want to share with everyone — information you want to share with 100 people or 1,000 people or just five people, like your family,” Zuckerberg said, later adding, “It’s not about how your life fits into Facebook, it’s how Facebook fits into your life.”


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