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Sandberg Hopes To Repeat Google Feat

  • Fortune, Monday, April 14, 2008 11:15 AM
Fortune's Jessi Hempel underlines the main problem facing former Google exec Sheryl Sandberg as she assumes the role of Facebook COO: "Even though Facebook is seen as the embodiment of Web 2.0, it has the quintessential Web 1.0 problem: No one has figured out how to make real money off it." That's a big, big problem for a company with a $15 billion valuation, and one heck of a task to be charged with, but if there's one thing that's Sandberg specialty, it's scaling a business. As vice president of global online sales and operations at Google, she managed the company's tremendous international growth, in addition to running (and scaling) the AdWords sales department.

"I don't think there is a business in the world that was getting users at that pace," said Adam Freed, whom Sandberg hired to launch AdWords internationally. Freed recalls that she was creating divisions and hiring people to manage them at a torrid pace, at a time when Google had just 300 employees. "We were a 10-person team and we were thinking, 'Why are you going to hire that?' And she said, 'Trust me, you need to think not about now, but where are we going to be in five steps and ten steps?' "

Indeed, Sandberg nurtured Google as it grew up, and she's been brought into Facebook to do the same thing. "This feels like Google when I started," she said. "It feels like a great thing that is starting to happen but really at the very, very beginning."

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