Social Media Summit When Obama Hit Silicon Valley To Poke Zuckerberg
This year has been a momentous one for the Facebook founder. Having been portrayed in an award-winning movie, satirized in a graphic novel and on SNL, in addition to being named Time's Person of the Year, he's entered a stratosphere most CEOs twice his age haven't been able to achieve. So it's no surprise, that President Obama might want to consider sitting down with the wunderkind to discuss tech innovation and potential job creation.
On February 17, Obama is slated to break bread with Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Google's Eric Schmidt at a private dinner during his overnight trip to the West Coast. From a Mashable report, it appears that there will be no public appearances included for Obama during this trip.
According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “The focus of the discussion is innovation and job creation, and these are representatives of businesses… who know a lot about private sector job growth.”
Social media has played a major role in Obama's political life - some say, it's what got him elected (see "King Maker & Social Networking Made Obama A Rock Star?') Be interesting to be a fly on the wall to actually listen to this dinner conversation. With Zuckerberg half the age of almost everyone else at the table, will he be able to go to toe with the big guys? One player conspicuously absent from this Summit and one of Zuckerberg's idols is Bill Gates.
In the satirical graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," Zuckerberg (aka Z-Man) is treated as somewhat of an outcast when he tries to get in on a poker game headed up by Bill Gates, Sergy Brin, Larry Page, and Steve Jobs. Rebuffed, he proceeds to check out a group
Rebuffed, he proceeds to check out a group of young entrepreneurs making their mark in social media circles today - who according to the fictional tale are the first to tip him off about how to transform his negative image in the press.
According to the official White House itinerary for February 17, Obama is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco at 5:45 PM PST / 8:45 PM ET before meeting with Zuckerberg and the business leaders at 6:45 PM PST.
Some interesting shake-ups have occurred for two of Obama's dinner partners in recent weeks. On January 17 Jobs turned over the helm to chief operating officer Timothy Cook, but kept his chief executive title and said at the time he would still participate in "major strategic decisions" at Apple. And last month Brin displaced Eric Schmidt in his role as CEO at Google, only to take on the role himself (See more at "Eric Be Nimble, Eric Be Quick, See Google's Founders Jump Over Eric's Schtick!")
Facebook has been praised by President Obama from time to time. In his recent State of the Union address, Obama hailed the social network site as an example of a successful American concept and business. "We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook," Obama said. "In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It's how we make a living."
In "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks," Zuckerberg is seen as becoming more powerful than the country he hails from. But I doubt that will become a topic of dinner conversation. Your thoughts, readers - what do you think will be discussed at the Social Media Summit of 2011?
UPDATE: February 18 - San Francisco Chronicle - Obama and ten technological leaders of the Internet talked about ways to invest in innovation and how to increase jobs in the private sector. The president also discussed proposals to invest in research and development and his goal of doubling exports in five years.
Since the meeting was held at the private residence of John Doerr who heads up the angel investment firm of Kleiner Perkins and was the largest donor in the group to the Democratic party, it was speculated that Obama's visit could have been motivated also to secure donations for his 2012 campaign. Here is a chart of all present at the dinner and how much they have contributed to the Democrats. Note, how Zuckerberg to date has not contributed to either party.
Update: February 18 - Huffington Post - A photo of the dinner offers a glimpse into the seating arrangement for the evening, as well as of Jobs, who is currently on medical leave. Notably, Jobs and Zuckerberg were seated directly to Obama's left and right, respectively. Jobs donned his trademark black turtleneck, while others in attendance opted for suits and ties (any one getting a Last Supper vibe here?)