Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down as COO of Facebook. However, her positive impact on Facebook and social media in general cannot be underestimated.
When Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008, Mark Zuckerberg, its CEO and founder, was only twenty three years old and a few years out of college. He knew little about running a company.
With Zuckerberg, Sandberg helped grow Facebook’s revenue from roughly $150 million in 2007 to more than $3.7 billion in 2011, the year before it went public and $118 billion in 2021.
When Sandberg joined Facebook, the social media platform had 100 million users. Today, Facebook has over 3 billion users around the world.
Facebook has become the town square for public engagement and the meeting place for personal discussion and support. It’s algorithms lead to the personal discovery of information and people, never before possible.
As CNN reports, Sandberg gained greater prominence as one of the most influential women in tech. That reputation was enhanced by her work launching the Lean In movement, offering a plan for how women can succeed and achieve their goals.
Sandberg should be lauded for doing a great deal of her work while grieving the sudden loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg, the father to her two children.
Sandberg was already a high-profile figure in tech before joining Facebook, serving as Google’s vice president of global online sales and operations. And before that, holding senior roles at the World Bank and the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton.
It was this experience that earned her the reputation of providing the adult supervision at Facebook.
Sandberg wrote in a post on Facebook, yesterday,
“The debate around social media has changed beyond recognition since those early days. To say it hasn’t always been easy is an understatement, but it should be hard. The products we make have a huge impact, so we have the responsibility to build them in a way that protects privacy and keeps people safe.”
I’m a big fan of Sandberg and Facebook, and what each has accomplished in making the world a better place.