Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In—a kind of workplace feminism manifesto—has inspired a range of reactions from critics. Some were positive; some less so. But none was as negative as the response Sandberg spokeswoman and former Facebook flack Brandee Barker had for Katherine Losse, an erstwhile Zuckerberg speechwriter whose rigorously critical take on Sandberg's book was published in Dissent this week:
BoomTown's Kara Swisher went to Palo Alto’s MacArthur Park restaurant for a luncheon hosted by Germany’s Hubert Burda Media yesterday, the organizers of the DLD conference. A target of her shaky videocam work: Facebook flack Brandee Barker, who hid behind a fern. Asked if Microsoft was buying Facebook, Barker shouted, "Never!" Brave words, if not exactly consistent with Facebook's fiduciary duties to shareholders to consider all reasonable offers. Besides Barker, Swisher captured Silicon Valley figures like nerd chanteuse Randi Zuckerberg; Wired writer Steven Levy, fresh from his fly-on-the-wall writeup of the making of Google's Chrome browser; and layoff-happy Loic Le Meur. The crowd is shown descending into a happy drunkenness, giggling about Wall Street all the way down. After the jump, the full clip and a guide to the best moments:Click to view
Maybe Facebook's hackathon wasn't an all-nighter like founder Mark Zuckerberg prefers, but that didn't stop Facebook hotties Brandee Barker, Caitlin O'Farrell, Kathleen Loughlin and Raquel DiSabatino from enjoying themselves on stage with Thievery Corporation. Apparently, the crowd enjoyed them on stage too. "So awesome," commented Facebook's Dave Morin, despite being very taken by Google's Brittany Bohnet. Here's what we want to know about the video: Where's Sheryl Sandberg? What, mama don't dance no more? We hear her team insisted she wear jeans to the event, a fashion move the buttoned-up Sandberg almost never makes. But dancing must have been a step too far.
If you were over 30 years old when you signed up for Facebook, you never got the option to look for "Random Play" — that's what the "kids" are calling it now. Sheryl Sandberg's new No Fun regime at Facebook has taken it a step further: They've removed the Random Play option from some people, including me, who'd already checked it. Now all users' inner sluts have been caged, at least as far as the interface is concerned.
FERRY BUILDING, SAN FRANCISCO — Let's be clear: Local PR firm OutCast's CEO Dinner event Thursday night wasn't really a dinner — most people ate standing up. Nor were there many CEOs. (I counted one: Jim Louderback of Revision3.) It's a far cry from years past where the decimated post-bubble survivors of San Francisco's tech press corps would gather in a room and listen to OutCast clients like Gordon Eubanks of Oblix, a salty former submarine officer, utter zingers about the wonders of Viagra. OutCast is a sizable firm now, and it's got big clients like Facebook and Yahoo. But Mark Zuckerberg? Jerry Yang? Nowhere to be seen. Instead, you had a hall full of hacks and flacks. I wonder how many of them shook videoblogger Robert Scoble's hand? Photo gallery after the jump:
A tough message to deliver: "Mr. Zuckerberg is also seeking to hire ... a vice president of communications and public policy, says Facebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker." Barker's title? Director, a level below VP. Mark Zuckerberg isn't just hiring someone over Barker's head; he sent her to relay the news to the Wall Street Journal. The position's so new that it's not yet listed on Facebook's website. Is this how Zuck told his spokeswoman she wasn't getting the VP job? Harsh, dude. (Photo by Brandee Barker)
Before Fortune magazine's little dustup about Facebook's controversial new advertising products, Andy Serwer's court jester, David Kirkpatrick, produced a hardly hard-hitting video on the subject. Just how much of a puff piece was this? Fortune managed to dig up some intercutting shots of a very enthusiastic Facebook user. Recognize her?
I remember, distinctly, when former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner's love affair with Facebook began this spring. He couldn't stop talking about it, and I could hardly avoid hearing about it, since my office was next door to his. With all the zeal of a late convert, Quittner evangelized Facebook for most of this year — and now, feeling betrayed by Facebook's Beacon ads, he has attacked them with all the betrayed fury of a new apostate. Facebook is dead — to him, at any rate. Quittner's fickle rage perfectly captures the Silicon Valley hype cycle, and the press's complicity in it. Having built up Facebook, Quittner and his fellow reporters must, inevitably tear it down. But in this latest episode, it's Facebook's critics, not Facebook, who have jumped the shark.
Oh, Facebook has a deal to announce? Really? Don't rely on rumors. For confirmation of Facebook's as-yet unannounced deal with Microsoft, look no further than ... Facebook. Brandee Barker, the charmingly indiscreet head of Facebook PR, has just added Adam Sohn, who heads up global sales and marketing PR at Microsoft, as a friend. Just buddies? I think not. But I'm sure writing up the press release announcing Microsoft's investment and ad deal will make them fast friends, indeed.
OutCast PR held an AfterHours party at Frisson, the restaurant co-owned by Facebook board member Peter Thiel. So cozy, since Facebook is OutCast's biggest new client! The place was overrun with hacks and flacks. No surprise, since OutCast wants to show off its chummy press relationships, and other flacks are drawn to journalists like moths to flames. And, of course, OutCast wanted to keep things well-staffed to watch over reporters chatting up executives from Facebook and Yahoo, another big OutCast client. No need, it turned out.