The 3,000 or so people who packed into the ballroom of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco this afternoon to hear Mark Zuckerberg at the start of the Web 2.0 Summit (see note below) were treated to a vintage performance from the Facebook founder. And I chose that word carefully: he may be just 23, but Zuckerberg has already mastered the art, vital for the CEO of any company that has whipped up such a firestorm of interest, of saying precisely nothing.
The nothings about which Zuckerberg’s silence spoke volumes included whether he is going to sell an investment stake to Microsoft and whether he is going to build an advertising system to rival Google’s AdWords/ AdSense. The one telling moment came at the end, when Zuck was asked whether it wasn’t time for Facebook to hire a little "adult supervision" in the shape of a more experienced CEO. The young internet tycoon visibly bristled. It was as though someone had asked the young Bill Gates (and fellow Harvard drop-out) the same question in the early days of Microsoft. Clearly, unless things start to go badly wrong, Zuckerberg is going to see this through to the end.