Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman took the stage to discuss Facebook’s advertising business at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco on Monday night.
There was a funny moment between them that perfectly encapsulated the power struggle that every exec has with the the purse-string holder. Ebersman was being asked by the Goldman Sachs interviewer about how he decides to pay for Facebook’s new projects because that stuff “costs money.”
Sandberg interrupted, saying, “David never asks us about that. He’s always like ‘No.'”
The audience laughed and the question was posed again. Ebersman said with a smile, “I have to digest Sheryl’s insult first.”
Later in the conversation, Sandberg, clearly trying to make it up to Ebersman, told another story, and he was able to slam her back:
I remember when David joined four and half years ago and he wanted to do a three-year budget. We looked at him like he was insane. I’ll be glad if I could predict three weeks. … But he got me there by saying ‘We’re going to do it as hackathon project.’ We have these hackathons where people stay up all night.
It’s the first and only one I’ve ever done in my six years at Facebook.
I went home at like 10:30, which was late for me. By morning we actually had a draft of something that became a really rigorous three-year budget.
To which Ebersman responded: “I’m tempted not to mention that the hackathon started at 9.”
In other words, Sandberg skipped out pretty quickly, which defeats the purpose of a hackathon.
“I still had to stay up past my bedtime, but it’s true I only stayed for an hour-and-a-half. I gave great insight in that hour-and-a-half,” she joked.