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Fellow CEOs have advice for Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in front of a Facebook page of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan during their meeting at the latter's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, March 29, 2012. Zuckerberg said Japan's tsunami has inspired him to seek more ways for his ubiquitous social media platform to help people hit by natural disasters. Zuckerberg told Noda that he believes Facebook can be used to keep people in disasters in touch with each other and provide crucial information in a time of crisis. (AP Photo/Yuriko Nakao, Pool)
May 16, 2012 10:38:28 AM PDT
Facebook's IPO is less than three days away. On Friday, Mark Zuckerberg will become Silicon Valley's newest CEO of a public company and fellow CEOs have some advice for him on how to succeed.

A lot of things will change for Mark Zuckerberg on Friday. He'll be hugely rich, of course, but he will also have to start listening to shareholders and continue leading a company of high expectations. He's getting plenty of advice.

"I'd say he probably isn't a natural-born leader, but leadership is something a lot of people learn over time," Andi Gutmans says. He was 34 when he became a CEO at Zend Technologies, a Cupertino company whose programming code Facebook uses. Larry Lang was 46 when he became CEO at Quorum Labs in Fremont, a company with systems to back up servers. They urge Silicon Valley's newest CEO of a public company to take stock of his strengths and weaknesses.

"If he's wise, what he'll look for is trusted friends, confidants, who can point out the weaknesses. Some of the coworkers that I've valued the most over the years are people who aren't afraid of whatever fancy title I've had, who aren't afraid to take me aside and tell me when I'm being a little but stupid. You need that," Lang says.

"My name is Barack Obama and I'm the guy who got Mark to wear a jacket and tie," Obama said in April of 2011. Zuckerberg gave up his hoodie for the president, but is it time to retire it? "The older he gets and the more he matures, his dress code will probably change over time," Gutmans says.

The hoodie could be a non-issue if he focuses on growing Facebook and continuing to innovate. "If he does results really well, they're going to think that hoodie is fantastic. I think if he does that, he'll be considered fantastic and if he doesn't, people will focus on his every little misstep publicly. It'll be hard for him. He's very shy," says Kara Swisher of AllThingsD.com.

CEOs also have advice for Zuckerberg on how to manage the stress that comes with the job. "You do have a harder time sleeping. You need to work out a bit more, and so and so. It's a bit of a catch 22. You don't have enough time to work out, but you really should be working out more," Gutmans said.

Zuckerberg has also been getting advised that the company needs to add a female to its all-male board of directors. Reports say the company is indeed looking for possible candidates and developing a list now.


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