Dressed in a long white jumper over pale blue jeans, with her black hair blow-dried into a shiny shell, Sheryl Sandberg looks — as ever — supernaturally composed. She bounds up to hug me then takes the chair next to me at the corner of our table. “Check this out. Do you see this?” she says, studying the menu without pausing for small talk.
Facebook’s chief operating officer is famous for being more open than most executives: about crying in the bathroom at work, or how, as a recent widow, she slept in the same bed as her mother. This is fitting for a company that has redefined the word “sharing”. As we settle into our lunch, however, it is clear openness does not exactly mean spontaneity. Sandberg has to be one of the most on-message executives. Talking about business, she uses such a set phraseology I can almost recite her lines for her. New products are not only in “early days” but being introduced in a “privacy-protected way”. When, at one point, I ask her how she could best describe what it is like to suddenly be a single parent, she confesses it is “lonely, scary sometimes”, then briskly broadens her point to include the plight of poorer single mothers across the US — with statistics.
I interviewed Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg for the FT's most famous interview slot, the Lunch with the FT. I asked her about Facebook's growing power in the world, her grief at losing her husband and her dating advice for young, ambitious women. Read more here.