Protocol - A COO becomes a star

View email in browser | Forward this email

Protocol Source Code

By the Source Code team and
June 5, 2022

Good morning and happy Sunday! Here’s your roundup of the week that was.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Protocol's newsletters.

How Sheryl Sandberg became a brand

It’s unusual for chief operating officers to become not just the public face of the company they lead, but also A Personal Brand. But that’s exactly what Sheryl Sandberg did in her 14 years at Facebook, now Meta.

How Sandberg evolved from a little-known, midlevel exec at Google to the leader of a movement has everything to do with the way Facebook itself was structured when she joined the company in 2008. Mark Zuckerberg was focused on the product, and Sandberg was tasked with everything else.

“He’s a very unusual CEO, and so her ability to do what she has done in branding herself from a COO position is in part also reflective of the unusual nature of that company and the fact that she was almost completely responsible for making it profitable,” Rutgers Business School professor Nancy DiTomaso told me.

Before TikTok there were TED talks, and in 2010 Sandberg went viral with her professional advice for women: Lean in, not back. The talk was a jumping off point for the bestselling “Lean In,” which launched discussion groups around the world. While Sandberg had a platform due to her role at Facebook, her work there wasn’t why people were suddenly paying attention.

“There are very few women who achieve that kind of brand strictly because of their corporate roles,” DiTomaso said. “It’s almost always because they have been responsive to or taken it upon themselves to speak out on issues that go beyond their corporate roles.”

There are also very few chief operating officers who captivate mainstream audiences by virtue of the position. The CEO is the public face of the company, and the COO handles internal operations. Zuckerberg made clear that that’s how his new COO, Javier Olivan, will work.

Other star COOs have been influential within their respective industries. Salesforce’s Bret Taylor catapulted from COO to co-CEO within a few years; taking the stage at Dreamforce with Marc Benioff was a clear sign of his ascent. Tim Cook was Steve Jobs’ behind-the-scenes heir apparent as Apple’s COO, forced into the spotlight as Jobs’ health declined. But few operational execs ever achieve the mainstream name recognition that Sheryl Sandberg gained without also getting the CEO title.

And while “Lean In” was flawed — it’s easier to claim a seat at the table when you’re wealthy and have a supportive partner at home — as were Sandberg’s later years at Meta, which were riddled with scandals, management experts say she deserves credit for shining a light on the challenges women face in the workplace.

“The issues that Sandberg put on the table are extremely important and have had an impact, even if there are limitations to it and even if she hasn’t always made the right decisions in regard to other aspects of her life,” DiTomaso said.

Her legacy is now more complicated, but Sandberg was influential as both a COO and as A Brand. Now it’s time for the next generation of women business leaders to take over. The question for them is whether they can pull a Sandberg and get recognition without the CEO title, or whether they’ll need to forge their own path all the way to the top.

Open URL


For the last 50 years, SAP has worked closely with our customers to solve some of the world’s most intricate problems. We have also seen, and have been a part of, rapid accelerations in technology in response. Across industries, certain paths have emerged to help businesses manage the unexpected challenges over the last few years.

Learn more

​The best of Protocol

Can blockchain help build a non-toxic version of Facebook? — Benjamin Pimentel and Ben Brody

Billionaire mogul Frank McCourt and Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood want to build a decentralized, non-toxic version of Facebook on the blockchain. McCourt and Wood talked with Protocol about what their new approach to social networking would look like, how it could operate and the need for a deeper conversation about the role of technology in society.

6 'nightmare' cloud security flaws were found in Azure in the last year. Does Microsoft have work to do? — Kyle Aspach

Last summer, researchers at cloud security startup Wiz discovered a critical flaw in Microsoft’s Azure. The discovery led to another one. And another one. And another one. It turned out Azure’s vulnerabilities would allow hackers to gain access to thousands of customer environments in one shot. Kyle unpacks how Azure customers should calculate their cloud security risks.

Tech giants made a home in Ghana. Now they’re quiet on its anti-LGBTQ+ bill. — Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu

Tech giants like Twitter and Google have set up shop in recent years in Ghana’s capital, Accra. Now that Ghana is planning to pass legislation that would make it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+ or discuss being a member of the community or an ally on social media, LGBTQ+ advocates are asking those companies to help kill the bill. Kwasi reports on their silence in the face of those calls.

Do businesses really need real-time analytics? Data startups are counting on it. — Kate Kaye

How real time do real-time analytics actually need to be? Data analytics startups like Hazelcast, Rockset and Tecton provide split-second analytics and machine learning to enable financial fraud prevention, dynamic pricing or product recommendations that respond to what users just clicked. But do enterprises actually need that?

Remote work is closing the geographic pay gap — Allison Levitsky

Hiring talent from cheaper cities can still help companies save on payroll, but the geographic wage gap is shrinking. For senior software engineers, the pay gap between the most expensive U.S. cities and the least expensive shrank by two-thirds between 2019 and 2021. Allison explains how the rise of remote work, as well as the growing popularity of geo-neutral pay, are helping close the divide.

NFT lending is becoming a big business, even as prices crash — Tomio Geron

More and more, people are using their Bored Apes as collateral to buy crypto, and large financial institutions are getting involved. Tomio walks through how NFT trading works and what the risks are — both for traders and for the market as a whole.

How Axon's plans for Taser drones blindsided its AI ethics board — Issie Lapowsky

Taser-maker Axon is plowing ahead with plans to develop Taser-equipped drones and pitch them as a solution to school shootings, despite opposition from the company’s AI ethics board. And now some board members think that the very purpose of the board has been put into question.


When companies invest in maintaining their “green ledger” with the same commitment they have to their financial ledgers, they will be able to connect their environmental, social, and financial data holistically so they can steer their business towards sustainability. At the end of the day, what gets measured, gets managed.

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to our tips line, Enjoy your day, see you tomorrow.

How likely are you to recommend Protocol to a colleague?

Copyright © 2022 Protocol Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

To update your preferences and manage newsletter subscriptions, log in here.

Unsubscribe from all Protocol newsletters. This will unsubscribe you from all Protocol newsletters and alerts. Click here to update your preferences instead.


Older messages

Across the universe

Monday, June 6, 2022

Hire from anywhere — latest layoffs — speak up View email in browser | Forward this email By Michelle Ma June 5, 2022 Welcome back to our Workplace newsletter. Today: how to make the most of hiring

The new layoff rules

Monday, June 6, 2022

Hiring freezes — Reddit's future — WWDC View email in browser | Forward this email By Sarah Roach and Nat Rubio-Licht June 6, 2022 PRESENTED BY Good

🤝Teen abortion and more

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Your 07/03/22 update on all things social work ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Little-known trick clears blurry eyesight

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Please Read or Unsubscribe The Conservative News Sponsored content keeps our newsletter free. We do not endorse all advertisers. SPONSORED Your doctor lied to you... You do NOT need new glasses or eye

[ALERT] - Biden Goes Off Script Once Again…

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Here's What Happened Please read orunsubscribe here Conservative News [ALERT] - Biden Goes Off Script Once Again… And Biden Lets Them? Here's What Happened >>> Learn more about

Weekender: Snapchat Officially Launches its New 'Snapchat+' Subscription Program

Saturday, July 2, 2022

July​ 2,​ 2022 Sign up | Forward PLANOLY BROUGHT TO YOU BY — PLANOLY Ultimate Social Video Content Guide Learn the ins and outs of the most popular video platforms and how to create high-performing

Crypto Billionaire's Dire Warning | Web3 Enthusiasm Abounds At MIT Summit

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Also: How Crypto Liquidations Could Make You Pay Twice Also: How Crypto Liquidations Could Make You Pay Twice View in browser GRAYSCALE GOES TO COURT Grayscale Investments launched a lawsuit against

Elon Musk’s SpaceX gets key FCC approval for Starlink satellite internet service

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Startup aims to keep food fresh at freezing temperatures ADVERTISEMENT GeekWire SPONSOR MESSAGE: AWS re:Inforce | July 26-27, 2022: Build your cloud security skills with bootcamps, security jams, &

Divide Ourselves

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Do you need to construct a simplified parallel reality alongside your unbearably ineffable one? Divide Ourselves By Sylvia Bishop – 02 Jul 2022 – View online → The Continental/Analytic Divide Eric

YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Anti-Establishment Candidates Score At The Ballot Box

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Also: Teamsters win against the Ivy League, Fetterman and Bernie take on Mayor Pete, and building schools helps poor kids. YOU LOVE TO SEE IT: Anti-Establishment Candidates Score At The Ballot Box By


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Columns and commentary on news, politics, business, and technology from the Intelligencer team. Intelligencer Weekend Reader Required Reading for Political Compulsives 1. Democrats Must Reform the

Weekend Briefing No. 438

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Extreme Poverty -- Invisible Cage -- Quality Doesn't Have to Be Expensive -- Scale, Speed, Freedom -- Cement From Algae -- Diamond Hands -- Sleep Debt ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌