The rear garden at Michael’s seemed a fitting location to toast David Kirkpatrick’s new book The Facebook Effect on Monday. After all, the midtown restaurant is favored by the media elites, and a center of networking in all its forms.
“This is a perfect time for the launch of David’s book,” said host Miles Nadal, Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners. “Few people know the real story behind this phenomenon.”
And Mr. Kirkpatrick is certainly the right person to ask. Having spent almost two years with wunderkind Mark Zuckerberg and his executives, there was little Mr. Kirkpatrick could not answer as he fielded questions from the 150-person audience. Or would not.
One guest asked: “Is Zuckerberg realizing that he’s in over his head? Is he burning out?”
“Lately he’s shown signs of a little bit of choking,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said, adding that the problem could fixed with the addition of a seasoned businessman, as was the case with Google. “If he thought he could find his Eric Schmidt, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went that route.”
Another asked: “Who has Mark’s ear?”
His board, Mr. Kirkpatrick said, though there is word Mr. Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs have formed an unlikely relationship.
The Facebook Effect is Mr. Kirkpatrick’s first book, though the veteran reporter has written on titans of technology for Fortune magazine over the past two decades. The book is a far cry from 2009′s tawdry “The Accidental Billionaires,” which told the story of a Facebook founded by horny man-children. In contrast with that book, Mr. Kirkpatrick had Mr. Zuckerberg’s consent, as well as unprecedented access.
“In some ways I consider him a friend. I didn’t let that color my work, because this really is a piece of journalism. But I bonded with him. I understand the way he thinks,” Mr. Kirkpatrick said. “When a company is comprised of 25-year-olds, they don’t know what not to tell you.”