The Digital CEO – leading in the age of Facebook 

My next guest is the former Facebook CEO for Australia and New Zealand, Stephen Scheeler. A role which saw him play an integral role in the company’s unprecedented rise from quirky Silicon Valley startup to media and technology titan.

During his time here he co-collaborated with the greatest minds in tech and business, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg and other luminaries of the silicon sphere.


Today he’s the founder of The Digital CEO, Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Company and he continues to share his wisdom with the leaders of heavy hitters such as Qantas, Google and the Australian Government.

As part of this podcast, and those who have listened before will know this, we take a look at all angles of what it takes to be an influencer in your space, in the hopes that, whether you are wanting to command more respect in a boardroom, or generate attention and engagement with a cause you care about, we can give you the tools and insights needed to be the authority.


In a business context there’s no better example of a person of influence than a CEO, and at the top of the top of influential CEOs there are the rare few who can say that they have played a part in guiding a business from little known start up, to a global phenomenon.


Which is why, when you have the opportunity to meet one of these individuals, the unicorns of the CEO space, you grab them with both hands and make them tell you their story.


I think all of us, whether you are in the media industry, or not, can appreciate that we are navigating business in a time of relentless change and unequivocal speed.


To put the pace of change we face here today into perspective, it took 40 years for 50 mil radios to be bought, 14 years for 50 mil TVs to be sold and only 1 year for 50 million Facebook accounts to be created.


And if you think that’s where the craziness of these stats stop, you’re wrong, because it took only 4 months for 50 million Wechat accounts to be set up.


So what can we, as business leaders, do to navigate through this change? And better yet, what can we do to shape it?


One of the most fascinating parts of my discussion with Stephen is when we discuss the rise of Facebook, not as a social channel, but as the leading source of news on a global level.


He shares a story, which I won’t spoil, but he shares a story about how a media mogul of the old world press asked for his insight into how on earth Facebook was able to seemingly come out of nowhere to be his biggest competitor.


The punchline of that story will floor you, and perhaps give you an insight into how disruption really is the result of industries taking their own power and scale for granted.


If I was to sum up the value on this discussion it lies in that one story, how, as the leader of a business can you make sure that you aren’t just reacting to the rapidly changing world around us, but how can you get out in front and lead it?

Because by the time you realise disruption is coming, it’s already too late.

Other things we discuss, we talk about:

–          Fake news – how can we navigate a world of click bait to create businesses able to inspire trust

–          Curiosity – how the key to navigating disruption lies in asking questions

–          The new ways of telling stories that cut through in a world of earned attention

–          The balance between high tech and high touch in navigating automation and AI


There’s a saying that the ability to learn from someones entire lifetime of experience lies in a cup of coffee, well in this case it’s a podcast and it was an absolute privilege to extract learnings from a CEO who has truly walked his talk and led on the cutting edge!


Please enjoy my chat with the digital CEO himself, Stephen Scheeler

Listen to this Inside Influence Podcast Episode

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