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Facebook IPO Begins Trading Today; Google Developing "Hands Free" Car; Syria's Largest City Sees Biggest Protest Since Unrest Began; A Run On Spanish Banks As Investors Worry Over Country's/Europe's Future

Aired May 18, 2012 - 08:00:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet. And we begin with what will be the biggest technology IPO of all-time as Facebook goes public today.

But while investors hit for Facebook, the situation in Greece weighs on global markets.

One of the world's best footballers talks to CNN ahead of the Champion's League final.

Now in just a few hours shares of Facebook will begin trading for the first time. They'll start at $38 each, valuing the Social Network at over $100 billion. And showing how far the site has come since it was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room back at Harvard.

So what's so special about Facebook? Now we know Facebook as the social network and taken purely as a social network the numbers are incredible, over 900 million users, 300 million photos uploaded every day. But Facebook's ambition spreads beyond being a place for pictures of your friends. Facebook wants to be your interface to the rest of the internet, your portal to the web at large.

Now the best way to illustrate this is to look at Facebook's competition with Google. According to Alexa, they are the two most visited sites on the internet. Now Google made its name and money by bringing you the most precise search engine in the world. And Google knows what you want. But Facebook knows what you and your friends like.

Now to give you a simple example here, let's say you want to by a phone. Now Google can tell you want the web's top experts think is the best phone in the world whereas Facebook can tell you what your friends like and which phone that they would prefer. So which would you trust more, an expert or your friend? Facebook is betting that you'll trust your friends. And it looks like Google is starting to agree.

Now how do we know? Well, because Google is incorporating its own social network, Google+, into its search results.

Now Facebook executives ring the NASDAQ opening bell remotely from the company's headquarters in California. Dan Simon is standing by live in Menlo Park. Very early in the morning there. And Dan I understand a number of Facebook employees. They've been up all night in this hackathon. What's the scene, what's the buzz there?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's five in the morning here in Menlo Park, California. And I can tell you that we are wide awake, the people in these buildings behind us they are wide awake, and they're more likely to be drinking Red Bull right now than champagne. As you said they're having a hackathon. This is something that Facebook does regularly, but they are doing it right before these shares start trading publicly. And it's to send a message to the world that they are all about building the product, about making refinements, building new features into the site and so that's what this hackathon is all about.

If people, when they're doing this project, feel like they have something that can actually go onto Facebook that can be their full-time job. And so that's what this is all about with the hackathon.

In terms of the $104 billion valuation, the question everyone here in Silicon Valley is asking, is it worth it? And we consulted many people on this subject including David Kirkpatrick who is the author of The Facebook Effect. Take a look.


DAVID KIRKPATRICK, AUTHOR: There's no way mathematically that you can actually say, yes, it's worth 25 times revenues. I don't believe that. But I don't think you can argue that it isn't worth it either, because you know this is a company that sort of transcends the traditional metrics.


SIMON: For it to sustain the valuation they had to keep growing their advertising revenue and something that they also have to do is keep getting more users. But that's difficult, because some people just don't want to go on to Facebook and at a certain point do they reach a saturation point. Can they keep attracting more users?

Take a listen.


GREG GRETSCH, SIGMA MANAGING DIRECTOR: Obviously at some point they can't. I mean, how many people are there in the world, 7 or 8 billion. Some percentage of those people are not connected. You know, some countries are locking out Facebook. So you have to look at the number of people who are signed up to Facebook and say they're getting close to the maximum number.


SIMON: So if there are no more users to be found, then it becomes getting more revenue through advertising and that is going to be a huge challenge for Facebook in the years to come, particularly in the area of mobile. Right now they have no advertising on mobile devices and so that's going to be the focus, it has to be the focus for them to continue growing and to prove that they are worth $104 billion -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, I mean just so many challenges ahead. You said mobile advertising, justifying its valuation and finding new users. Will Facebook also be able to keep user experience its number one priority when it becomes a public company?

SIMON: You know, it has to. And that's part of what this hackathon is all about. They don't want to be influenced by the money, per se.

The biggest challenge going forward, you might argue, is that if they have to worry about quarterly earnings reports is that going to take their eye off the ball? And that's going to be a challenge, because if they're worried about making money than perhaps your not going to be as focused on continuing to evolve the product so it's going to be up to the senior executives to make sure that they stay continually focused on building out the product and making it better each year for users.

LU STOUT: All right. Dan Simon live from Menlo Park for us. Thank you very much indeed, Dan.

Now investors aren't the only ones counting on Facebook's long-term success. Now Facebook has sped the growth of other companies. These are just a few of them. But this is a symbiotic relationship.

Now Instagram is the latest one to fall into the Facebook fold. It was bought last month for $1 billion. Facebook has promised to growth Instagram separately. Now the photo sharing app helps Facebook's big weak spot in mobile.

Now Facebook's music features got a big boost from Spotify. The streaming music service has partnered with Facebook when it launched in the U.S. last year. Spotify was already a hit in Europe, but got more exposure by integrating with Facebook.

And then there's Zynga. Became big with hits like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. Zynga created social games while Facebook provided their initial platform.

Now Facebook has an app store where other companies can try to launch and latch on to some other Facebook fortune.

And for all the fanfare over Facebook, there is no denying the downbeat mood on many markets this Friday. 16 Spanish banks have been downgraded by the rating agency Moody's. Now Greek sovereign debt has been downgraded by Fitch. And that downward trend has been reflected in stocks from Tokyo to London.

Now signs of a run on Spanish banks follow warning on mass withdraws from lenders in Greece earlier this week. And the appointment of the caretaker government on Thursday has done little, if anything, to steady nerves about Greece's financial future.

Now Elinda Labropoulou joins us now live from Athens. And Elinda, the downgrades are weighing on global markets and raising concerns that Greece may leave the EuroZone and default. How is the crisis playing out where you are inside Greece today?

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESOPNDENT: Well, this is obviously what everyone is talking about and it's what everyone has been talking about since the last election where no concrete results were given.

Greece has been on a very fast track to make sure that it shows some kind of stability and it shows that it has a government. A caretaker government has now been appointed, an election date has been given. All this in order to provide the stability to make sure that the Greeks themselves really don't panic, so we don't end up with bank run and more withdraws like the ones that we have seen in the recent past.

The truth is, however, that unless we do have a more concrete result of more solid solutions for Greece it will be very difficult for that fear not to spread into panic.

We have, however, some good results in that sense. The bankers that at least I've been talking to has said that this situation has largely stabilized. So now all eyes turn to policy and what happens there.

What we have seen so far is that those two counts, let's put it that way, in the next elections the pro-bailout and the anti-bailout. Until yesterday all the polls were showing that the anti-bailout side was likely to win in the polls. Now we've had a little bit of a change. As of today, the polls are showing that it is a party that favors the bailout, the pro- bailout party that now looks ahead in the polls.

Having said that, we don't have any indication that there will be a party that will be able to pull a concrete majority, to form a government, and therefore of course until we know a little bit more about how the elections are going to play out it will be difficult to assure any form of stability.

LU STOUT: Why are you seeing this shift in political sentiment in Greece from support for anti-bailout parties to more traditional parties. Is it because rising fear in Greece of an exit from the EuroZone?

LABROPOULOU: It's largely that. And it's also I think people are starting to really question their previous votes. The previous vote was very much a protest vote against the parties that lead them to the austerity, the party that led them to the bailout and what they've seen as an effort that hasn't really worked for Greece. Greece is not in a better financial position than it was two years ago. And certainly the people themselves are not in a better financial position. So that has lead to that protest vote.

But now they're starting to think, you know, what does the next vote mean to them. And the truth is that from everything we've seen in the polls 80 percent of the Greeks want to stay in the euro. So they're reassessing how they're going to vote next time around.

LU STOUT: All right. Elinda Labropoulou joining us live from Athens. Thank you.

Now as the time seems to turn against the government in the Syrian city of Aleppo, opposition sources say the regime is fighting back with force.

Now the innocent face forced marriage in Afghanistan. And we hear the story of a teenager who says that she was tortured by her husband's family.

Also coming up next, a rare sitdown with one of the world's best known footballers. Christiano Ronaldo talks Messi and Mourinho with Pedro Pinto when we come back.


LU STOUT: Now in Syria, activists are reporting that government troops opened fire on anti-regime protesters in the northern city of Aleppo. They say security forces were trying to break up a demonstration that began after dawn prayers. There are also reports of a bomb targeting security forces in Aleppo that killed one soldier and wounded five others.

Now on Thursday, thousands gathered outside Aleppo University calling for the end of President Bashar al Assad's rule. Now the number of public protests in Aleppo once considered a stronghold for Assad has been on the rise. Now the opposition is urging Syrians to support the Aleppo protesters and to stage mass protests across the country.

And for the latest on Syria, Mohammed Jamjoom joins us now live from Beirut. And Mohammed, protesters across Syria are due to pay tribute to the students of Aleppo today. What is the latest you're hearing?

MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, opposition activists telling us these are the biggest demonstrations to date in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, and that it's predominantly students that are out. We've seen more and more gathered throughout this week, thousands of students out yesterday calling for an end to the regime. And like you said, while there have been demonstrations in Aleppo since the beginning of the uprising, it's grown so much in this past week.

This is considered to be possibly a worrying factor for the al Assad regime. Why? Not only is it Syria's biggest city, but it's considered to be a stronghold for al Assad. So the question now is, is the tide there turning? The violence certainly seems to be spiking, more and more students and other anti-government demonstrators coming out into the streets. And like I said, opposition activists telling us today they believe these are the biggest crowd of anti-government demonstrators that have been out in Aleppo since the beginning of the uprising more than 15 months ago.

Also important to note today Kristie, continued shelling, according to opposition activists, in the opposition stronghold, the beleaguered city of Rastan which is in Homs province. That's been told to us today as well that the shelling there continues. Syrian security forces shelling the opposition there even today -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Also in the headlines out of Syria, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, what he's saying about the situation there. He's made a comment that he believes al Qaeda was in fact behind the bombings in Damascus last week. Can you tell us more?

JAMJOOM: Well, Kristie, Ban Ki-Moon said this. He also then said that he believed that the presence of these monitors had dampened the violence somewhat in Syria since they've been there, since they've been deploying to different regions and cities there. But he also added not by enough.

Now this has been one of the key questions these past couple of weeks is al Qaeda actually in Syria? Are they bolstering their presence there? Are they going after the government? When asked earlier today the head of the UN mission there, General Robert Mood, when he was asked if he believed al Qaeda was behind these recent bombings in Damascus, here's what he had to say.


GEN. ROBERT MOOD, U.N. MISSION CHIEF IN SYRIA: This is a kind of violence that is obviously impossible at this stage to decide where it came from by whom. But there is a warning incident on warning trend related to these incidents. I cannot confirm that we have groups in the country linked to those you mentioned, but I'm concerned about the incident with explosives, improvised devices are targeting innocent civilians, innocent people, because it is not going to help the situation.

I've seen the reports that you refer to. If they are correct, it's a warning development.


JAMJOOM: The government of Syria has said on many occasions that they believe al Qaeda is behind these suicide bombings that have happened in the capital and other cities. Opposition activists, however, in Syria continue to maintain that they don't believe al Qaeda is there and that they believe the Syria government is only pointing to terrorist groups in an attempt to quell the uprising there.

Nonetheless, now you have Ban Ki-Moon saying he believed al Qaeda behind it. You have the general who is on the ground there saying he's not sure. It is a very alarming question, one that's been asked so much in the past couple of weeks and will continue to be asked in the near-term future -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Each day of this crisis just gets more and more complex. Mohammed Jamjoom reporting. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now violence against women is one of Afghanistan's most difficult problems. A young woman left scarred by an acid attack is a tragic example. And she has found refuge at a safe house. And others there also have painful stories to tell.

And Sara Sidner heard some of them firsthand.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a small room far from home, 18-year-old Mumtaz is trying to recover for the worst chapter in her life, the day her face was soaked in acid.

MUMTAZ, ACID ATTACK VICTIM (through translator): I feel so bad, that is why I don't look in the mirror anymore.

SIDNER: A scorned young man decided if he couldn't marry her, he'd make sure no one else wanted to. One night, several armed men entered their home to teach the family a lesson.

MUMTAZ: There were three people. Two of them were holding a weapon. They do not move. And the third person was throwing acid.

SIDNER: She says the person pouring the acid was the man who had asked to marry her.

A few of the men involved have been arrested, but not the one who left her scarred for life. Mumtaz is now hiding in a safe house.

MUMTAZ: This shelter has helped a lot. If they were not here, I would have been dead by now.

SIDNER: Unfortunately, Mumtaz's story isn't all that unusual here. She lived among 16 girls and women now in this house and almost every single one of them has scars from domestic abuse. Across the hall from Mumtaz, Sahar Gul sits alone in her room, illegally married off at 13- years-old she says she was treated like an animal by her husband and his family. She says she was tortured because she was unable to conceive a child right away among other things. And she refused to submit to their demand that she work as a prostitute to contribute to the household income.

SAHAR GUL, 14-YEARS-OLD (through translator): They used to beat me and choke me with wire. They put boiling water on my face. They pulled out my fingernails.

SIDNER: And even after three family members were jailed and have now been convicted, Gul is having great difficulties getting a divorce from her husband, a scenario that infuriates Fawzia Kofi, a member of the Afghan parliament.

FAWZIA KOFI, AFGHAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: The judges believe that, you know, if a woman asks for divorce instead of her being a victim she is like a criminal, how can you break the family values and ask for divorce. So even the courts don't favor a woman who asks for divorce.

SIDNER: Still, since the U.S.-led war began, Human Rights Watch says the status of women in Afghanistan has improved some. For example, 2 million more girls are in school, infant mortality rates have dropped, and life expectancy has risen. But a 2008 survey by Global Rights shows 87 percent of Afghan women reported suffering from domestic abuse.

Recognizing the problem, President Karzai enacted a law that is supposed to help eliminate violence against women. Women's rights advocates say the law is good, but its enforcement is feeble.

Rights advocates fear that when the international troops leave this country, so will Afghan women's rights.

HEATHER BARR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, AFGHANISTAN: These improvements that we've seen in terms of education, literacy, maternal mortality, life expectancy, these have come about largely because of services that are funding by the international community. And these gains can be reversed within a couple of years if funding for those services goes away.

SIDNER: Usually the women who are suffering remain faceless to the outside world, but Mumtaz is hoping you don't forget her face, because underneath the damaged skin there's a young woman with dreams of a better life eventually in America.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.



LU STOUT: Live from Hong Kong, you are back watching News Stream. And all eyes on the football world will be on the Champion's League final this Saturday. Let's go live to Munich where Alex Thomas can preview the big match for us -- Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie, this is without doubt the biggest annual sporting event on the calendar for the global TV audience this surpasses even that of the Super Bowl. We're here at the Champion's festival for fans only if you like around a 15 minute drive from the Allianz Arena where Bayern Munich and Chelsea will do battle to see who could be crowned kings of European football on Saturday night. You can hear the music behind me, plenty of atmosphere for me of red-shirted Bayern fans. Even the club's mascot, the bear -- hey we are in Bavaria after all. And that rather balances all the Chelsea flags are being handed out here a little bit earlier.

A great atmosphere for Bayern versus Chelsea, although it could so easily been an all-Spanish final. But as it is, Barcelona and Real Madrid missed out, both beaten in the semis. So no Christiano Ronaldo here, although we have been speaking to him this week. Pedro Pinto flew over to Madrid and back again. And he spoke to the Real Madrid Portugese legend.


PEDRO PINTO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Every year, your numbers keep going up. Every year, Lionel Messi's numbers keep going up. I think you guys are like aliens, OK, I'll be honest with you, like extraterrestrials the numbers you guys have every year. How tired, though, are you of being compared with Messi every day?

CHRISTIANO RONALDO, REAL MADRID STRIKER: Well, sometimes it makes me tired for him, too, because you know they compare each other all the time, which is -- you cannot compare Ferrari with the Porsche or, you know, it's a different engine. You cannot compare with it as on record. So it's amazing. And I think we push each other sometimes in a competition. This is like the competition is so high, this is why Real Madrid and Barcelona is the best teams in the world.

PINTO: So are you better than him now this season?

RONALDO: Some people say I'm better, the other people say it's him. But, you know, there every day they're going to decide who is the best player in the moment, which is I thinking is me.


PINTO: The Champion's League final is coming up. Are you going to watch it? Who do you think is going to win?

RONALDO: Maybe most of the people are thinking that Bayern is going win easily. I don't think so. Don't forget that Chelsea beat Barcelona, which is very, very tough. It will be an interesting game.

PINTO: Christiano, as always it was a pleasure.

RONALDO: Thank you very much.

PINTO: Good luck with everything.

RONALDO: Thank you.

PINTO: Thank you.


THOMAS: And you can hear much more of Pedro's interview with Christiano Ronaldo on World Sport in just over three-and-a-half hours time. I can tell you what, even if he's not made it to the final, Ronaldo like the whole football world Kristie will be watching this one on Saturday night.

LU STOUT: Oh, that's for sure.

And I think that's a fence behind you, Alex, don't sit on it. Just tell us, who is going to win?

THOMAS: I have to, Kristie, because it's so close to call. Both Bayern Munich and Chelsea were rather underdogs in the semifinal, but they knocked out Barcelona, the defending champions, and Real Madrid respectively. My prediction is, to cut a long story short, but it will probably go to a penalty shoot-out. And the interesting thing is, Kristie, if you look at the European competition history, Bayern have won every single penalty shootout they've been in, Chelsea haven't won any of them.

LU STOUT: Alex Thomas, you heard it here, thank you so much. And take care.

Still to come here News Stream, the face of the fast buck, Mark Zuckerberg isn't the first tech founder to make billions in just a few years. We'll take a look at who paved the way first.

Plus, hand-free driving. We'll introduce you to the car that does all the hand and leg work.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

In Syria, activists are reporting that government forces opened fire on anti-regime protests in the city of Aleppo, a video that CNN cannot confirm reportedly shows thousands gathered outside the university on Thursday calling for the fall of President Bashar al Assad. The opposition is urging Syrians to show solidarity with the Aleppo protesters and stage mass protests across the country.

The fallout from the Greek political crisis is being felt throughout the financial world. Asian stocks closed sharply lower on Friday trading. The European markets right now are mixed. Now 16 Spanish banks have been downgraded by the Moody's ratings agency. Fitch meanwhile downgraded Greece's sovereign debt.

Now Facebook shares will soon make their stock market debut. The social networking website will begin trade on the NASDAQ in a couple of hours. And Facebook will open at $38 a share. That puts the company on course to raise $16 billion.

And for all the talk of Facebook as a social network, the site has become a tool for activism. Now its power for aiding social change became evident during last year's Arab Spring uprising. This graffiti was spotted during Tunisia's uprising in January. And it inspired similar protests in Egypt. The internet activist Wael Ghonim became a household name using Facebook and Twitter to organize pro-democracy demonstrations. He devised this page "We're all Khalid Said." It's named after a businessman who died in police custody.

Now the number of Facebook users in the Arab world jumped by an astonishing 68 percent last year. And these men, they carry a sign that says Facebook, thank you.

Now Wall Street is counting down to the big moment when Facebook starts trading. Alison Kosik joins us now live from outside the NASDAQ to tell us how much more it can expect to rake in -- Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORREPSONDENT: Hi there, Kristie. Yes, so the opening bell actually rings in an hour-and-a-half, but those shares for Facebook won't necessarily begin trading. Who is going to be ringing the opening bell, first of all, it's going to be those Facebook executives. They will not be at the NASDAQ market site behind me, they're actually going to be in Menlo Park, California, that is where the Facebook headquarters is, that's where Mark Zuckerberg will be.

But here at the NASDAQ you are seeing signs of the big day. Here behind me, that big blue sign you're seeing is kind of changing over, showing statements including where those who believe in a more open, connected world, welcome Facebook, where old definitions of corporate prestige are so last century, welcome Facebook.

This is a huge coup for the NASDAQ with one listing of SB, which won this Facebook listing over the New York Stock Exchange, so obviously besides the fees that come with it, comes the bragging rights which you see behind me on that big sign -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now Alison, ordinary investors won't get access to Facebook shares when the market opens at 9:30 am. Can you explain to us why that is?

KOSIK: OK. Usually there's a delay with any idea, or even with you look at the New York Stock Exchange there's a smaller delay usually. Here at the New York Stock -- at the NASDAQ rather, when the shares open, it could be an hour to even an hour-and-a-half after the opening bell rings when those Facebook shares actually begin trading. And that's because I spoke with one NASDAQ official who said there's a lot of noise at the open. All of the stocks come out of the gate all at once.

So with these IPOs, especially is as big as Facebook want to do, kind of wait for all that noise to calm down so the underwriter Morgan Stanley can focus only on those orders that come in, orders from those institutional investors and those underwriters. And even a few retail investors who got in earlier this week so the focus is on those people who then will -- who have put in their buy orders and once the noise calms down the average price is reached, that average price will be what hits the ticket tape when Facebook shares open to the public.

LU STOUT: And Alison, I also hear that a number of insiders at the company, basically venture capitalists who got in early, they plan to sell a lot of their shares early. So should we take that as a warning sign?

KOSIK: You know, it could be. And especially since time has gotten closer to this IPO coming out, yeah, you've certainly heard a lot about these underwriters ready to dump their shares, because the -- the biggest criticism for Facebook is how is the company going to grow? You know, you see even growth from Q4 to Q1 slow down quite a big. You know, Facebook 85 percent of its revenue last year -- 85 percent of it came from advertising. And you saw that advertising slow down from the fourth quarter to the first quarter. Much of that was actually impacted because of Europe, because of the debt situation going on in Europe.

So there's a little trepidation as to what the staying power is of this demand for Facebook -- what demand -- whether or not it's going to hold up. That is probably what you're seeing is that trepidation and why you're seeing these underwriters and these institutional investors not necessarily having much faith in the growth potential of Facebook.

LU STOUT: Got it. Alison Kosik reporting live from New York for us. Thank you so much, Alison.

Now if Facebook has a face, it's that of Mark Zuckerberg. He certainly isn't the first founder to lead his company to the giddy heights that the social network now occupies. But when it comes to the titans of tech, founders' fortunes have varied. Now the ultimate success story arguably Bill Gates who stuck with his company Microsoft from the very beginning in 1975, helping it to become one of the handful of brands ever to pass the $500 billion mark in market value.

Now another company to achieve this is Apple. Now shortly after the death of its founder Steve Jobs. Now Jobs did not make a great success of his first stint at Apple, but when he returned as CEO in 1997 he turned the struggling business around and it really came into his own. The rest is history.

Now one tech founder who had two steps at leadership, but little success was Yahoo!'s Jerry Yang. Now his decision to turn down a takeover bid from Microsoft sealed his fate when shares sank. Now search rival Google a different tack, the founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, they sought the help of an outsider, Eric Schmidt, to act as the brains behind the business.

And Mark Zuckerberg may have taken his queue from their success. Sheryl Sandberg is the company's chief operating officer and she has certainly made her mark being named as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people this year.

And Poppy Harlow is here to tell us why -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Kristie. You know we all talk about this Facebook IPO and Mark Zuckerberg. But this company, experts tell me, could not be where it is today, no way, without Sheryl Sandberg. We all know the story. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook in his Harvard dorm room. But a lot of people don't know about Sheryl Sandberg and they should. Take a look.


SHERYL SANDBERG, COO FACEBOOK: I was a really serious geek in high school. It worked out.

HARLOW: She's Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, number two to founder Mark Zuckerberg. She joined Facebook in 2008, taking it from less than 150 million user to more than 900 million today.

DAVID KIRKPATRICK, AUTHOR: If Sheryl hadn't been there I don't think Facebook would be going public today so successfully. She came in and basically created the business. She had a whole month's worth of meetings trying to figure out what business Facebook was even in.

HARLOW: A Harvard grad who worked as Larry Summer's chief of staff at the U.S. Treasury Department, she landed next at Google where she built the company's ad business.

TIM ARMSTRONG, AOL CEO: I think Sheryl's you know main contribution was how she figuring out how to go from essentially zero customers and a new channel to figure out how we were going to get billions of dollars and a million customers. And she built that from scratch.

HARLOW: She's so important to Facebook, the company's public filing documents say losing her could harm the company.

I interviewed her the day Facebook became profitable.

SANDBERG: Well, the big announcement today is that we hit 300 million active users and we're cash flow positive.

HARLOW: As a female who has reached close to the top of the corporate ladder, she challenged young women to do that same during her 2011 commencement speech at Barnard.

SANDBERG: You are the promise for a more equal world, a world where men ran half our homes and women ran half our institutions would be just a much better world.

HARLOW: And for this mother of two, balance is key.

SANDBERG: I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I'm home for dinner with my kids at 6:00.

HARLOW: Has she changed the culture at Facebook do you think?

CLARA SHIH, CEO, HEARSAY SOCIAL: Oh, absolutely. But I'd say that her influence has gone far beyond just Facebook. I think she has established a new -- a new way of doing things, a new culture to aspire to across all technology companies.

HARLOW: So she's changed Silicon Valley?

SHIH: Absolutely. And if you look at Oracle or you look at Apple, a lot of these companies have a single leader, usually it's always been a guy who has a singular vision. We're seeing a shift from ego-driven to leadership driven.

HARLOW: People who know her say Washington could be in the cards.

ARMSTRONG: I told her she should run for president.

KIRKPATRICK: I think Sheryl will end up in Washington. And I honestly think she could some day be president. And that's not a joke.

HARLOW: Do you have political aspirations?

SANDBERG: I have aspirations to do something that matters. And right now I don't think there's much I could do that would matter more than Facebook.


HARLOW: Now Kristie, a key challenge that Sandberg is going to face at Facebook now that it is a public company is how to you monetize the exploding number of mobile users. Facebook came out just in the past week and added to its public filing documents saying that its ability to advertise on mobile phones, mobile devices, is not keeping up with the amount of users, more than 400 million of their users moving to mobile devices, that's going to be a big challenge.

However, the analyst I talked to tell me if anyone can do this, it is Sheryl Sandberg. Remember, she came into Google years ago, courted, brought in by then CEO Eric Schmidt. She grew completely their ad business from just a few people to thousands of people. She came into Facebook. She created the business model. So if anyone can do it, no doubt it's going to be Sheryl Sandberg.

But she's going to have that big challenge ahead when it comes to meeting Wall Street's expectations every quarter. And remember, Mark Zuckerberg owns more than half the voting shares in Facebook, so ultimately he's still the one who makes the calls -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: So monetizing mobile, a key chapter ahead for both Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.

Now during the IPO roadshow, there was that video that was released. And in it Sheryl Sandberg, she touted the reach of Facebook saying every day it's like the season finale of American Idol times two. Is that reach the most powerful driver behind today's IPO?

HARLOW: I think so. And I think a lot of analysts you would talk to say that.

I was listening to one yesterday who said I have 900 million reasons to like this company. They're talking about users, the network effect. But the issue is it doesn't matter from a business standpoint how many people you touch if you can't monetize it effectively. So that's the question. And as Alison correctly pointed out, when you look at their numbers from Q4 to Q1, revenues still grew, but it grew at 45 percent in Q1 of this year versus about 90 percent in Q4. Facebook attributed that to what they call seasonality. You're going to want to watch that growth quarter by quarter by quarter here for them.

I think the big difference is going to be, this is a company that had the luxury of being private. They didn't have to report to Wall Street every three months. And now they're going to have to do that. And that changes things. And some say that's going to mean more advertising and sort of changing the experience of it on Facebook.

LU STOUT: That's right. With these quarterly reports, a lot more pressure to perform. Poppy Harlow joining us. Thank you.

Coming up next here on News Stream, first there was the race by nations to get into space. Now that race has gone private. Looking at one company's bold attempt to take over the Space Shuttle role after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now a historic space launch is expected this weekend. Details now from Mari Ramos. She joins us from the World Weather Center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kristie. This is really a momentous occasion. What we're looking at here is the -- I guess you could say the collaboration between a start-up company and veteran company, two completely different companies coming together and having the beginning of commercial space flight. John Zarrella tells us more.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mission is unprecedented. It is for many in the space business hold your breath and cross your fingers time. After months of delays, a commercial company's spacecraft is attempting to make history. There is, says Space X CEO Elon Musk, both excitement and high anxiety.

ELON MUSK, SPACE X CEO: We have done everything we possibly can think of to ensure the success of this mission. Despite that, there's still significant risk.

ZARRELLA: Risk because only a handful of nations have ever done this before. And before now, no commercial company has ever attempted it.

Once in orbit, the unmanned Space X Dragon capsule will head for a rendezvous with the International Space Station. If all is well after a series of systems checks and maneuvers, NASA astronaut Don Pettit will use the station's robotic arm to reach out, drag hold of Dragon, and berth it to the station.

MUSK: It's been a very hard technology to develop. And of course we need to prove that we've done it correctly. And I think there's a good chance that we don't quite succeed on the first time. But I'm confident we will succeed on -- if it's not the first it'll be the second or third.

ZARRELLA: There is, quite literally, a lot riding on this.

With limited dollars, NASA decided to retire the shuttle, develop a new rocket to take humans on deep space missions, say to Mars, and turn over to commercial companies the job of ferrying cargo and eventually astronauts to the station.

Several companies are developing vehicles for the job. Space X is the first ready to try.

MUSK: So it can actually carry the same number of people as the space shuttle.

ZARRELLA: Last year, Musk showed off his Dragon spacecraft that successfully orbited the Earth, a precursor to the upcoming mission.

Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal has no illusions when it comes to rocket science.

MUSK: When I started Space X it's not as thought I thought rockets were easy. I mean, I did think they were very hard, but I say it is -- it ended up being harder than that.

ZARRELLA: Just exactly how hard will be answered very soon.

John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.


RAMOS: Among the things that Dragon will have to do while it's in space is going to have to circle around the Earth a couple of times. Then as it approaches the space station, it has to be able to kind of change directions. They're going to test some of the maneuver capability that this may have.

Now of course all of this first has to happen is this launch. We'll how that goes. And the weather so far appears to be cooperating. We might have a little bit of a problem with wind as we head closer to the launch zone. We should expect it to be tomorrow. I just checked the latest update from NASA and Space X on this. And they're saying that so far it's a go for launch. The rocket is now standing up nice and straight. And they're going to continue doing all of their checkpoints throughout the day today to see if they can actually do this launch tomorrow at 8:55 GMT.

And a little bit of scattered clouds. And the winds might be an issue, but so far so good about 20 and 25 kilometers per hour. So we'll definitely be watching and see what happens tomorrow morning, Kristie.

Let's go ahead and move on. I want to talk to you about another event. And I'm wondering if you've got your glasses already -- ready to go. Because tomorrow is the annual -- I should say Monday morning is the annular eclipse. You still have a couple of days.

So first of all, an eclipse, what's that? Well, in this case we're talking about the moon getting in the path between the sun and the Earth. So it's going to block up the sun for a little while. But it's a little different than other solar eclipses. This is called an annular eclipse and that's because the moon appears to be smaller than the sun. So there's literally going to be something like a ring of fire around the sun, it's not going to completely cover it. Only about 94 percent of the sun's surface will be covered.

Even though it's not necessarily a total eclipse, it's almost a total eclipse. It's called an annular eclipse.

And they are quite rare. As far as the forecasts across some of these areas that will have the eclipse visible, Hong Kong, for example. At sunrise we're going to have a mix of clouds and sun. And we might get lucky and actually be able to see a little bit of this. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

As we head to Tokyo, mostly cloudy skies early in the morning. This is going to be a touch and go forecast. Let's see if those clouds can clear in time. And as we head into California we're looking at partly cloudy skies.

So let's kind of review a little bit. This area that you see here in yellow, that's the area of the partial eclipse. And then this area right here in the middle, that's the path of the annular eclipse, that means those areas that will be able to see it. 22:06 GMT in Hong Kong, so that's going to be right at sunrise for you. That's when the eclipse begin. In Tokyo, that will happen around 7:30 am local time. And you know, prime viewing spots here across parts of east Asia Kristie.

Of course the main thing is proper eye protection and let's just hope the weather cooperates.

LU STOUT: That's right. And if you can see it, see it, because I'm hearing the next time you could view it from Hong Kong will be 300 years from now.

RAMOS: There you go.

LU STOUT: Mari Ramos, thank you, and have a great weekend.

You're watching News Stream. And just ahead, the car that does the work so you don't have to, how Google can make drivers a thing of the past. We'll go for a spin after the break.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now Facebook may be dominating Wall Street and New York today, but Google is out to revolutionize the streets. The search giant's driver free car is making the rounds of the U.S. Capital. And Brian Todd gets in the back seat for a test drive.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Oscar, this is Google's new self-driving car. It's been in development for at least four years. And this is the prototype for a technology that Google is going to -- is here in Washington to display. They hope that it's going to be able to help, you know, maybe elderly people, blind people get from place to place without having to actually rely on another driver.

We're going to show you some features of this car. We're not allowed to actually film some of the technology inside it, because it's proprietary technology and Google doesn't necessarily want us to give some of that away.

There is a laptop here which they are using just in development of the car to kind of sense where people are, where other vehicles are. It kind of allows them to program that into the software of the vehicle.

Let's come over here and we'll show you a couple of features of this car. These are all sensors, these are radars on the side and in the front here, OK. And there's one on the other side here, but what we're going also show you is a camera which obviously is a crucial part of this vehicle. It anticipates what other cars are doing -- all of this information is gathered into the camera, into the radar, into this laser scanner on the top here. And it's processed into a computer. The computer then commands the car what to do -- to stop, to turn, to do other things. And it all happens dozens of times a second. That information is process through.

So the computer is in the car. This stuff is mounted on the car. It all process through the computer. The computer gives the car the commands on what to do.

We took a test drive just a couple of moments ago where we were, you know, just going around the block here with the Google engineers without driving. And we are able to get some still pictures from inside the car to show that.

We were out driving this thing -- a truck, a garbage truck kind of moved across the road in front of us and the car, on its own, kind of came to an abrupt stop. And it was just doing that the entire time we were in it. So a lot of kind of really cool and very strange sensations when you're moving around in this car.

It's got no hands on the vehicle. Now this has stopped automatically. And guys, why did it stop automatically. Do we know? Oh, there was a taxi that was kind of cutting us off there a little bit.

A lot of questions about this car, because you know there are questions about -- well is it going to be able to anticipate pedestrian behavior in addition to car behavior. Well, Google says they're developing software that does anticipate pedestrian behavior and kind of is able to make the car abruptly adjust to something that a pedestrian might do which could be very, very unpredictable.

And a lot -- there are also questions about possible hacking of some of this technology. Hackers have been able to hack other technology in other cars like anti-lock breaks on occasion. Google says that basically they have engineers at Google who are used to their technology being attacked all the time so the are doing everything they can to minimize the prospect of hacking of this vehicle.

But a very exciting new piece of technology that Google is developing the self-driving car, emphasizing too that Google has no interest, they say, of actually making cars. They're developing this technology so the car companies can put that into their vehicles.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Now we are getting closer to the time where Facebook shares start trading, but we're impatient. We want to know at what price they will finish the trading day. And as with almost anything there's a website for that. A programmer put together this site and it takes predictions made on Twitter and works out an average. And according to the site Facebook shares will end the day at $54.

Now that is News Stream. And next we'll have a special addition of World Business Today focusing on Facebook's market debut. I'll be there along with Nina Dos Santos in London and Ali Velshi at the NASDAQ in New York. So stay with us for that.