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Eric Schmidt: The Next Facebook will be Social, Mobile & Local

Who will be the next Mark Zuckerberg? According to Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt it will be someone who finds a way to truly combine "local, mobile and social."

During his sit down talk with Salesforce.com's CEO Marc Benioff at Dreamforce 2011, Schmidt praised Facebook's founder and chief.  "He will be seen in the context as one of the great leaders in our industry. And I think it's important to note that someone will come after him."

But he added that the next Zuckerberg will be an innovator who finds the right formula for combining people's local experience on the social web and delivers it through mobile devices.

"The next generation of these leaders will be something in social, mobile and local," he said.

He also praised Steve Jobs, the recently resigned CEO of Apple, saying he was probably the best CEO in 50, or even 100 years because "not only did he do it once, he did it twice."

Schmidt and Benioff also traded barbs about Microsoft and it's struggle to compete with Apple's product, with Schmidt suggesting that Microsoft held to tight a grip on its infrastructure.

"The lesson to learn over and over again in tech is it moves very quickly and if you don't move with it" you'll lose the race," as one of the chief lessons Schmidt noted.

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He also gave advice for growing companies: "Just figure out how to release a new version of your software everyday...without breaking anything." In other words, adopt a continuous iterative process.

Schmidt also addressed the original skepticism that cloud computing met in the earlier years. "Many people doubted that the cloud computing apps model would work," he said. But he said the model ended up being so successful because it allowed new technologies to emerge at faster speeds.

Benioff also discussed global economic and educational policies and its impact on American innovation. The country can't afford to be a services-only country. "America needs to be a manufacturer. We have to."

"We have the benefit of the cheap dollar. It should be possible to do this," he added.

(Disclosure: Eloqua and salesforce.com have a variety of customer/vendor, sponsorship and other arrangements between the two companies.)

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