Mark Zuckerberg Interviewed by Michael Arrington - #TCDisrupt TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 Full Video | Summary and Q&A

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September 12, 2012
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Mark Zuckerberg Interviewed by Michael Arrington - #TCDisrupt TechCrunch Disrupt 2012 Full Video

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Summary

In this interview, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, discusses a range of topics including the company's IPO, mobile strategy, product development, and future plans. He addresses the disappointing performance of Facebook's stock since going public and emphasizes the importance of mobile for the company's future success. Zuckerberg admits that one of the biggest mistakes they made was betting too much on HTML5 for mobile development instead of native apps. He also talks about the acquisition of Instagram and their plans for the platform. Throughout the interview, Zuckerberg reiterates his focus on the mission of connecting the world and building great products.

Questions & Answers

Q: If you could have done anything differently with hindsight, what would it be?

The performance of the stock has been disappointing, and while we care about our shareholders, our focus is on executing our mission of making the world more open and connected. The biggest question is how well we do with mobile, and to underestimate how good mobile is for us is a misunderstanding. We've made some missteps in the past, such as betting too much on HTML5 for mobile development, which was a strategic mistake. We had to start over and rewrite everything to be native. But now, with the new version of the iOS app and upcoming improvements for Android, we are in a better place and confident in our mobile strategy.

Q: In the IPO, you said that you don't build services to make money; you make money to build great services. Can you talk about that philosophy?

This philosophy goes to the heart of how we run the company. While we are a mission-driven company, we also understand the need to build a great team and a great business to attract the best talent and provide value to our developers and advertisers. Building a mission and building a business go hand in hand. We want to build a platform that allows developers to build and make money, and in return, they produce a lot of the content on Facebook. The primary thing that excites us is the mission, but we also recognize the importance of monetization to sustain our mission and growth.

Q: With the fluctuation in stock price, how are you dealing with employee morale and incentivizing employees to stay?

The stock performance doesn't help, but Facebook has experienced ups and downs before, so people are used to it. We have a good compass and understanding of what we need to do. Building great products that people are proud of is what motivates our employees. We've seen that when we release new apps and features, it drives morale and attracts new talent. In terms of incentivizing employees, we haven't done anything specifically, but we translate the amount of cash we want to give into shares, which means if the shares are undervalued, employees will receive more shares. Despite the challenges, it's a great time for people to join and stay at Facebook.

Q: You mentioned that mobile was a weakness for Facebook in the past. Is mobile now a strength and an opportunity for the company?

Mobile is not only a strength but also a huge opportunity for us. There are more users on mobile, and they are more engaged and spend more time on the platform. We believe we can make more money on mobile than on desktop. The number of smartphone users and engagement on mobile is growing rapidly. We've already seen improvements in engagement with the new version of the iOS app, and we're confident in our ability to monetize mobile. In the past, we made a strategic mistake by focusing too much on HTML5 for mobile development, but now we are investing in native apps and seeing positive results.

Q: Were there moments during the development of the mobile apps where you realized they weren't as good as they could be?

Yes, there were moments where we realized the apps weren't as good as we wanted them to be. We've been self-critical and acknowledge that there's room for improvement even with the current versions of the apps. We made the decision to prioritize speed and simplicity in the first release, but we have many exciting features and improvements in the pipeline. The iOS app is in good shape, and we're working on enhancing the Android app as well.

Q: Are you planning to release a Facebook phone?

No, building a Facebook phone is the wrong strategy for us. We want to integrate Facebook deeply into every major device and platform. Building our own hardware and operating system is not aligned with our vision. We prioritize integration and collaboration with other platforms rather than competing directly with them. Our goal is to be a mobile company and provide value across different platforms.

Q: Do you have any plans for search capabilities on Facebook?

Search is interesting, and we already receive a billion queries a day on our platform. While search on Facebook is currently focused on finding people, there is a meaningful portion of queries related to finding pages, brands, and apps. We believe there is a big opportunity for us to provide search capabilities that are unique to Facebook. We are exploring this area and have a team working on it, but I don't have any specific details to announce at this time.

Q: What other areas are you excited about in terms of future development?

One area I'm personally excited about is the Open Graph. We see a lot of potential in allowing people to bring their information and friends to apps and bring context from those apps back to Facebook. We're already seeing interesting developments in areas like music (Spotify) and accommodation (Airbnb). We want to give developers more distribution and help them leverage social context in their apps. We're also working on new tools like the mobile app install product, which provides a great opportunity for mobile developers.

Q: Are people underestimating Facebook's potential?

Some people may be underestimating us, and I think that's a good thing. We'd rather be underestimated because it gives us the freedom to take big bets and amaze people. We have a lot of interesting long-term projects in the works that will contribute to our mission of connecting the world. Despite the challenges, I find motivation in the opportunity to build something incredible.

Q: Are you still having fun?

For me, it's not just about fun but about the mission. We want to connect everyone in the world and enable them to share everything. Building good products and executing our mission is what keeps me going, even on challenging days. I'm focused on the long-term impact we can make rather than immediate gratification.

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