Zuckerberg Talks IPO, Mobile Advertising and More in 30-Minute Session

by Jordan Richardson on September 12, 2012

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally broke his silence after his company’s less-than-enthralling initial public offering and the subsequent debacle, speaking for 30 minutes at TechCrunch Disrupt on Tuesday. It was his first public interview since the IPO and it featured Zuck on overdrive, according to observers.

As he sped through several points over the course of a half hour with the speed of an auctioneer, Zuckerberg was candid about some of the mistakes his company made and some of the project that are most assuredly not happening going forward.

For one thing, Facebook isn’t interested in working on a phone. The idea “wouldn’t move the needle for us,” Zuckerberg claimed. The idea of a Facebook phone “just doesn’t make any sense,” what with it perhaps only attracting 10 to 15 million users. Furthermore, Facebook isn’t interested in abandoning or competing with the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft. Those companies, despite some rivalries, have been relatively Facebook-friendly thus far. Moving into mobile territory could jeopardize that.

Zuckerberg said that one thing Facebook is working on improving is the search bar capabilities. He claimed to be doing “a billion queries a day, and we aren’t even trying,” noting a desire to tackle the Google and Bing with human-friendly searches that will give recommendations to restaurants and more fluid answers to questions like how companies treat employees and so forth.

As far as the IPO goes, Zuckerberg said that it didn’t have a great impact on morale but it didn’t destroy everything the employees had worked to build either. “Facebook has not been uncontroversial in the past. It’s not like this is the first up and down we’ve ever had…What motivates people at Facebook is building stuff they’re proud of,” he said.

“The performance of the stock has been disappointing,” Zuckerberg said. “We care about our shareholders…We are going to do the things we think that add value over the long-term.”

In terms of mistakes, Facebook’s boss was clear: HTML5. The company apparently “bet too much” on HTML5 “as opposed to native” with regard to mobile apps, a mistake that Zuck says they won’t repeat in the future. Going forward, everything for iOS and Android will be native.

Mobile is the name of the game going forward for Facebook, that much is clear, and Zuckerberg is betting big on it. He expects to make more money from mobile advertising than desktop advertising because the advertisements are harder to ignore on mobile devices. “What we are seeing already, even with the early mobile ads that we have, is that they are performing even better than the right hand column ads on desktop…There’s a huge opportunity,” he said.

Previous post:

Next post: