Mark Zuckerberg Emphasizes Mobile In First Interview Since Facebook IPO
There’s been plenty of payments hype surrounding TechCrunch Disrupt SF this week, but perhaps no event was more heavily anticipated than the return of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to the public eye.
Speaking for the first time since Facebook’s infamous IPO on May 18, Zuckerberg fielded a variety of questions from TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. Some of the topics Zuckerberg touched on? Facebook’s potential as a search engine, his company’s moral, and his personal disinterest in creating a “Facebook Phone.”
But Zuckerberg spent the majority of his interview discussing Facebook’s mobile business – the failure of its past apps, the success of its current iOS iteration and how he views Facebook’s mobile ad structure evolving in the future.
Zuckerberg highlighted three factors he believes will lead to mobile success. First, there are more mobile users than desktop users, leading to increased exposure. Second, mobile users are more engaged than their desktop counterparts. And third, the combination of more users and more time on the site leads to an increase in ad opportunity.
“It’s easy to underestimate just how fundamentally good mobile is for us,” he said.
At one point, Arrington asked Zuckerberg if he viewed mobile as an area of opportunity for Facebook, or as the company’s biggest weakness. Facebook has come under frequent fire for early versions of its mobile apps, and for failing to use mobile as an adequate advertising platform.
Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook certainly had and still has shortcomings in the mobile field, but said his company is constantly seeking to improve its mobile game. As an example, he offered the successful integration of ads into the body of the mobile iOS app, which he says perform better than the traditional “right-hand ads” on the desktop site.
Arrington then brought up Zuckerberg’s famous “we don’t build services to make money, we make money to build services” line, but Zuckerberg insisted that both he and his company are still primarily mission-driven, and want Facebook to “connect the world.”
Aside from mobile, Zuckerberg also touched on his company’s potential as a search engine, bragging that Facebook gets “a billion inquiries a day, and we’re not even trying.” He said Facebook currently has teams working on search capabilities, but didn’t divulge much in the way of details.
He also spoke about Facebook’s games capabilities, throwing out lofty users-per-month numbers, but did not delve into the world of Facebook credits or how such games could be monetized.
So does Zuckerberg believe that Facebook is on the rebound? Company stocks have lost about half their value since the IPO, and Zuckerberg was recently forced to claim he’d stop selling Facebook shares for a year to help stop the free fall.
But Zuckerberg went so far as to claim his company is now “undervalued” by some, and that many should look at Facebook’s current status as a time to “double down” on stock.
Perhaps his overall attitude can best be captured by one brief exchange. When Arrington asked Zuckerberg if he still coded at all, the Facebook CEO said only for fun, as he wouldn’t want to make others correct his mistakes.
“Does Mark Zuckerberg’s code break?” Arrington asked incredulously.
“Everything I do breaks,” Zuckerberg quipped, “but we fix it quickly.”
To see Zuckerberg’s full interview, click here.
Please send all press releases and story ideas to Ben Carsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.