Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Talks Business and Tech
Facebook is becoming quite Formidable. So is its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
I sat down with Zuckerberg for a one on one interview after his keynote address at the f8 conference, and before his general Q&A with the press.
Some highlights: He says Facebook will "probably" release an app for tablets like Apple's iPad . He's too busy building products these days to worry too much about an IPO. And Facebook's mobile users now account for nearly half of its base, and they're more than twice as engaged as desktop users.
In a way, Zuckerberg's evolution is just as impressive as that of the company he founded. The 27-year-old CEO is more comfortable in front of a crowd than he's ever been, and can communicate the social network's vision with a passion and ease that many other Silicon Valley CEOs struggle to muster. It's been exactly a year since Hollywood had its way with his life story in the movie The Social Network, and while he's quick to point out much of the movie is fiction, he's clearly not taking himself too seriously. (He invited SNL's Andy Samberg onto the f8 stage to spoof him.)
More edited portions from my chat with Zuckerberg are below.
On the new features he announced Thursday:
Right now when you share on Facebook, it's really easy to share things that you've done recently, but it's hard to tell the whole story of your life. I mean, you have a few things on your page and if you try to scroll down, it's hard to see much more than what's happened in the past few weeks. And we think that people want to have a way to tell the whole story of their life.
On my observation that his comfortable presentation style now reminds me of Apple Chairman Steve Jobs:
You know, people think that any presentation that's good is like Steve Jobs, because he is just so good. But for us here today, the reason we were so excited is that we've been working on these two things, Timelines that can tell the story of your life, and this new type of app that lets you discover things through your friends -- we've been working on it for a year. So I think the products are really cool, and we're excited about them, and they just speak for themselves.
On the backlash to the latest redesign of Facebook's news feed and the addition of the ticker, and whether he's confident users will embrace it eventually:
We've actually been testing this product for weeks now, so we know that they help people get more engaged, they help people discover more content. But at the same time, we always listen to the feedback that we get, and we've already made some new tweaks to the product to address some of the concerns and feedback that we got. Overall, we rolled out the new version of newsfeed and ticker, but it's really one whole package with the stuff that we launched today. So in a way, it didn't fully make sense without Timeline or without the new set of apps. But we think now it's going to be awesome.
On what he told President Obama during their dinner in Silicon Valley earlier this year:
I don't think I really told him much he doesn't already know. But I think there are a lot of great things happening in the technology industry. There are companies that are growing really quickly. It's one part of the economy that's going really well. I think that the key is to do whatever we can to make sure that this part of the economy that's working really well can grow even faster, because I think it's the engine for the future.
On whether mobile continues to grow as a proportion of Facebook usage:
We have 350 million people using Facebook on mobile devices every month, with about 800 million people total using it. It's almost half of all the people on Facebook are using it on mobile now.
And do mobile users continue to be twice as active on Facebook as PC-only users?
I think it may be even more than that. Just think about it: You have a phone with you all the time, right? It's a great experience.
On whether Facebook will release an app for the iPad:
I think it's going to be something that we're going to want to do. But right now a lot of people have a great experience just using the web on it. I mean one of the best parts of the iPad is that it has a beautiful web browser.