Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave his first interview since the company’s IPO at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF event today.
In addition to talking about the company’s mobile development, the Facebook co-founder spoke on a number of topics varying from the disappointing IPO performance, the potential of Facebook search and what the future has in store for the social network.
After going public at $38 a share in May, Facebook stock lately been trading below $20, even dipping below $18 earlier this month. Zuckerberg was candid in calling the stock’s performance, “disappointing.” He ensured that as a company they do care about shareholders and are committed to the mission of making the world more open and connected. He reinforced, “We are going do things to build value over the long term.”
He also shared that the poor stock price is not exactly “helping” the morale of the company. However, he feels that as long they are building things they are proud of, it helps to motivate the team as well as helps with recruiting. He said, “I think it’s a great time for people to join. And I think it’s a great time to double down.”
Something that he emphasized was the fact that the IPO is no exception to the fact that Facebook as a company has not been without controversy. He remained positive about the IPO’s potential, suggesting the low stock as simply a speed bump.
“The folks at Facebook are used to the press saying good things about us and bad things about us,” he said. “We have a good compass”.
Zuckerberg said that Facebook search receives over 1 billion queries a day, “without even trying”. He shared that he is very intrigued with what the company can do with search and went on to explain how it is different from other search engines. He says that he thinks that Internet search is evolving from finding keywords to being used to answer specific questions.
He believes that Facebook is in a unique position when it comes to answering some of these questions. For example, maybe in the future, you can search for what sushi restaurants your friends have eaten at in the last six months and which ones they liked. He says that Facebook offers a much more personal way to search as it can use social context in a way that current search engines cannot.
“At some point we’ll do it,” he said, mentioning that there is already a team working on search.
Zuckerberg shared that over 265 million people are playing games on Facebook so canvas is still a very relevant space for the Facebook Platform. He said that although Zynga is facing trouble, other social gaming developers like King.com and Kixeye are finding success.
However, he said he is spending most of his time with Open Graph, which allows developers to use Facebook data elsewhere on the web and in mobile apps. He went on to say that apps that are using the Open Graph to bring information into Facebook to give people social context. He described the music application Spotify as “killing it.” He went on to mention other apps Airbnb and Nike+ as doing really interesting things with the Open Graph.
When asked if he is still having fun, Zuckerberg response was a yes, but that there were more important things than fun.
“Yeah, but it really isn’t about fun anymore; it’s about mission,” he said.
Zuckerberg said he and Facebook are focused on building good things and that he actually prefers to be underestimated rather than overestimated.
He emphasized that he wishes to fulfill the mission of leaving a legacy of making the world more connected and providing people the opportunity to share more things with their friends.