Zuckerberg, edition Web 2.0

November 7, 2008

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have traded in his Adidas flip-flops for tennis shoes, but he was as coy as ever when it came to talking about the social network.  On stage at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, host John Batelle asked Zuckerberg about Dubai, referring to rumors that Facebook CFO Gideon Yu was in the Middle East seeking financing from the sheikhs.

“I’ve never been to Dubai,” Zuckerberg said. “I’m told it’s nice at this time of the year.”

Never one to give up easily, Batelle dug deeper: “Gideon must have told you that.”

Zuckerberg’s silence was long enough to make a point before he said, “Oh.”

Never mind, Batelle just continued lobbing the questions at Zuckerberg, who was dressed down as usual in a black Northface fleece.

“Do you need money?” Batelle asked.

“No,” Zuckerberg responded.

Batelle then tried another tack to get Zuckerberg to answer the money question. Perhaps Facebook needs to worry about money because it’s running out of it faster that previously thought?

Zuckerberg answered that one. Kind of. He said Facebook’s focus has been on expanding its membership base this year, and the site now boasts 120 million users. Also, the ability of users to translate the site into their native language has helped it expand internationally.

“Growth is our priority,” Zuckerberg said. “We’re not focused on optimizing revenue. Some people have taken that to mean… we don’t have a revenue strategy, which is completely wrong.”

Facebook’s two main revenue streams — direct sales and online sales — are both doing “really well,” Zuckerberg said, adding that the social networking site is on track to make “hundreds of millions of dollars” in revenue this year. It’s an estimate Facebook has given before.

Batelle then asked Zuckerberg about Facebook’s “third revenue stream – Microsoft.” Last year, the software company invested $240 million in the start-up, valuing it at $15 billion.

“We don’t feel any type of pressure to live up to 15 billion dollars,” Zuckerberg replied. “On a day-to-day basis there is no thought that we need to do this… to justify a 15-billion-dollar valuation.”

And no, the company doesn’t have a hiring freeze in place. Now 700 employees strong, Facebook is still looking to hire technical and sales folks. “The key focus right now is hiring really good technical people,” the CEO said. So if you’re looking for a job, just Facebook Mark Zuckerberg.

Photo credit: Reuters

2 comments

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Facebook is a cool tool for us to contact with the people in ours lives with providing a communication platform. It is free and anyone can join. However I wonder how it expanding its numbership base round the world.

See the video of the interview with Mark: http://web2summit.blip.tv/#1453588

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