Facebook CEO has "made every mistake you can make"

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney.com) -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he's made "every mistake you can make" in business, but love of the product keeps users faithful.

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday night, conference moderator John Battelle pressed Zuckerberg on the social network's past failings.

"The Facebook trait seems to be pushing the envelope so far and then saying, 'Oops,'" Battelle said. "Is that an intentional point of view? That I didn't ask permission, but now I ask forgiveness?"

Zuckerberg, a young CEO at 26 years old, conceded he has "made every mistake you can make. But people allow those mistakes because they love [Facebook]."

Zuckerberg appeared more at ease than he usually is at conferences, and he readily admitted that Facebook is still figuring out the best way to handle issues like data privacy.

"As far as I can tell, Facebook Connect has enabled the greatest portability of data ever created," Zuckerberg said, referring to users' ability to interact on other sites using their Facebook identities.

For other data portability options, users can download their Facebook data into a zip file. Zuckerberg said the idea was to give users control over their information, but he admitted, "I'm not sure we're 100% right on this."

Despite Facebook's imperfection, its users are loyal: Zuckerberg said more than 50% of Facebook's 500 million users visit the site at least once a day. As a result, he said, the idea of social is now woven into the online experience.

"Over the next five years, most industries are going to be rethought to be social," Zuckerberg said. "Social makes any Web application a whole order of magnitude more engaging than anything else."

Gaming developers best embody that philosophy, Zuckerberg said, citing four successful companies that were built around the Facebook platform: Zynga, Playfish, Playdom and Crowdstar.

"All four are really good companies, too," Zuckerberg said. "Zynga's market cap is now bigger than EA's. That's massive disruption.

Audience members laughed when Zuckerberg called Facebook a "small" company in pointing out that the site has "only a few hundred" engineers.

"If something doesn't have to be built by us, we'd rather it wasn't," Zuckerberg said. "Apple and Google will come up with an idea and just build it, but we're more decentralized. Why not mobilize some young entrepreneur to build their own thing, build their own company?"

Moderator Battelle asked whether Zuckerberg is "interested in the business social graph, connections between businesses" -- i.e., a B2B social network. But Zuckerberg looked blank, saying, "I don't know what that means."

Zuckerberg also rehashed Monday's announcement of a Facebook messaging system, which combines messages across Facebook, email and text.

He said a Facebook bug that surfaced earlier Tuesday, which mistakenly deleted legitimate user accounts, was not related to the messaging system.

Battelle asked the question that's constantly buzzing in Silicon Valley: When will Facebook go public?

Zuckerberg said flatly: "Don't hold your breath." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,827.75 12.81 0.07%
Nasdaq 4,787.32 29.07 0.61%
S&P 500 2,072.83 5.80 0.28%
Treasuries 2.23 -0.03 -1.15%
Data as of 10:03pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Kinder Morgan Inc 42.32 0.00 0.00%
Apple Inc 119.00 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 77.62 1.99 2.63%
Pfizer Inc 31.10 0.00 0.00%
Bank of America Corp... 17.11 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Nov 26

Sections

The European Parliament has voted to break up Google and weaken its dominance across the region. More

Warren called it "hypocritical" for the White House to oppose corporate inversions but nominate a person who has worked in this area. More

Two pilots encountered drones while flying over college football games and another pilot saw one while flying over the Hollywood sign. More

Natalie's Cakes and More has raised $84,000 through GoFundMe after protests trash store. More

Retailers are promising big deals this Black Friday, but are the savings actually worth the shopping mayhem? Test your deal-sniffing skills. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.