There is a bright side toFacebook‘s slide: It was a hard-earned lesson for the company’s typically tight-lipped and evasive co-founder and CEO,Mark Zuckerberg. And going forward he is going to open up, even just a little.
His chat today at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event was notable in its topics. Interviewer Michael Arrington did not hold punches, but rather pushed the Zuck on touchy subjects including the stock price and the company’s limping mobile strategy. And brilliantly, Zuckerberg was unusally candid.
He said the stock’s fall has been a “disappointment” that surely doesn’t help morale inside the company. When Arrington pressed Zuckerberg on Facebook’s mobile mis-steps, he was even more forthcoming, saying that “the biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native.”
The company is now doubling down on its efforts to code Facebook’s app for Apple‘s iOS and Google‘s Android platforms. Zuckerberg is very optimistic on mobile ads as a strong source of revenue growth, pointing out that Facebook’s early experiments are performing better. The details on how remain vague.
Zuckerberg lately has gotten the reputation of the billionaire exec in the ivory tower, wearing a hoodie of course. The knock was that he didn’t seem to care about his public investors and was rather oblivious to the obvious shortcomings of Facebook’s mobile technology.
Today set the record straight. The Zuck does care, or at least says he does. And maybe, just maybe, he’s willing to show faults in order to prove to us all that Facebook can come roaring back. To read a blow by blow of the interview, see my colleague Tomio Geron‘s live coverage. Facebook’s stock price swung up 3% in after-hours trading.