The Facebook of today—and tomorrow—is far more expansive than it was just a few years ago.
It’s easy to forget that when the company filed to go public on February 1, 2012, it was just a single website and an app that the experts weren’t sure could ever be profitable.
Now, “a billion and a half people use the main, core Facebook service, and that’s growing.”
“But 900 million people use WhatsApp, and that’s an important part of the whole ecosystem now.” Zuckerberg says. “Four hundred million people use Instagram, 700 million people use Messenger, and 700 million people use Groups. Increasingly, we’re just going to go more and more in this direction.”
Zuckerberg is betting his company’s future on three major technology initiatives … One is developing advanced artificial intelligence … second is virtual reality … the third is bringing the Internet, including Facebook, of course, to the 4 billion–plus humans who aren’t yet connected …
Zuckerberg isn’t interested in doing everything—just the things he views as deeply related to his company’s central vision, and crucial to it. “There are different ways to do innovation,” he says, drawing a stark contrast without ever mentioning Page, Google, or Alphabet. “You can plant a lot of seeds, not be committed to any particular one of them, but just see what grows. And this really isn’t how we’ve approached this. We go mission-first, then focus on the pieces we need and go deep on them, and be committed to them.”
Facebook’s mission is “to give everyone in the world the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” as Zuckerberg says, explaining that he is now spending a third of his time overseeing these future initiatives. “These things can’t fail. We need to get them to work in order to achieve the mission.”
The mandate for the 50-person AI team is also vintage Zuckerberg: Aim ridiculously high, and focus on where you want to go over the long term. “One of our goals for the next five to 10 years, is to basically get better than human level at all of the primary human senses: vision, hearing, language, general cognition. Taste and smell, we’re not that worried about,” he deadpans. “For now.”
One of the company’s guiding principles is “Done is better than perfect.”
Zuckerberg has earned the right to trust his gut. “At the beginning of Facebook, I didn’t have an idea of how this was going to be a good business,” he tells me. “I just thought it was a good thing to do.” He pauses. “Very few people thought it was going to be a good business early on, which is why almost no one else tried to do it.”
Today, everyone understands: Not worrying about whether Facebook was a good business turned out to be a great way to do business. Zuckerberg has recalibrated his ambitions accordingly. As Andreessen tells me, “This is a guy who’s 31. He’s got a 40- or 50-year runway. I don’t even know if there’s a precedent.”
Source: FastCompany (it’s a very in-depth article)
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