Within the first minutes of his first public speaking engagement since the IPO, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the stock has been a disappointment. "The performance of the stock has been disappointing, and we care about our shareholders," Zuckerberg told interviewer Mike Arrington. We had heard that Zuckerberg was in pain, due to the falling share-price, but it's interesting to see a man who used to never talk business mentioning the shareholders within the first question at this TechCrunch disrupt conference panel. And that isn't the only indication of a changed Zuck, with the CEO taking the stage without his signature hoodie, a symbol of his hacker ways. Overall, he seems like a more seasoned leader, with succinct, well-said answers, and none of the sweating that happened to him at the AllThingsD conference a couple years ago. The CEO act seems to be working, too, because the company's shares are up around 3 percentage points, as of this writing, in after-hours trading.
While Zuck doesn't like the way things are going, however, he isn't as pessimistic as the press, believing in the value of his company over time. "We're going to do the things that we think are going to build value in the long term," he explained while mentioned that new mobile-first effort we have been hearing about. As for mobile, Zuckerberg admits another failing of the company's: Using HTML 5 for their app. "It's really painful. It's one of the biggest mistake if not the biggest strategic mistake we made. We're coming out of that." But, still believes the company will make its money that way, suggesting that "per person per person on mobile, we think we're going to make more money on them than on desktop." Beyond that, he doesn't give too many specifics about what's next in that department. It sounds like the mobile strategy involves getting things to work better on phones. What it does not include, however, is an actual phone. Even though, as The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal points out on Twitter, he could make a lot of money. "Zuck, if you had Apple's profit margins on phones, 10 million phones would move the needle! That'd be billions of dollars," he tweeted.
Beyond the standard mobile stuff, Zuckerberg did mention one other interesting development: Search. "Facebook is uniquely positioned to give you answers," he said, explaining that the company has a team working on it. (No wonder Facebook has a special relationship with Apple, and not Google.)
We're continuing to monitor Zuckerberg's session and will be updating.