A lire sur: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/can-facebook-innovate-a-conversation-with-mark-zuckerberg/
By FARHAD MANJOO,
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
By FARHAD MANJOO,
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
For my column this week about Facebook’s new approach to creating social apps, I spent some time talking to Mark E. Zuckerberg, the company’s co-founder and chief executive. We met in a conference room at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on a sunny Friday earlier this month.
After chatting briefly about virtual reality — he described his visit to Stanford’s virtual reality lab, which I’d recently tested out — he explained how Facebook is altering how the company creates and releases new apps.
Here is an edited transcript of our interview.
Can you tell me about Creative Labs?
So Facebook is not one thing. On desktop where we grew up, the mode that made the most sense was to have a website, and to have different ways of sharing built as features within a website. So when we ported to mobile, that’s where we started — this one big blue app that approximated the desktop presence.
But I think on mobile, people want different things. Ease of access is so important. So is having the ability to control which things you get notifications for. And the real estate is so small. In mobile there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose first-class experiences.
So what we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app.
But it’s not just unbundling features that you already have in the app. Isn’t it also about creating new kinds of experiences that you don’t have in the app? Was there a sense that the way you were doing things before wasn’t creating new experiences, and this sort of structure will?
I don’t know if I would view it as that binary. I think you’ll see a combination of us making some of these things that have been products for a while into first-class experiences. And you’ll see us exploring new areas that we felt we didn’t have the room to do before.
Over the last couple years you’ve done some big new things like Home and Graph Search that didn’t really work. And the other thing you’ve done is bought a lot of companies that do seem to have worked, like Instagram and WhatsApp. Are you creating enough new stuff? How do you feel about how innovative Facebook is?
With Graph Search, I think that modern search products have so much built into them that we knew it was going to be a five-year investment before we got anything really good and different. So far we’ve done these milestones. The first one was that we were able to search over structured connections on Facebook. That was important as a consumer product and also as infrastructure that we are using inside the company. The next focus is searching posts. All of this has been on desktop, and the real push is mobile. So I’m not that worried about it. I think the real question will be how effective it will be on mobile once post-search works. I think that’s a five-year thing. We have to think about it over a longer period of time.
With Home, the reception was much slower than we expected. But it was a riskier thing. It’s very different from other apps, let’s say Paper or Messenger. For those, you install it, and if it’s useful you’ll go back to it and use it. Home is your lock screen. When you install it, it’s really active, and if it does anything that you don’t like, then you’ll uninstall it.
The other thing that is important context to keep in mind is that, to some extent, most of these new things that we’re doing aren’t going to move any needles in our business for a very long time. The main Facebook usage is so big. About 20 percent of the time people spend on their phone is on Facebook. From that perspective, Messenger or Paper can do extremely well but they won’t move any needles.
On the other hand, WhatsApp is huge — huger than Facebook’s Messenger. And you bought that because you think it will move the needle someday. So, tell me about that acquisition, but also tell me: Why couldn’t Facebook invent that? Do you worry that Facebook didn’t invent that?
Well, so there are a bunch of things here. One thing is that Facebook Messenger is actually a really successful thing. More than 10 billion messages a day that flow through Facebook’s messaging products. But I think we basically saw that the messaging space is bigger than we’d initially realized, and that the use cases that WhatsApp and Messenger have are more different than we had thought originally. Messenger is more about chatting with friends and WhatsApp is like an SMS replacement. Those things sound similar, but when you go into the nuances of how people use it, they are both very big in different markets.
I think you want to look at the things that we do in three stages. First, there’s Facebook the app. A billion people or more are using it, and it is a business.
Next there’s Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Search — these are use cases that people use a lot, and they will probably be the next things that will become businesses at Facebook. But you want to fast-forward three years before that will actually be a meaningful thing.
Then there are things that are nascent, that we’re inventing from scratch, like Home, Paper or any of the other Creative Labs work we’re going to do. Maybe in three to five years those will be in the stage where Instagram and Messenger are now.
So what we want to do is build a pipeline of experiences for people to have. It would be a mistake to compare any of them in different life cycles to other ones. They’re in different levels.
Instagram and WhatsApp are not going to be branded as Facebook apps. So eventually part of your business will be apps that people don’t think of as Facebook. Is that the way to think about the future of Facebook. Is it like a conglomerate?
One of the things that we’re trying to do with Creative Labs and all our experiences is explore things that aren’t all tied to Facebook identity. Some things will be, but not everything will have to be, because there are some sets of experiences that are just better with other identities. I think you should expect to see more of that, where apps are going to be tied to different audiences that you can share with.
We’ve seen a number of apps that are playing with anonymity, and apps like Snapchat that are ephemeral. Are those modes interesting to you? Do you expect Facebook will do things with anonymity?
I don’t know. I do think more private communication is a bigger space than people realize. You were asking if I was surprised that WhatsApp and Messenger’s use cases were so different. They fit into this framework of private communication. That’s what people like to do, and that’s why there are so many different services. I think there is going to be even more stuff like that.
Anonymity is different. I’m not going to say it can’t work, because I think that is too extreme. But I tend to think some of these interactions are better rooted in some sense of building relationships. There are different forms of identity you can use to form a relationship. You can use your real identity, or you can use phone numbers for something like WhatsApp, and pseudonyms for something like Instagram. But in any of those you’re not just sharing and consuming content, you are also building relationships with people and building an understanding of people. That’s core to how we think about the world. So anonymity is not the first thing that we’ll go do.
Can I ask one personal question? You’re turning 30 this year. And a number of these apps are being used by people who are way younger than that. When you started Facebook you were in the audience of people using Facebook. And now you’re not for apps like Snapchat or some of the newer kinds of apps. Do you feel like you are in touch with the audience that’s using some of these newer things?
It’s not clear to me that when you look at younger folks or older folks that there’s any trend of apps starting in one audience and going on to be more mainstream. Pinterest’s early users were not tech people and not younger people, and it was very female-centric. Some of these other services might start with teens. But I think Twitter′s early strength wasn’t younger folks. One of the companies I think is the most interesting right now is Tesla. People have been trying to doelectric cars for years. They realized that they could deliver a very high-quality product if they marketed it as an upscale thing.
Oh, and most people who use Facebook have not been my age through the majority of my time here.
But understanding who you serve is always a very important problem, and it only gets harder the more people that you serve. We try to pay a lot of attention to this by a combination of very rigorous quantitative and qualitative feedback. But if you’re serving 1.2 billion people, it’s very hard.
And I think the age thing is probably not the biggest one I worry about. I’m focused on Internet.org and how to connect all these people. But my life is so different from the person who’s going to be getting Internet in two years. One of the things that we do is ask product managers to go travel to an emerging-market country to see how people who are getting on the Internet use it. They learn the most interesting things. People ask questions like, ‘It says here I’m supposed to put in my password — what’s a password?’ For us, that’s a mind-boggling thing.