Ben Silbermann

Ben Silbermann On How Pinterest Will Translate User Aspiration Into Making Money

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Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann says that the startup isn’t making any money currently. However, he said the company is looking for ways to give marketers tools to help them understand what’s happening on the platform — and maybe, just maybe, make some money from them.

Pinterest has a ton of employees — about 130, Silbermann said — and the company has a valuation of $2.5 billion. Yet, when asked if the company makes any money, he acknowledged that it doesn’t. Of course, in a place like Silicon Valley, where companies like Facebook and Twitter had similar paths early on, that’s probably not so surprising.

So how’s Pinterest looking to change that?

The company is currently working on tools to help brands to understand what users are pinning and why. But as the team thinks about what it’s going to work on next, it’s thoughtful about how it will manage features that will help it make money, while also balancing the user experience.

“We’re trying to do something so that when the average person uses Pinterest, it has to make the service better,” Silbermann said. As a result, the company spends a lot of time reviewing feedback and understanding the unintended consequences of what it’s released.

At the same time, while Pinterest launched on the web, its users have become increasingly multiplatform. That means that Pinterest has to manage multiple form factors as it goes forward. That means providing users the right experience for viewing while sitting on the couch, while reading on a mobile phone, or even a tablet.

The good news for Pinterest is that it arrived at just the right time — Silbermann admits that the company has benefitted from Facebook and Twitter coming before it and getting users familiar with sharing things on those social networks. Now it’s able to provide a way for them to share things they’d like to do or have — making sharing aspirational.

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