Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, closed off his interview with Mike Arrington today at TC Disrupt SF with a very modest assessment of himself and what Facebook (reminder: world’s biggest social network; pushing 1 billion users) is doing, and in some way, offered an explanation for the company’s hammered stock price, down by half since its IPO in May.
“I would rather be underestimated,” he said. “I think a bunch of people are underestimating us.”
Speaking publicly for the first time since the company’s IPO, he only slightly belittled the fact that the world’s biggest social network is pushing 1 billion users worldwide at the moment, but also a sign of how it wants to keep its startup face on as it continues to mature and grow — two trends that often lead to slower execution and innovation.
His logic is a kind of variation on the classic pragmatic saying from Benjamin Franklin about optimists and pessimists (the latter being better because when things work out you are pleasantly surprised). The idea here is that when people are not expecting too much of you, you might actually surprise them.
“There are times when people are optimistic and pessimistic,” he said, noting that he would rather be in the pessimistic camp.
The comments are also a variation on the startup mantra that Facebook has adopted and is trying to adhere to as it continues to grow and mature: Stay focused & keep shipping.
“I just want to keep building good stuff,” he said.
He also noted that in 10-20 years the legacy he would like to leave is that Facebook “connected the world” and enabled people to “share the stuff we want to with the world.”
Check out our full coverage of Mark Zuckerberg’s chat at Disrupt SF below.