Mark Zuckerberg will have his first public interview since Facebook’s IPO in May at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.He will be speaking for almost 30 minutes starting at 2pm PST.
This appearance is one of the most highly anticipated tech CEO interviews in recent history, due to the stock price’s move since the IPO and the silence by the company imposed by the “quiet period”.
Tech industry pundits and tech investors will likely be glued to what he will say (or not say).
With that in mind, I think these are 10 Top Issues people would like to see him address tomorrow.
1) Long Term Vision.
While we’ve all seen his letter to shareholders in the S-1, I think people would like to see him expound on his long term vision of the company. How, specifically, can FB become the “open graph” platform for social media and what’s the company’s competitive edge vs other “platforms”? What will Facebook look like in 5 years and how do they get there?
2) Business Optionality.
Much has been written about what businesses Facebook COULD expand into quite easily, such as: search, ecommerce, subscriptions, other payments, etc. Which of these options would make the most sense, and why hasn’t more already been done in achieving leverage of Facebook’s massive user base outside the core? How far out are these realities?
3) Core Ad Business.
The bears on Facebook state that it’s just not a good platform for advertising monetization, since users aren’t in the shopping mind frame when they visit. GM compounded this thesis during the IPO. What are the metrics he can cite to disprove this thesis; bigger picture, why is a social platform a good environment for advertisers / consumers?
With over 50% of Facebook’s user base accessing via mobile (and growing), what is his vision on how FB can monetise this traffic, both in the near term and longer term? Does the mobile phenomenon change that value / potential of Facebook or how does FB even use the trend to its advantage?
Given the global trend to mobile and tablets, does it make sense to form closer partnerships to help capitalise on the trends (Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, Netflix, Spotify, content, etc)? If not, how can Facebook execute on this trend or accelerate their process without large partnerships?
6) Vertical Integration.
Most of Facebook’s larger competitors are vertically integrated with software and hardware (Amazon: kindle, Apple: iPhone, Google: Nexus, etc). Is Facebook at a disadvantage not having this vertical integration? If not, why not when the others have felt compelled to head this direction?
The price tag for Instagram was expensive on any measure. Most seem to think it was likely a good move. However, what was it specifically that he saw which made the move so urgent and strategic? How did Instagram threaten Facebook, and what prevents others (Path, Pinterest, etc) from posing similar threats?
8) Competitive Threats.
Which company does he see as the greatest threat to Facebook? Clearly Google’s size and social initiatives pose some risk, but what about other ecosystems like: Apple (gaming / app centre), Amazon (gaming / apps / content streaming)? One may argue that even more advanced HTML5 websites can offer gaming platforms, which would further weaken FB as a major platform / distributor of games.
While FB may have a great vision on how it can grow new businesses, fortify its competitive advantages, offer new advertising products, and grow into its original $100b valuation, what will be the necessary cost structure to get there? Can the company keep margins near current levels, or will the necessary investment make FB a less profitable company?
10) Thiel Stock Sale.
A lot has been written about why Peter Thiel sold in the first window, with the stock already down 50%. As an investor, many can excuse the sale. However, as a director of the company, some can read it as a bad signaling issue. How can investors get comfortable that he didn’t sell because he sees a bad outlook, or that other insiders won’t be selling large amounts of shares as the other windows unlock?
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