Pinterest CEO: Here's How We Became The Web's Next Big Thing [DECK]

Ben Silbermann

Ben Silbermann is the CEO and visionary cofounder behind Pinterest, which grew from 5,000 users in August 2010 to 17 million this month. 

With Instagram off the market following a $1 billion sale to Facebook, Pinterest is now the hot social startup in Silicon Valley. Investors are beating down its door, hoping to fund the company and ride it to a multi-billion dollar exit.

Earlier this year, Silbermann gave the keynote speech at the Alt Summit 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 45 minute talk was all about how he abandoned his long held plans to become a doctor, founded Pinterest during the recession, survived early failures, and built a company for the long-run.

Silbermann used slides to illustrate his story. We’ve got them and a few more here.

This is Ben Silbermann, the CEO of Pinterest. He's soft-spoken. He dresses like any old 20-something living in San Francisco or Brooklyn.

As a kid, Ben looked up to entrepreneurs like George Eastman, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs.

Especially this quote from the movie…

His job wasn't very different than his consulting job. He analysed data and made product design recommendations. Lots of spreadsheets again.

Ben got frustrated because Google wouldn't let him build products. He complained a lot.

Finally his girlfriend said: stop complaining and just go do it.

After quitting, he tried raising money, but it was really hard because rich people were investing in gold.

Ben eventually teamed up with a friend from college who was living in New York, Paul Sciarra.

This is a calendar full of appointments where Ben was told no by potential investors.

Two things got him through that hard time. 1) He felt like he couldn't go back to Google. 2) He didn't want to let Paul down.

These are some sketches from Evan's senior thesis…

… The two decided to work together and now Evan Sharp is called a cofounder of Pinterest.

Evan came up with the grid layout for Pinterest, says Ben.

Here are some steps in its evolution…

Or this tour-guide.

Or this collection of maps.

This guy, Dave, was actually living in the office. But he wasn't a Pinterest employee.

This poster was on the wall of the office. It was originally hung at Facebook, where Evan worked for a while.

Ben says this venn diagram explains how he's felt Ever since Pinterest started taking off

So…where is Pinterest going?

Ben says it'll help you connect with the most important things in your life.

The jeweler on the left puts all his future designs on Pinterest. Every day, the woman on the right finds a craft to do on Pinterest and then blogs about it.

Pinterest's mission is to get you offline and do the things you love.

Pinterest also wants to be a place where people discover beautiful things they didn't know you were looking for. Like this grocery store…

…or this bookstore…

…or MoMA, in New York.

Another shot of the team.

If you want, you can watch Ben's entire speech

Ben Silbermann Keynote Address at Alt Summit from ALT Summit on Vimeo.

So…want to know about the other Silicon Valley startup that got huge really fast?

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