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.

[slideshow]
[slide
permalink=”this-is-ben-silbermann-the-ceo-of-pinterest-hes-soft-spoken-he-dresses-like-any-old-twenty-something-living-in-san-francisco-or-brooklyn-1″
title=”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.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97162decad048c0b000027″
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[slide
permalink=”ben-grew-up-in-iowa-most-of-iowa-looks-like-this-he-says-2″
title=”Ben grew up in Iowa. “Most of Iowa looks like this,” he says.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97162eeab8ea3c46000002″
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[slide
permalink=”he-was-raised-in-des-moines-which-is-actually-a-really-really-beautiful-city-3″
title=”He was raised in Des Moines, “which is actually a really really beautiful city.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97162e6bb3f77509000003″
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]
[slide
permalink=”both-of-bens-parents-are-doctors-both-of-his-sisters-are-too-i-always-assumed-i-was-going-to-be-a-doctor-i-never-even-thought-twice-about-it-4″
title=”Both of Ben’s parents are doctors. Both of his sisters are too. “I always assumed I was going to be a doctor. I never even thought twice about it.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4da4600ccadcbb1d14050000″
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]
[slide
permalink=”as-a-kid-ben-looked-up-to-entrepreneurs-like-george-eastman-walt-disney-and-steve-jobs-5″
title=”As a kid, Ben looked up to entrepreneurs like George Eastman, Walt Disney, and Steve Jobs.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97162f6bb3f7370500000e”
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]
[slide
permalink=”but-he-didnt-identify-with-them-i-looked-up-to-them-same-way-i-looked-up-to-michael-jordan-6″
title=”But he didn’t identify with them. “I looked up to them same way I looked up to Michael Jordan.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f46b577ecad049e2c000009″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”so-ben-stayed-on-the-path-to-medicine–until-his-junior-year-when-he-decided-to-get-into-business-7″
title=”So Ben stayed on the path to medicine – until his junior year, when he decided to get into “business.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97162fecad040010000000″
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-got-a-job-as-a-consultant-i-didnt-know-what-i-was-signing-up-for-he-ended-up-making-spreadsheets-like-this-one-all-day-8″
title=”Ben got a job as a consultant. “I didn’t know what I was signing up for.” He ended up making spreadsheets, like this one “all day.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971630ecad04ef0f000001″
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]
[slide
permalink=”he-got-put-in-the-firms-it-group-because-thats-where-there-were-openings-he-found-himself-reading-techcrunch-i-remember-had-this-feeling-that-this-was-the-story-of-my-time-and-i-was-in-the-wrong-place-9″
title=”He got put in the firm’s IT group because that’s where there were openings. He found himself reading TechCrunch. “I remember had this feeling that this was the story of my time and I was in the wrong place.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4cd971144bd7c807660a0000″
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]
[slide
permalink=”the-movie-pirates-of-silicon-valley-about-steve-jobs-and-bill-gates-inspired-him-to-move-west-10″
title=”The movie “Pirates Of Silicon Valley,” about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, inspired him to move west.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4e566a546bb3f7e20900000b”
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[slide
permalink=”especially-this-quote-from-the-movie-11″
title=”Especially this quote from the movie…”
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-loves-the-valley-this-is-his-local-cafe-coupa-cafe-day-and-night-people-are-building-products-12″
title=”Ben loves the Valley. This is his local cafe, Coupa Cafe. “Day and night, people are building products.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971631ecad04730700002c”
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]
[slide
permalink=”he-says-of-moving-to-the-valley-being-close-to-people-that-inspire-you-is-a-very-good-first-step-13″
title=”He says of moving to the Valley: “being close to people that inspire you is a very good first step.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163169bedd800f000031″
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-got-a-job-at-google-in-customer-support-because-i-was-more-excited-than-the-previous-applicant-14″
title=”Ben got a job at Google in customer support, “because I was more excited than the previous applicant.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163269bedd020500003d”
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”he-told-his-interviewer-i-really-really-love-the-internet-15″
title=”He told his interviewer: “I really really love the Internet.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716336bb3f76707000009″
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]
[slide
permalink=”his-job-wasnt-very-different-than-his-consulting-job-he-analyzed-data-and-made-product-design-recommendations-lots-of-spreadsheets-again-16″
title=”His job wasn’t very different than his consulting job. He analysed data and made product design recommendations. Lots of spreadsheets again.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4c81578a7f8b9a9f0a020000″
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-says-google-is-a-special-place-because-the-cofounders-dream-really-big-17″
title=”Ben says Google is a “special place,” because the cofounders “dream really big.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4b1d4e9b0000000000e15726″
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]
[slide
permalink=”there-arent-companies-thatgo-take-a-picture-of-every-street-in-the-world-and-put-it-online-18″
title=””There aren’t companies that…go take a picture of every street in the world and put it online.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4efe1b0a69bedd6c2700000b”
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-got-frustrated-because-google-wouldnt-let-him-build-products-he-complained-a-lot-19″
title=”Ben got frustrated because Google wouldn’t let him build products. He complained a lot.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4e31af016bb3f7de6200004d”
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]
[slide
permalink=”finally-his-girlfriend-said-stop-complaining-and-just-go-do-it-20″
title=”Finally his girlfriend said: stop complaining and just go do it.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9741b2eab8ea300d000035″
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-says-if-youre-really-lucky-in-life-you-have-someone-to-call-you-out-on-your-own-bullshit-21″
title=”Ben says: “If you’re really lucky in life you have someone to call you out on your own bullshit.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716336bb3f77309000003″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-says-after-quitting-google-he-felt-great-but-a-week-later-the-entire-economy-collapsed-22″
title=”Ben says after quitting Google he felt great, but “A week later, the entire economy collapsed.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971634ecad049a09000021″
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]
[slide
permalink=”friends-who-were-going-to-quit-and-join-him-were-suddenly-drinking-free-juice-at-google-and-saying-oh-how-is-it-out-there-23″
title=”Friends who were going to quit and join him were suddenly “drinking free juice at Google and saying ‘Oh, how is it out there?””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97425569bedd2542000041″
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]
[slide
permalink=”after-quitting-he-tried-raising-money-but-it-was-really-hard-because-rich-people-were-investing-in-gold-24″
title=”After quitting, he tried raising money, but it was really hard because rich people were investing in gold.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4ebc400d69beddf41d000031″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”ben-eventually-teamed-up-with-a-friend-from-college-who-was-living-in-new-york-paul-sciarra-25″
title=”Ben eventually teamed up with a friend from college who was living in New York, Paul Sciarra.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4e2f1a616bb3f7bf72000011″
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]
[slide
permalink=”together-they-came-up-with-a-product-called-tote-a-catalogue-that-was-on-the-phone-26″
title=”Together, they came up with a product called Tote, “a catalogue that was on the phone.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163469bedd9a12000005″
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]
[slide
permalink=”everything-seemed-really-hard-we-couldnt-get-money-apps-had-just-been-released-so-the-approval-process-was-taking-months-27″
title=””Everything seemed really hard. We couldn’t’ get money. Apps had just been released so the approval process was taking months.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716346bb3f72c0300001f”
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]
[slide
permalink=”this-is-a-calendar-full-of-appointments-where-ben-was-told-no-by-potential-investors-28″
title=”This is a calendar full of appointments where Ben was told no by potential investors.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971634ecad04020e000008″
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]
[slide
permalink=”two-things-got-him-through-that-hard-time-1-he-felt-like-he-couldnt-go-back-to-google-2-he-didnt-want-to-let-paul-down-29″
title=”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.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4e2f1a616bb3f7bf72000011″
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[slide
permalink=”after-finally-getting-a-check-from-an-investor-ben-called-investors-whod-say-no-and-told-them-youre-going-to-miss-out-this-is-the-hot-deal-it-worked-30″
title=”After finally getting a check from an investor, Ben called investors who’d say no and told them: “You’re going to miss out, this is the hot deal.” It worked.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163469bedd800f000034″
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]
[slide
permalink=”after-a-while-ben-and-paul-pivoted-away-from-tote-to-pinterest-id-always-thought-that-the-things-you-collect-say-so-much-about-who-you-are-ben-says-this-childhood-bug-collection-is-pinterest-10-31″
title=”After a while, Ben and Paul pivoted away from Tote to Pinterest. “I’d always thought that the things you collect say so much about who you are.” Ben says this childhood bug collection is “Pinterest 1.0.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971635ecad04f60f000004″
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]
[slide
permalink=”visiting-a-friend-in-new-york-ben-met-a-friend-of-a-friend-evan-sharp-they-talked-about-pinterest-it-was-like-he-was-the-only-who-understands-what-i-was-saying-32″
title=”Visiting a friend in New York, Ben met a friend of a friend, Evan Sharp. They talked about Pinterest. “It was like he was the only who understands what [I] was saying.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971635ecad040f0e000003″
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[slide
permalink=”these-are-some-sketches-from-evans-senior-thesis-33″
title=”These are some sketches from Evan’s senior thesis…”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716356bb3f7590900000c”
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]
[slide
permalink=”-the-two-decided-to-work-together-and-now-evan-sharp-is-called-a-cofounder-of-pinterest-34″
title=”… The two decided to work together and now Evan Sharp is called a cofounder of Pinterest.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716356bb3f76607000008″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”evan-came-up-with-the-grid-layout-for-pinterest-says-ben-35″
title=”Evan came up with the grid layout for Pinterest, says Ben.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163669beddf414000009″
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]
[slide
permalink=”here-are-some-steps-in-its-evolution-36″
title=”Here are some steps in its evolution…”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716366bb3f77309000006″
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[slide
permalink=”-37″
title=”…”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163669beddf504000047″
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]
[slide
permalink=”when-pinterest-launched-ben-sent-it-to-all-his-friends-in-california–and-actually-no-one-got-it-he-decided-it-was-too-late-to-go-back-this-is-the-very-first-pin-put-on-the-site-in-january-2010-38″
title=”When Pinterest launched, Ben sent it to all his friends in California – “and actually, no one got it.” He decided it was too late to go back. This is the very first “pin” put on the site, in January 2010.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163769bedd8812000004″
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]
[slide
permalink=”most-early-users-came-from-des-moines-i-suspect-because-my-mom-was-telling-all-her-patients-says-ben-39″
title=”Most early users came from Des Moines. “I suspect because my mum was telling all her patients,” says Ben.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4e00e822cadcbbb443180000″
caption=””
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]
[slide
permalink=”in-may-2010-a-woman-named-victoria-helped-organize-a-program-called-pin-it-forward–a-chain-letter-where-bloggers-would-exchange-pinboards-about-what-home-meant-to-them-it-was-an-inflection-point-40″
title=”In May 2010, a woman named Victoria helped organise a program called “Pin It Forward” – a “chain letter” where bloggers would exchange pinboards about what home meant to them. It was an inflection point.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163769bedde80900002b”
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[slide
permalink=”suddenly-people-started-using-pinterest-in-ways-the-company-hadnt-expected-like-say-this-board-things-that-look-like-the-deathstar-41″
title=”Suddenly people started using Pinterest in ways the company hadn’t expected. Like say this board: “Things That Look Like The Deathstar.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716376bb3f77b07000009″
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[slide
permalink=”or-this-tour-guide-42″
title=”Or this tour-guide.”
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9716376bb3f76609000000″
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[slide
permalink=”or-this-collection-of-maps-43″
title=”Or this collection of maps.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971638ecad049a09000024″
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]
[slide
permalink=”this-is-the-first-pinterest-meet-up-organized-by-victoria-now-the-companys-community-manager-ben-says-that-was-the-moment-where-i-was-like-weve-got-it-44″
title=”This is the first Pinterest meet-up, organised by Victoria, now the company’s community manager. Ben says: “That was the moment where I was like, ‘We’ve got it.'””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971638ecad049609000043″
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[slide
permalink=”pinterest-couldnt-afford-an-office-at-the-time-so-it-got-a-tiny-house-45″
title=”Pinterest couldn’t afford an office at the time, so it got a “tiny house.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163869beddf004000031″
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[slide
permalink=”this-guy-dave-was-actually-living-in-the-office-but-he-wasnt-a-pinterest-employee-46″
title=”This guy, Dave, was actually living in the office. But he wasn’t a Pinterest employee.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971638eab8eac44300000e”
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[slide
permalink=”evan-got-the-coveted-door-seat-because-you-have-to-treat-your-designer-really-well-says-ben-47″
title=””Evan got the coveted door seat because you have to treat your designer really well,” says Ben.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163969bedd1515000006″
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[slide
permalink=”this-is-a-picture-of-the-office-conference-room-48″
title=””This is a picture of the office conference room.””
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image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f971639eab8ea014400000d”
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[slide
permalink=”this-poster-was-on-the-wall-of-the-office-it-was-originally-hung-at-facebook-where-evan-worked-for-a-while-49″
title=”This poster was on the wall of the office. It was originally hung at Facebook, where Evan worked for a while.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163969bedde31400000b”
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[slide
permalink=”ben-says-this-venn-diagram-explains-how-hes-felt-ever-since-pinterest-started-taking-off-50″
title=”Ben says this venn diagram explains how he’s felt Ever since Pinterest started taking off”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163969bedda712000008″
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[slide
permalink=”he-says-he-feels-this-way-because-technology-is-like-highlander-there-can-be-only-one-first-place-takes-all-second-place-takes-very-little-value-51″
title=”He says he feels this way because technology is like Highlander: “there can be only one. First place takes all; second place takes very little value.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f9744db69bedd3d5d00003f”
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[slide
permalink=”sowhere-is-pinterest-going-52″
title=”So…where is Pinterest going?”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163a6bb3f7ed7d000035″
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[slide
permalink=”ben-says-itll-help-you-connect-with-the-most-important-things-in-your-life-53″
title=”Ben says it’ll help you connect with the most important things in your life.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163a69beddd50c000036″
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[slide
permalink=”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-54″
title=”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.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163a69bedda71200000b”
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[slide
permalink=”pinterests-mission-is-to-get-you-offline-and-do-the-things-you-love-55″
title=”Pinterest’s mission is to get you offline and do the things you love.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163a6bb3f7320500004b”
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[slide
permalink=”pinterest-also-wants-to-be-a-place-where-people-discover-beautiful-things-they-didnt-know-you-were-looking-for-like-this-grocery-store-56″
title=”Pinterest also wants to be a place where people discover beautiful things they didn’t know you were looking for. Like this grocery store…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163a6bb3f73a0300001b”
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[slide
permalink=”or-this-bookstore-57″
title=”…or this bookstore…”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163beab8eac443000011″
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[slide
permalink=”or-moma-in-new-york-58″
title=”…or MoMA, in New York.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163beab8ea973a00003c”
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]
[slide
permalink=”these-days-pinterest-has-a-new-real-office-says-ben-heres-the-space-59″
title=”These days, Pinterest has a new “real” office, says Ben. Here’s the space.”
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163b6bb3f7670700000c”
caption=””
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[slide
permalink=”and-heres-the-team-now-into-double-digits-60″
title=”And here’s the team, now into “double digits.””
content=””
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163cecad04f40f000004″
caption=””
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[slide
permalink=”another-shot-of-the-team-61″
title=”Another shot of the team.”
content=””
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]
[slide
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title=”If you want, you can watch Ben’s entire speech”
content=”Ben Silbermann Keynote Address at Alt Summit from ALT Summit on Vimeo.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f97163c6bb3f76007000004″
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]
[slide
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title=”So…want to know about the other Silicon Valley startup that got huge really fast?”
content=”Instagram Cofounder: Here’s How We Scaled Into A Billion Dollar Company [DECK]
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4f831f99eab8eab33200001e”
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]
[/slideshow]