- A month after Snap badly missed on its quarterly earnings and saw its stock price plunge, CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel tried to reassure everyone that he knows what he’s doing.
- Spiegel said he knows that Snap must win back trust after a site redesign “disrupted” and alienated users.
- He has a long way to go to win back at least some investors. Snap’s stock trades at $US10.55, less than half of its 52-week high.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel did his best to calm fears and win back trust on Tuesday during an on-stage interview at the annual Code tech conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Following a redesign that proved unpopular with users, Snap’s revenues fell 6% below analyst expectations, and managers lowered guidance for the second quarter. The company’s stock has yet to recover. At close of market on Tuesday, Snap’s shares traded for $US10.55, less than half of the 52-week high of $US21.75.
Spiegel defended himself and Snap by noting they had faced criticism before after changing the app, but that those earlier decisions proved to be the correct ones. He suggested that the doubters should wait and see.
As for Wall Street, Spiegel seemed a little frustrated that investors were not hip to what he and Snap were trying to do.
“One thing that I underestimated at the time was how much it would impact investors,” Spiegel told Kara Swisher, the doyenne of tech journalism and one of the conference organisers. “They could not comprehend why we would totally change our product and redesign the service.”
Spiegel wasn’t the only conference speaker offering a mea culpa or trying to assuage fears. Sheryl Sandberg and Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s COO and CTO respectively, joined Swisher on stage and offered yet more apologies on behalf of the social networking site for the abuse of user data committed by Cambridge Analytica.
James Murdoch, the younger son of media baron Rupert Murdoch, put a happy face on his father’s decision to sell much of the family’s empire, including the 21st Century Fox film studio, 22 regional sports channels, and some cable brands (the family will retain control of its newspapers, the Fox broadcast network, and Fox News).
Recode senior editor and reporter Peter Kafka pressed Murdoch on why they had chosen to sell now. After all, Netflix, YouTube, and other digital distributors have wrested away market share from traditional broadcast and cable TV as well as the film industry. They have whet the public’s appetite for alternative forms of video distribution, and the future for big entertainment conglomerates appears more uncertain than ever.
Murdoch, however, made no mention of this. He said that the entity created by combining those assets Fox is selling with Disney’s makes sense.
Perhaps of all those who took the stage on Tuesday, it was Spiegel who had the most at stake. He must prove to the market as well as Snap’s users that he knows what he’s doing. That’s not easy when you’re the 27-year-old CEO of a public company.
During the interview, Swisher got Spiegel to reveal that the job is harder than he expected. In explaining how being CEO of a public company is different than a private one, Spiegel said:”It requires a bit more grit.”
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