Thursday, March 28, 2019

Zuckerberg's 'Insane' Decisions Make Sense In Hindsight

Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos explained how Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is able to consistently make decisions that only make sense with the benefit of hindsight.

"Mark Zuckerberg is sitting on more data about what people want to do online than anyone else in the world," said Stamos, who was speaking at the Washington Post's technology and policy conference on Wednesday evening.

According to CNBC, he cited the acquisitions of private messaging WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion, and photo-sharing service Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, as examples of bets "that people think are insane but turn out to be prophetic because he knows the direction the world is going," Stamos said.

Both deals have turned out to be highly valuable for the company. Instagram now boasts more than 1 billion active users per month and is popular among the younger audiences who are tuning out the core app. WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users and will probably form the basis of the company's new focus on private messaging, which Zuckerberg announced earlier this month.

Still, Stamos noted, all that data might not get Zuckerberg out of his current bind. Facebook and other tech companies in are managing a the thorny set of issues that involve balancing user privacy and user safety. It's often very challenging to do both, especially for a company of Facebook's scale, he said.

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