SAN FRANCISCO–Dressed in his usual hoodie and jeans, Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt today to thunderous applause, and the sound of about 25 feverish camera shutters.
Zuckerberg spoke with TechCrunch’s founder, Michael Arrington, about what has transpired with his company since the two of them talked at Disrupt last year.
The past year has been rocky for Facebook, as it continues to weather the aftershocks from its IPO in May of last year. Zuckerberg spoke candidly about the company’s mobile reinvention, agreeing with Arrington’s assessment that the social giant’s mobile offerings “sucked,” and when Arrington asked him to offer Twitter advice on its IPO, the Facebook CEO said he might not be the best person for the job.
“I’m kind of the person you want to ask last about how to make a smooth IPO,” Zuckerberg said.
But while the IPO was a tough experience for Facebook, Zuckerberg said it’s been a net positive for the company.
“I actually think that it’s made our company a lot stronger,” Zuckerberg said.
When asked if the company’s ethos of moving fast gets them in trouble, Zuckerberg said that it gets them into “tons of trouble,” but the benefits of iterating quickly are key to the company’s success.
“I’m of the belief that values are only useful when they’re controversial,” he said. “What I want to optimize for is learning the most and having the best products three, five, seven years from now.”
Speaking of controversial beliefs, Arrington was stunned by Zuckerberg’s childhood hero.
“When I was growing up, Bill Gates was my hero,” Zuckerberg said, citing Gates’s vision while he was leading Microsoft.
Blair Hanley Frank is a technology journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.