Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Talks ‘Home’ Failure, Dodges Innovation Question

Facebook CEO

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently sat down at the company’s headquarters to speak with New York Times writer Farhad Manjoo.

Back in January, the social network announced Creative Labs, not to be confused with the speaker/sound card manufacturer.

Its first major project was iPhone app Paper, and Zuckerberg says the lab “is basically unbundling the big blue app” by branching out beyond what Facebook is mainly known for.

“I think you’ll see a combination of us making some of these things that have been products for a while into first-class experiences. And you’ll see us exploring new areas that we felt we didn’t have the room to do before.”

Graph Search and Home, the launcher replacement for Android, have yet to take off, which Mark explains why:

“With Graph Search, I think that modern search products have so much built into them that we knew it was going to be a five-year investment before we got anything really good and different. With Home, the reception was much slower than we expected. But it was a riskier thing. It’s very different from other apps, let’s say Paper or Messenger. The other thing that is important context to keep in mind is that, to some extent, most of these new things that we’re doing aren’t going to move any needles in our business for a very long time.”

Manjoo also asked “How do you feel about how innovative Facebook is?” and the young CEO responded on the topic of usage:

“The main Facebook usage is so big. About 20 percent of the time people spend on their phone is on Facebook.”

While Facebook definitely could have created its own WhatsApp competitor, it represented a different use case from Messenger:

“More than 10 billion messages a day that flow through Facebook’s messaging products. But I think we basically saw that the messaging space is bigger than we’d initially realized, and that the use cases that WhatsApp and Messenger have are more different than we had thought originally. Messenger is more about chatting with friends and WhatsApp is like an SMS replacement. Those things sound similar, but when you go into the nuances of how people use it, they are both very big in different markets.”

The social network has been rumored for some time to be working on its own anonymous app, and Zuckerberg left the possibility still on the table:

“There are different forms of identity you can use to form a relationship. You can use your real identity, or you can use phone numbers for something like WhatsApp, and pseudonyms for something like Instagram. But in any of those you’re not just sharing and consuming content, you are also building relationships with people and building an understanding of people. That’s core to how we think about the world. So anonymity is not the first thing that we’ll go do.”

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook does try to pay attention to user feedback, but when there are over one billion people, “it’s very hard.”

Photo credit: JD Lasica


Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a seasoned professional with a strong background in growth strategies and editorial responsibilities. Kokou has been instrumental in driving companies' expansion and fortifying their market presence. His academic credentials underscore his expertise; having studied Communication at the Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy), he later honed his skills in growth hacking at the Growth Tribe Academy (Amsterdam).


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