Ben Silbermann has found himself in a pretty swell spot. He's the CEO of Pinterest -- a company that was recently valued at $2.5 billion, despite not making a single cent to date. He took the stage today at D11 in Southern California, answering questions shot from Kara Swisher. One of the key points he made was on the topic of mobile. Swisher was asking about Pinterest's mobile efforts, and Silbermann suggested that in the very near future, asking such a thing would be borderline silly. "It'd be like asking a business today if they're a dot-com business," he said, suggesting that every business created in 2013 should absolutely have some sort of presence on the web.
It's perhaps due to the shocking uptake of Pinterest's apps. Said Silbermann: "A growing number [of users] use Pinterest exclusively on their phone or tablet. When we released our mobile apps, we were taking bets on how long it'd take for those to surpass our web traffic. I figured it'd take a few weeks. It was literally the day it was released [that the traffic was passed]. I think it's because phones and tablets are largely always around you, whereas you're not always around a [traditional] computer."
It's perhaps the token example of how consumers at large are moving away from needing a full-fledged machine at their fingertips, and the redefining of what a "computer" is for the newest generations.
Silbermann also said that companies won't soon identify as "a mobile business," noting that "the average consumer will soon expect that every service is available on every platform. More and more, that's a phone or a tablet or a phablet." Moving along, Swisher asked about the business model of the company -- of the lack thereof, actually. Silbermann's take?
"Right now we don't make money -- it makes bookkeeping more straightforward. But, when we think about our mission -- we think there's a direct link between what people buy and what they want to purchase in the future. When we do announce our monetization plans, we want to make it easier for people to discover things they love -- we want to help people take the next step." Obviously, the next step would be a purchase, and affiliate links are big business when you're thinking about something with Pinterest's scale. "We've been trying to give [partners] better tools; we haven't announced the specific way we're doing it. We have a lot of plans that we're experimenting with. We want the average person to use it and think that it makes the experience of using Pinterest better. One of the things I've learned is to be receptive of feedback. We don't want to commodify someone's passions."
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