Facebook’s Zuckerberg Acknowledges “Missteps”

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 11 2012 8:10 PM

Facebook’s Zuckerberg: I Would Rather People Underestimate Us

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged he is disappointed over his company's share price but insisted he is optimistic about the future

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Breaking his silence for the first time since his company’s devastating IPO, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage Monday and said he’s looking forward to proving his critics wrong, insisting there’s lots of room for the company to keep growing. Zuckerberg continues to believe the company’s future is in mobile phones, but insisted that he doesn’t believe Facebook needs to build its own smartphones, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"I would rather be in a cycle where people underestimate us," Zuckerberg said. "I think it gives us the latitude to go out and make some big bets." The 28-year-old CEO said investors still haven’t understood the full potential of its mobile business, hinted that the company was about to offer new advertising products, and said that the social network could offer a unique and competitive search product, notes Reuters.

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"Facebook is uniquely positioned to answer a lot of questions people have," Zuckerberg said.

Speaking to a standing-room only crowd at a Techcrunch conference in San Francisco, Zuckerberg acknowledged that he was disappointed the company has lost nearly half its value since the IPO. But he insisted that it’s a great time to “double down” on Facebook’s future, reports the Associated Press.

Zuckerberg said "one of the biggest, if not the biggest, strategic mistakes we've ever made” was focus too much on HTML5, a technology that allows apps to work across various platforms and hardware, notes CNN. That meant its applications weren’t as sophisticated as they could have been. When pressed on the constant rumors of whether Facebook would build a smartphone, Zuckerberg was clear: “It's so clearly the wrong strategy for us.”

It seems investors like what they heard because Facebook shares rose 3 percent after he spoke to above $20, still far from their $38 debut price.

Check out the best parts of the interview by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington here.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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