Zuckerberg on Facebook's Success: “We Just Cared More”

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the "Today" show Tuesday to talk about the social media site's long journey from a dorm room at Harvard University to  a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ.

"It's been a pretty amazing journey," he told host Savannah Guthrie. "It's so rare to have the opportunity to touch a billion people's lives."

Facebook is turning 10 on Tuesday, and it's celebrating its decade online with some new features and some long-earned self-congratulations.

Zuckerberg on Tuesday took to his own Facebook page to reflect on the last 10 years. He talked about the power of helping people "stay connected." He said the secret to building a great product is simple. "We just cared more," he wrote.

“Most companies, I think, probably would have made sure that their business was in good shape first. But we decided, you know what? We care most about building the best service we can. We're going to focus on doing that first,” he told Guthrie.

For anybody who's forgotten (or who wasn't a college student back in 2004), the social media behemoth launched on Feb. 4, 2004, from Zuckerberg's dorm room at Harvard University.

Profit, he said, was not such a driving factor. "I just like making it and knowing that it works, and having it be wildly successful is cool, I guess, but I mean, I dunno, that's not the goal," he told the Harvard Crimson in 2004.

"I'm just like a little kid. I get bored easily and computers excite me. Those are the two driving factors here," he explained to his school newspaper.

But after its launch, his site — first known as thefacebook.com — soon spread beyond the confines of a coterie of just a few colleges to garner well over a billion active users by the end of last year.

It's also overcome a much-ballyhooed yet troubled IPO, plus the $1 billion buy of photo sharing app Instagram in 2012, not to mention plenty of criticism over Facebook's efforts to protect users' privacy.

Still, the company prioritized user experience over its business model, Zuckerberg said. And it paid off.

“The result of that was that we improved the product, but we went through this year where our business wasn't as good as people wanted it to be," he said. "But you know, I really think that we did the right thing. This is our values. I mean, we want to always serve people first. And if I had to do it again I would make the same decisions all over again."

On Facebook's 10-year-old birthday, however, Zuckerberg is not worried about critics, especially ones that say users are leaving the social media site for sexier apps.

"Engagement is growing and we are helping more and more people connect," he said on "Today."

Facebook closed out 2013 with strong financial results, too, thanks to a robust new mobile presence, The New York Times reported last week.

So what's next? On Tuesday, the site unveiled a new feature called "A Look Back" that lets users make personal slideshows or movies showing favorite moments from their lives since they first joined Facebook.

In the longer term, Zuckerberg has bigger plans for his brainchild. He told Bloomberg BusinessWeek last week he wants the site to become more intuitive and to get better at helping its users.

Contact Us