I know everyone is obsessed with when Mark Zuckerberg is going to announce the winner of the “Dance with Facebook for $10-billion” contest, but I found something he said during his interview with John Battelle interesting. He said:

“We don’t focus on optimizing the revenue we have today. It has always been our philosophy to run the company at around break even as we grow.”

This reminded me of what Jim Buckmaster and Craig Newmark have always said about craigslist.org, which is that they basically spend zero time thinking about how to “monetize” all the eyeballs and pageviews they get (about eight billion a month or so) and spend close to 100 per cent of their time thinking about their users and what they want and need.

That drives Wall Street types and venture capitalists crazy, and people like to use those quotes to make a point about how unrealistic Web 2.0 businesses are, etc. etc. — but from a certain standpoint it makes perfect sense.

Not that you shouldn’t be thinking about a business model, obviously. But that can’t be your number one concern. If it is, you will almost certainly produce a crappy service that eventually fails, because no one goes there.

About the author

Mathew 2420 posts

I'm a Toronto-based senior writer with Fortune magazine, and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

3 Responses to “Zuckerberg: We don’t focus on revenue”
  1. While “the contest” is interesting, the real game here is Facebook the business. If it takes off, then you start to justify the valuations behind thrown around these day.

  2. It’s hard to believe that he’s not focused on generating revenue… I think that statement is PR/BS speak for “we don’t know how to make money yet”. I think if they were rolling in the dough, he’d be telling everyone or filing those IPO papers.

  3. That’s an interesting comparison. I have seen both Jim and Craig speak and was really taken with Jim’s description of how they ran their business and why. My favorite quote in one interview he did was when he said that he and Craig are “not in pursuit of insane wealth” and “have enough revenue as it is”. Audience reaction to that was fun to watch!

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