Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Zuckerberg Acknowledges Disappointment in I.P.O

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Zuckerberg Acknowledges Disappointment in I.P.O

Article excerpt

Mark Zuckerberg made his first public appearance since Facebook made its May debut on Wall Street, only to see its stock price fall fast and hard. After he spoke, Facebook shares rose about 3 percent.

Mark Zuckerberg spoke to a hometown crowd here, acknowledging his company's "disappointing" performance on Wall Street, hinting at new moneymaking strategies and casting his company as one that continues to build new things in the face of criticism.

"I would rather be in the cycle where people underestimate us," he said Tuesday at an annual conference sponsored by TechCrunch, technology blog.

It was Mr. Zuckerberg's first public appearance since Facebook made its debut on Wall Street in May, only to see its stock price fall fast and hard. But his remarks seemed to have a positive effect; immediately after he spoke, Facebook shares rose about 3 percent in after-hours trading.

Still, Facebook shares are now worth about half of the public offering price, and Mr. Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive and co-founder, is under intense pressure to restore its credibility among investors, a problem he acknowledged.

"The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing," he said at the conference. "We care about our shareholders."

In a jocular, half-hour question-and-answer session with the blogger-turned-investor Michael Arrington, Mr. Zuckerberg -- talking at top speed and dressed in his usual gray T-shirt and jeans -- dropped a few hints about Facebook's plans and said that the site was handling as many as a billion search queries by users every day.

Search is Google's principal advantage, but Mr. Zuckerberg said that a team of engineers within Facebook had been working on improving Facebook's search tool to vet, for instance, restaurant recommendations from friends. "At some point we'll do it," he said.

He sought to cast Facebook as a company with a promising future on mobile phones and himself as an entrepreneur who did not entirely eschew moneymaking. …

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