Rock Center   |  October 04, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg: 1 billion users and counting

The number of Facebook users worldwide has topped 1 billion. As impressive as that milestone is, these are trying times for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. For his first interview since his company went public, Zuckerberg sat down with NBC’s Matt Lauer. 

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> have heard the news out of facebook corporate headquarters today they have reached 1 billion users worldwide. that comes out to one in seven people on the planet. they like to measure in billions at facebook . the company value, the net worth of founder and ceo, mark zuckerberg and sadly, lately the losses since their stock went on sale and some investors are suing facebook about it. there was a lot to talk about when mark zuckerberg granted matt lauer his first television interview.

>> there is a thing called swagger. we know what it is when we see it. someone walks with a swagger and present themselves with a swagger. there is an image they project. the last several months have they taken your swagger away? and is that important?

>> you know, i try to not have a swagger. so i'm not sure --

>> i don't mean in the a literal sense. i mean in the a figurative sense.

>> there is a lot of crazy stuff going on. there are periods where people say that you know, we're going better than i think we're doing and periods where people say we are doing worse than i think we're doing.

>> one thing that is down is the stock price . it has fallen 40% since in may. the company is celebrating its 1 billionth users but facing angry stockholders and disappointed employees. on paper, zuckerberg has lost billions. but the founder and ceo, who looks younger than his 28 years, tried to put it all in perspective.

>> it's been a tough several months around here. what is morale like? are people concerned? a lot of people came here thinking one thing is going to happen and it changed.

>> yeah, i mean, things go in cycles. we're obviously in a -- we're in a tough cycle right now where that doesn't help morale. but at the same time people here are focused on the things they are building.

>> but like you these people have taken a hit. when you see faces of employees here do you feel personal responsible for them. i don't mean as a ceo. do you look at people and feel like it's going to be okay? i'm going to make it better?

>> well, i mean, i feel a lot of responsibility in my role. and the thing that we can do is just make sure that we're building the business and building our product to be the best they can be. that's what everyone comes to work every day to do. and people are really excited and optimistic about the things we are doing.

>> but it is clear that zuckerberg feels the heat. he knows that facebook needs to find new ways to make big money fast.

>> can the company make money? i'm not a tech guy or really a business guy. and the question i ask myself and i hear over and over . if a company has a billion customers how can they not be killing it making money ?

>> i think it depend os on your definition of killing it. we make billions of dollars. but the future is really going to be about mobile. and the opportunities for growth there.

>> have you been slow to get there? are you playing catch up a little bit in the mobile area?

>> we have the most-used mobile apps. there are 5 billion people in the world who have phones. we should be able to serve more people.

>> an article i read is mark zuckerberg in over his hoodie? do you think a ceo who has more experience than you might be able to take this company to this next level and leave you to develop the products? would that be a possible strategy?

>> you know, i take this responsibility that i have really seriously. and i think think that facebook needs to be focused on building the best experiences for people around the world. we have this philosophy that building the products and services and building the business go hand in hand .

>> when it comes to doing that, few companies do it better than apple. zuckerberg is friendly with apple's ceo tim cook and was inspired by apple's late founder, steve jobs .

>> what was the thing that you observed about steve jobs that makes a difference in your life as a corporate executive every day?

>> i mean, he was just so focused right? for him the user experience was the main thing that mattered the only thing that mattered. and i think that there is a lot that every company can learn from that.

>> last weekend, apple sold about 5 million of their new iphone 5s. did you buy one?

>> tim sent one to me.

>> you got a freebie? you didn't have to pay anything? are you an iphone 5 user?

>> i think i handed my phone before this interview. but i use all of them. right? so i'm --

>> are you just not playing favorites here?

>> if you think about it, iphone is a great platform. there are more people who use facebook on android. it's a diverse ecosystem and we build for all of the things.

>> the place where facebook does its building is the former sun microsystems complex near san francisco bay . from high above you can see the word hack imprinted on the walk way and in the hacker company building you can see zuckerberg 's glass office. the design of the facility is purposely unfinished and employee centric. there are mini-kitchens with 24/7 snacks and restrooms full of toiletries and you may run into the boss.

>> if you are walking through the campus here do you think the employees are comfortable to walk up to you and say excuse me, mark -- what do they call you?

>> mark. no one calls me mr. zuckerberg . a lot of them are. we create an open culture.

>> he is now a husband. he married his girlfriend of almost nine years. priscilla chan .

>> i said i was having a surprise party for graduating from medical school . it was a small wedding with 80 people but it was nice.

>> his life at facebook these days is complicated filled with meetings and travel. this week he visited russia to meet the prime minister. he appeared on a late-night russian tv show wearing that same t-shirt adistrict attorneyed -- adistrict attorneyed with small facebook logos.

>> my wife has a bunch of stuff but her drawer is scrubs for the hospital.

>> you are telling me you have one drawer of a wardrobe closet?

>> like men everywhere.

>> i have a slightly bigger closet than that.

>> mark zuckerberg has bigger issues now than closet space . his goal, he says is to continue to build the company he founded.

>> are you even allowed at this stage, mark, to express any doubt or show any signs of pressure because so many people are watching you so closely and parsing every word you say so carefully?

>> you know, it's funny. i've noticed that the press and the world's opinion of us really goes in cycles. i tell people, you know, you have to not believe the good things that people are saying too much or the bad things. it doesn't matter what the press says. it matters what the people who use our services tell us and what their feedback is.

>> our thanks to matt. an interesting interview. you can see more behind the scenes footage from the headquarters tonight.