LeWeb10 Ethan Beard Facebook

Ethan Beard, Director, Facebook Developer Network, Facebook
Q&A with Michael Arrington, Editor, TechCrunch

LIVEBLOGGED: so some paraphrasing possible. Video at bottom of post

Ethan Beard, Director, Facebook Developer Network
Picture from Adam Tinworth.

MA: are you continuing to deny the Facebook phone is real?
EB: yes. I am ready to deny. The windows phone used Facebook to connect and that’s one of the things we are trying to do, provide conenction, be everywhere. I think there is a lot of development on mobile…

MA: does the Windows phone have a chance?
EB: I’d never count MS out.

MA: At Google you said don’t be evil..at Facebook, it is evil. Does FB care, is it just about the money?
EB: we try to lead with our actions, not just talk about it. The fact you can ask a question is a testament to how much people care about the users.

MA: the privacy stuff? I have not called out FB on that issue. Some people see it as exceptionally not good. It is so confusing, changing defaults. Do you have to move everyone, are the mess ups incompetence or something else
EB: it is paramount, the privacy of our users. We start with giving users Control. It is not easy, everyone has different requirements. There is a lot of subtleties about what you want to do. It is challenging to get the set of defaults that work for everyone – we try hard to get one that is right for users AND for the whole site. We have the most comprehensive set of user controls than any on the web.

MA: so let’s get to the stuff you are responsible for..after one more question…has FB been successful later? was this luck or planned?
EB: look at successful companies, they will all say luck was part of it. There is something for luck and being in right place, but I think you also make your luck, being prepared. there are aspects of plan we have executed against real well. When I joined, 60-70 million users, we stopped growing. We were not focused on growth…so we re-organised to focus on growth with a team. once we had that, the numbers started growing again. That was not luck, the team worked hard.

MA: there are 100 or more at FB from google (out of about 1500). WHy are they fleeing google?
EB: I loved working at Google, a great company. the company has changed a lot, really big. If they joined to join a smaller company, than not that. People may not be finding what they were looking for. FB is now really exciting, we are shaping and defining the web for the next few years. Still pretty small, fun and attractive.

MA: What’s next, the next thing?
Gaming is strong, across all areas. Hard to detemine exactly where, people are working hard.

MA: what about music? FB does not do much things..
EB: we are, with the platform we use (Connect and Canvas) . FB is no1 referrer of traffic to Spotify. so in many ways we are in music. Spotify traffic from FB increased 4x. We want to focus on the core building blocks of social graph, so others can build on top of it. Think lots of companies will do things on top of it.

MA: you own lots of developers…do you care about the platform..what guidelines are there about opportunities?
EB: we have been pushing hard on Connect, our goal was not to move the web inside FB, but to make the whole web social. 250m people a month are using Connect on 3rd party sites. Adding about 10k sites a day. We have a lot of good partners, Bing, Pandora, Yelp, TF1, Qype, BBC, Techcrunch, AOL, Yahoo. Asking if you build inside? we did not know the answer to this for a while, over time a few things have emerged..we think everything should used FB. FB tend to want to stay on FB, building inside of FB makes it easier to get traffic. When building with FB, you build a social experience.the expectation is different on FB then off, about sharing etc. Easier inside, people expect it to be social.

MA: FB credits. a little bit confusing. there was a switch about moving to this. Dragging your partners to this. but you have no plans to make it mandatory?
EB: not mandatory. The goal was to make it easy and fun to buy in any application.

MA: but the developer pays 30%
EB: but does it drive incremental revenue…our goals/beliefs that by having a single currency, you reduce friction, and drive more spending. But you need to get everyone using credits. We have tried to get all on together

MA: so are you getting 10s of millions from Zynga
EB: can’t do financials…we have good partnerships. We are seeing proofpoints – showing increasing revenue as inbuilt. We know having a highly liquid currency works and we’re doing a lot to get it inbuilt.

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