[Editor's note: At Facebook's privacy press conference this week, CNBC's Julia Boorstin asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: "How does this controversy and your new approach to privacy affect your approach to revenue and your business model?" Here is Mark's answer, as transcribed by The Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick.]
[When deciding on Facebook's new privacy settings] we didn't talk about revenue at all. And I think it's something that is maybe so different from how most people think about companies that it maybe is a little crazy for us that this is the approach that we take. But we just really care about what we're doing, and we need to build a good company in order to do it. But we've had...like this has been a really unique company, in how it's evolved.
I mean, there was this really pivotal moment for me when I was 22. And there's this book coming out, David Kirkpatrick's book now, that actually details this in more detail than i would probably like, but... when, you know, Yahoo and all these companies...Is that the book? Well...Have you read it? ...Alright...well, so...
So we had this episode where Yahoo and Viacom and all these companies were trying to buy the company. And it was this really kind of crazy time. Because we started the company as a dorm room project. Actually we started it specifically not as a company, just a project. And we had this whole conversation about whether we wanted to turn it into a company or a partnership or what, and we ended up deciding a company was the best way to go because that's the best way you can attract really good people and incentivize them to build something great.
We reached a point where, you know, me and my friends, we were 22 years old, people were offering us a billion dollars or more for the company, and it's like--what do you do? Right? So we didn't want to sell the company. Obviously we didn't sell the company.
But it was this really pivotal point for us, because when you're 22 and have an opportunity to sell something for that much money, you kind of reach this point where, like, you're not making decisions to maximize the amount of money that you're making. Where I mean, like, any amount of money would not be worth the, like, the last few years that we've spent building up the company. So, you know, the...and the time we were going to spend going forward building it up.
So, I mean, when we went through that whole, that whole period, we kind of got together and we made this decision that like, this is what we care about. Right? This is what we think that one of the most transformative things will be to build in the world, is something that helps people share information and stay connected. And helps make the world more open and connected. And that's what we're going to do.
So it might be kind of crazy... to people...I don't know. It might seem weird. I don't actually know exactly what the external perception of this is. But I always read these articles that are like "OK you guys must be doing this because it's going to make you more money." And honestly for people inside the company that could not ring less true. Because...
We are working on building an ad business, and that's a big part of what we do. But when we're building platform and when we're building these user ...and these services that we offer for people, it factors in like, not at all. So, anyhow, I...it's an interesting perspective, I think, because it just...to me, from the perspective of building the company, it's such a big disconnect, between what people think we're doing and how we actually perceive ourselves internally.
Read more: Business Insider