In a chat with Mike Arrington at the TechCrunch 40 event in San Francisco, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that his company wants to make it as easy as possible for developers to get started in building users bases and great user experiences.
He announced that Facebook is going to create the FB Fund, a $10 million fund fueled by Facebook investors Peter Thiel from Founders Funds and Jim Breyer of Accel Partners. Grants will be given based on decisions by Thiel, Breyer and Zuckerberg, as well as Josh Koppelman of First Round Capital, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Rajeev Motwani of Google. Any developer can submit a plan to the advisors and developers can get a grant of from $25,000 to $250,000. The FB Fund is not taking any equity in companies that receive grants.
Zuckerberg did not stray from the Facebook script. Following are notes from the conversation:
Facebook could be doubling every six months, based on growing 3 percent per week.
Traffic in page views went up by more than 50 percent after the News feed launched.
We aren't trying to be a destination where people can meet new people...we are trying to mirror the world. By mapping out connections people have can expose them to other applications to make very compelling experiences.
Our goal is not to own a social graph. We are just trying to model it out as accurately as possible.
We already have some advertising programs....sponsored groups that advertisers can target. Over the next three to six months there will be a lot of innovation that we can talk about at that time.
We have more than 80,000 registered developers.
What is your favorite third party app, Mike asked. I can't answer that. I have to be neutral. I like the video app that Facebook developed.
Facebook will open news feed to developers, which should increase user engagement.
Taking user data outside of Facebook: Some people want to say Facebook's platform isn't as open as it should be. This is something we will be working on for 30 years...might take that long to make it good enough. We were one of the first sites to push people to put up their first and last name, their cell phone numbers and to tag photos with real names. Facebook has a lot of building to do and to provide more granular privacy settings.
Facebook email: Facebook messages isn't email...only recently could send mail to more than one person. There are some advantages to having it not be like email exactly. It's easy to prevent spam and most messages are from individuals. As we expand, and think about how to grow products like, we are definitely thinking about how it will evolve.
If we take another round of funding it will be because we want to do it, not because we need it. We are not looking to get acquired or to go public soon.
People Search via search engines: People can search for anyone on the site as long as they have set their privacy to be invisible. Any user who signs up for the site and can an index of all other users who haven't opted out of search. All we did was move the line. There wasn't any new information being share and people can opt out of it.
Facebook supporting microformats and OpenID?: It's important to keep in mind Facebook is a really small company...we just passed 300 users. We have to prioritize. There are a lot of interesting things in that space with OpenID and things like that. I am generally supportive of what they are doing and when it gets to the point where it/s really valuable for our user base, we are going to support that.