Tom Simonite, a senior IT editor at MIT Technology Review, recently interviewed Ben Silbermann, Pinterest’s CEO and co-founder. The interview gives a glimpse at how company brass envisions the monetized future of the hugely popular, and still young, site.
It seems everyone is using Pinterest — amateur chefs, First Lady Michelle Obama, designer-types putting together outfits suitable for sundry fashion weeks, and even mothers of would-be supreme tech chieftains (Silbermann’s mom has a popular Pinterest board). But overall, since Pinterest gained wide popularity in early 2012, no one has flocked to it as much as women have.
So where does Ben Silbermann think the site he helped start in 2009 is going? In his words, it’s going to become “a better service for discovering things and taking action on them,” and by “taking action” he means activities “tied to commercial intent,” or buying. For instance, one day, Silbermann would like Pinterest to be able to recommend to users the “perfect crib” to buy, if they happen to be a new parent like he is.
Finally, Pinterest’s CEO uses the interview as an opportunity to emphasize Pinterest’s reliance on humans to organize and curate and “index,” instead of machines and algorithms, à la Google. Silbermann considers that to be Pinterest’s greatest advantage.