Pinterest just surpassed Snapchat in popularity. Here’s how its unassuming CEO built the social media powerhouse by avoiding big speeches and personally meeting its first users.

Ben Silbermann

Ben Silbermann is the cofounder and CEO of Pinterest, which, according to a new eMarketer report, passed Snapchat in users in 2019 and has a comfortable lead. Its stock soared on the news.
In fall of 2018, Silbermann appeared on Business Insider’s podcast “This Is Success” to explain how he built the company and came into his own as a leader.
Silbermann built a community around his company by hiring people based on their passions, and by personally meeting Pinterest’s earliest users.
Silbermann is naturally a quiet person and developed a meeting approach that kept the most outgoing employees from dominating the conversation.
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On Tuesday, Insider Inc.’s eMarketer published a report that proclaimed, “Pinterest surpassed Snapchat as the third-biggest social media platform in the US in 2019, and it will continue to stay ahead in the coming years.” It now has 82.4 million monthly users, compared to Snapchat’s 80.2 million, and is behind Facebook and Instagram’s major lead. The industry-redefining news caused the stock to jump as much as 12% the day it was published.

We spoke to Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann for Business Insider’s podcast back in October 2018. It was still six months away from going public, but Silbermann was able to tease some of its rapid growth.

Unlike most tech CEOs, Silbermann is a quiet, reserved guy not given to boasting or energetic motivational speeches. He explained how instead of forcing himself to become someone he wasn’t, he used his personality to his advantage as he developed his own leadership style and built a solid foundation for his company out of the limelight.

We’ve kept the introduction and podcast transcript below as they originally appeared, when we published this in the fall of 2018.

Ben Silbermann is the cofounder and CEO of Pinterest, the image-search tool that lets users save and share their favorite photos, designs, and recipes.

Over the past eight years, Silbermann has quietly built Pinterest into a global brand with 250 million active users. And while the company is private and keeps financials to itself, CNBC reported in July that Pinterest could $1 billion in ad revenue this year. In September, The New York Times reported that number would be closer to $700 million and that the company has a valuation of $12.3 billion.

Silbermann’s journey to Pinterest started when he was still working at Google, in 2007, and his friend Paul Sciarra asked if he wanted to explore making software for the newly released iPhone.

Listen to the full episode here:

Subscribe to “This is Success” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or your favorite podcast app. Check out previous episodes with:

GE and NBC exec Beth Comstock
Refinery29 cofounder Christene Barberich
AOL founder Steve Case
“Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama

Transcript edited for clarity.

Ben Silbermann: We just started brainstorming. What are the different things we could do on the phone that would be different than what you could do on the computer? We made a game with some friends. …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Tech

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