Considering that India is the second largest market for Facebook, why did a visit here take so long to happen?
I am a mother of two young children — India is a market I know and understand well thanks to the earlier stints in my career (World Bank and Google.) We have a great leadership team here so it’s been in a great shape. If my kids were a little older, I would travel more but really I don’t get anywhere as much as I’d like to.
How do you evaluate the Indian growth story for Facebook?
It is the second-largest market and the fastest growing. It has crossed 100 million users and the only other country that has done that is the US where we started much earlier. I do not think anything could be a higher priority for us. Indian people are entrepreneurial, dedicated and passionate and I know this because I have worked here earlier. I always look at stories of people using Facebook — and I look at where they are coming from — and the Indian collection was voluminous.
How customised and differentiated is the Facebook offering when talking to the SMBs as compared to the conversation with the larger, bigger and more conventional companies like Unilever or PepsiCo?
One of the great strengths of our product is that in some ways we are the same. Whether you are prime minister Narendra Modi or president Barack Obama, or me or you or somebody in a university.
Similarly, if you look at the small and big businesses it is the same product. Obviously when you are running a large campaign, there are tools you need and we work hard to build those tools. We have 30 million small businesses active on Facebook on a monthly basis and 900,000 in India. We have over a million advertisers.
What has been done to make Facebook more SMB-friendly?
A lot of our development in the last year has been to make the product simpler. We have made it easier to upload photos on the page. Video, for instance, is exploding on Facebook. We have got a lot of our SMBS to become advertisers by promoting page posts. Two years ago we used to go to them asking them to become advertisers. That’s a pretty heavy lift.
We talk about our earnings every quarter and in each of those, I speak of simplifying the products for the small and medium businesses because they are so critical to our growth.
Every country I have been to, SMBs are driving the economy more than any other sec-tor. They are a majority of our customers everywhere in the world.
What is the biggest challenge that Facebook faces currently?
The biggest opportunity and challenge is how do we get the next 4-5 billion people — a billion in Indian and 3-4 billion elsewhere — connected. We are a mission-driven company. We want to give everyone in the world the power to share. We can only do that with people who have connectivity. We care that they stay connected whether they use Facebook or they choose other things. We think the world is better when it is smaller and connected.