Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 7, Number 2, 2013

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Smart Conversation Our engineers are building out the infrastructure that Pinterest runs on. That includes server farms and database farms; the infrastructure to support mobile platforms, such as Android and iPhone apps; revamping our website; and building analytics capabilities for businesses. Given this huge undertaking, what plans do you have for growing the technology team, in terms of personnel and skills? Every area of Pinterest is growing right now, particularly the engineering team. It's a great time to be a software engineer. With the engineers we're hiring, it's very important that they be product-focused. We expect every one of them to have strong feelings about how the product should evolve in the future, and to want to contribute to that vision. They also have to be competent in skills such as machine learning, search, scalability and distributed systems. We'd be happy if the team could double in size over the next year. Technology is the core of the company, and we are facing massive challenges. I spent some time at Amazon and thought that was a challenge, but this is even more daunting. For example, one of the biggest constraints to the growth of the business is our ability to find skilled engineers who we think would be a good fit with Pinterest. We want them to work on things that will differentiate our product, not just racking servers. Pinterest is focusing on the technical challenges of developing its service into a more useful and robust discovery tool. How do you plan to do this, and how will people use Pinterest as a discovery tool? Though Pinterest has been around for a couple of years, the vast majority of what it will become hasn't been built yet. We've gained amazing traction in the marketplace and are one of the fastest-growing sites out there, so we have plenty of scaling challenges ahead of us. We're aiming to provide a real-time set of capabilities that will enable people to connect with one another and the objects they love in compelling ways. Over time, there will be a much richer notion of objects [pins]. We will continue to optimize experiences for touch-enabled devices. And from a search standpoint, we're focused on improving the ways we narrow down the most relevant objects for each individual, using machinelearning techniques. Another effort you're heading up involves managing and scaling the IT infrastructure. What are your plans? Also, what role does the cloud play in Pinterest's business, both now and in the future? these mobile efforts sits an infrastructure that we continue to expand to make sure we're in a good position to support mobile devices. Currently, the cloud plays a very big role. Our website, infrastructure and mobile infrastructure (including mobile apps) run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). We don't own or manage our own data centers. We've worked very closely with AWS to scale up and down as demand warrants. It would have been impossible to scale the business through 2012 in a conventional sense. And the cloud will continue to play an important role. In addition to using Amazon for the core infrastructure, we use service providers for image delivery, email and HR systems. Everything is on SaaS [Software as a Service], so we don't have to worry about scaling servers. We're big believers in SaaS. Our goal is to help people discover and collect things they love or that inspire them. We're about providing different discovery capabilities than most people have ever experienced before. Unlike traditional search companies, Pinterest tries to expose users to sets of things along the lines of what they are looking for, but also to additional objects in an The Pinterest site is fun, but how will the company make money? Like Comment What does Pinterest currently offer for business customers, and what are the company's plans for addressing the business market in the future? We provide tools that allow businesses to create an identity on Pinterest, and a set of tools and widgets that enable businesses to integrate with Pinterest through their own platforms and link to Pinterest from their websites. We also offer analytics that let companies see how their content is performing within pin ecosystems, how many people are pinning from their websites, seeing their pins and clicking their content. Companies can see how their numbers trend over time, find out which of their pins get the most repins, who pins them and what else people pin alongside them. They can use this information to customize their websites and Pinterest boards. How does your company support mobile users? 2012 was a big year for us in terms of mobility. In August we released an upgraded version of a mobile application for iOS and Android, and that caused explosive growth in the mobile use of Pinterest. It was also a year in which we achieved feature parity between the mobile experience and the Web experience. This year will be about differentiating the experience on those platforms. There are a whole bunch of capabilities on mobile devices, such as cameras and multi-touch, and we will exploit those capabilities to provide an experience that we think will be very compelling. Behind Jon Jenkins 17 repins 9 likes "We're aiming to ... enable people to connect with one another and the objects they love in compelling ways." intuitive, visual way that helps them find things that they might not have known existed before they got involved in Pinterest. For example, someone might be looking for a particular car and then be exposed not only to pins of other types of cars, but also boards for collector cars that were created by different Pinterest users. People are at the center of the discovery experience. They create pins, which are images or videos married with user context, and this is what makes Pinterest really interesting. We're not monetizing the service yet; it's funded by venture capital. But we will monetize the service, and this year we're exploring various opportunities to do that. I 2013 • SMART ENTERPRISE 7

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