Interview David Marcus (1/3) – From Geneva to Silicon Valley – #CDD18


Hello, I’m delighted to welcome you on the Facebook campus In a few minutes I’’ll interview David
Marcus My friend, the boss of Messenger But first, Messenger in a few numbers…
it’s 1.3 billion users Tens of billions text messages shared each day,
from text to videos and photos We’re talking about 17 billion photos every day It’s also 400 million users of voice
and video calls every month to maybe one day replace the phone.
We’re looking forward to this exclusive interview. Hi Arnaud! – How are you?
Yes, super! I’m very happy to be here, to be with you
and to be able to ask you some questions It’s nice to welcome you What a journey we made since we shared offices,
a long time ago in Geneva! GTN first, then Echovox,
which was located right next to the CREA School. It’s crazy how you already had this obsession,
more a vision, actually, for mobile Back home you represent
a model vision of the entrepreneur What was the drive that led you
in the direction of mobile and telecom? Well I think it’s tech in general,
really the desire to build products that would improve the lives of people,
that would use new emerging technologies After spending a year in a bank
in a very traditional career, very “Geneva Swiss” I quickly realized that it was too abstract
that there was no creation, actually In this process… It was after this adventure that I started to say there was a real problem And then I stumbled into entrepreneurship by chance.
At that time, I had a big frustration with telecom It was still called Telecom PTT at the time.
That make me age some… You had to pay 1 franc per minute for a call,
between Switzerland and the USA. I found that really dramatic.
That’s how I became an entrepreneur. In 2007, with the arrival of the iPhone,
just to place things in context, at that time I ran a startup I launched – EchoVox,
and our goal was to create mobile entertainment, we made downloadable ringtones, wallpaper,
– we also did stuff together – voting on TV for the “New star” competition – all those things billed on premium sms at the time With the arrival of the iPhone in 2007,
I told myself “it’s over, now people have a browser on their phones,
they will no longer want to download ringtones, etc. they’ll have it for free on the web.
It’s an era that’s coming to an end, another that starts I remember you always said at the time “It’s crazy how people online are used to get things for free while on their phone they are used to pay”
– Completely! And that moment, the paradigm completely changed. I thought it’s now or never to pivot
a company that did very well at the time, growing more than three times
compared to the previous year. It was the moment to turn everything upside down. The board discussion was lively,
not everyone wanted to embark on this adventure. After several months of debate,
I managed to convince the board of directors – because we already had institutional investors-
to give me the chance to come to the USA, here in Silicon Valley, with a relatively limited
budget and for a relatively short time I honestly didn’t really intend to come back
but that’s another discussion I went for the adventure to see if we could
transform the test – the platform around Echovox, but this time around the payment for the digital
goods we had at that time – online games, video, music, etc. on the web,
but by paying on your mobile device. And so one of our first biggest clients
quickly after I came here was Facebook we all remember Farmville, Zinga… games where you bought virtual cows on virtual farms … Using your credit card for that kind of purchase
is not super convenient So we had a real solution to a real problem
When I arrived here I managed to quickly build a team I arrived during the big 2008 depression. I could hire talent with startups not very actively recruiting. Then between 2008 and 2011, we set up a very big business focusing on mobile payment which was finally sold in the summer of 2011 I remember that day very well,
we were in your garden and you ran in all directions I stood next to Fanny and you told me “I can’t tell you anything, but you’ll see tomorrow” The next day, the announcement was made. It was a big surprise.

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