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Aug 7th 2012
Silicon Valley's powerhouse tech community gathered last Friday at the historic Fox Theatre in Redwood City to dive into the foremost question on everyone's mind post-Facebook IPO: can the iconic brand keep up in the mobile-first era?
TechCrunch staffers, led by co-editors Eric Eldon and Alexia Tsotis and resident Facebook expert Josh Constine, grilled a host of speakers from Facebook and related companies. Discussions focused on how they're catering to the on-the-go user throughout the jam-packed, five-hour Facebook Ecosystem CrunchUp.
Facebook's VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer told Eldon that a major challenge facing his team is pushing out updates to mobile as often and as seamlessly as they're able to on their own platform. Even so, Schroepfer noted that Facebook has driven people to the App Store and Google Play nearly 150 million times over the past month.
A second challenge facing the Facebook team is building a solid, stable platform for third-party developers, according to Facebook Director of Product Management Doug Purdy. As TechCrunch writer Rip Empson summed up, his team is facing a tricky balancing act of priorities between developers, users and advertisers.
We also heard from a number of businesses with a significant stake in the game (sometimes literally) – like Zynga. Product Development VP Sean Kelly made the point that the value of a mobile brand can sometimes surpass the app itself, as in the case of the gaming company's much-discussed acquisition of "Draw Something." Founder and CEO of BranchOut Rick Marini, Airbnb Product Lead Joe Zadeh and FreshPlanet Co-Founder Mathieu Nouzareth also offered in-the-trenches perspectives.
The day closed out with an open office hours session in which attendees got a chance to ask nearly 20 Facebook executives and staffers from across the company anything they wanted to one-on-one.
All that talking made everyone thirsty. It was the perfect preamble to heading down the road to the 7th Annual Summer Party at August Capital for more mixing, mingling and of course – live-posting all the action to Facebook.
Check out video highlights from the conference here.