It's rare that you get Chad Hurley, co-founder of the Google-owned YouTube, and Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, on a panel together. But they were on Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and we tuned in via Webcast.
Not surprisingly, neither Hurley nor Zuckerberg dropped any bombs. They've been trained in the ways of the Force, after all. But here's what they said in response to the panel's final question for them: where do they see their companies being in five years?
Also not surprisingly, both founders expressed confidence that, yes, their companies would be around. Hurley's answer was basically that YouTube has become so ingrained in digital culture that it's here to stay. "We've seen people expressing their thoughts, sharing their experience," he explained. "We have the Queen (of England) on our site, we have the Pope on our site, we have the White House on our site." YouTube was also acquired for $1.65 billion by Google, so its future is decently stable.
He was more coy when it came to the question of whether he would still be at YouTube in five years. Hurley's answer was simply, "Life is short."
Zuckerberg, meanwhile, put forth the argument that Facebook solidified its survival by two things: staying in touch with what kinds of information people want to share, and being willing to evolve to fit that; and second, launching its third-party developer platform to establish itself as more than just a standalone service.
"Any individual application, yeah, probably will kind of grow and fade over time," Zuckerberg said. "Facebook will always be this hub where we've mapped out who people know, and where people are going to share information." The platform, he said, is open and flexible enough to satisfy the digital world's "constant need for new, more efficient applications."
We admire their optimism--but let's see what the markets have to say about it.