De­sign for life: Pin­ter­est chief out to in­spire as it gets per­sonal with users

Irish Independent - Business Week - - TECHNOLOGY -

Pin­ter­est is the world’s on­line store for ideas. On the fringes of the Web Sum­mit, spoke ex­clu­sively to co-founder and CEO Ben Sil­ber­mann about the firm’s fu­ture and its Dublin plans

“The di­rec­tor of the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, just came by the of­fice. He said that he used Pin­ter­est for a lot of his set in­spi­ra­tion and de­signs. That’s some­thing that we hear quite a lot.

“Last year, some of the writ­ers from [Net­flix series] ’Stranger Things’ came over to show their boards for in­spi­ra­tion.”

Where will Pin­ter­est go next in terms of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment?

“At a high level, I think Pin­ter­est will re­main the same for a long time,” he says. ”It comes back to this idea of giv­ing peo­ple in­spi­ra­tion in life.

“That said, we’re in­vest­ing in a few ar­eas to make that bet­ter. One is that we’re re­ally in­vest­ing heav­ily in per­son­al­i­sa­tion.

“We want to make sure that when you open Pin­ter­est, it feels like ev­ery­thing’s been hand­picked for you.

“So we’ve in­vested both in ma­chine learn­ing as a tech­nol­ogy plat­form and specif­i­cally in com­puter vi­sion.”

One such fea­ture is the abil­ity to pick part of an im­age and hunt for sim­i­lar styles. “I think com­puter vi­sion has been some­thing that peo­ple have spo­ken about for years,” he says.

”But it’s just get­ting to that point where it’s go­ing main­stream. So we’re in­vest­ing in a pretty big way.”

An­other thing the com­pany is work­ing on, Sil­ber­mann says, is mak­ing it pos­si­ble to do more when you see some­thing that “in­spires” you on Pin­ter­est.

“That means dif­fer­ent things for dif­fer­ent types of pins for a recipe,” he says. ”It might mean that you can leave a re­view or ac­tu­ally buy the prod­uct, or be sent di­rectly to a re­tailer.

“This dis­tin­guishes Pin­ter­est from be­ing some­thing that just keeps you on­line to some­thing that can hope­fully get you off­line to do those things right.”

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