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Sheryl Sandberg: Mobile is Facebook’s Top Priority

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.  — Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Wednesday that mobile has become the “top priority” at Facebook Inc., although the social network is not interested in building its own devices like smartphones or wearable connected products.

Sandberg appeared on stage at the D11 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday morning. The conference is sponsored by the AllThingsD technology blog that, along with MarketWatch, is owned by News Corp.

In a question-and-answer session, Sandberg said Facebook must practice a form of “ruthless prioritization”  to focus its workforce of 5,000 people to serve a base of more than 1 billion users. As such, she said there are many goals that would be worthy for the company to pursue — such as building an advertising network — that it elects not to so it can focus effectively on more important items.

“Mobile is the top goal right now. Every product team is focused on mobile,” Sandberg said, noting that only a few years ago the company used to develop for desktop first.

Facebook posted a big jump in mobile ad revenues in its first quarter results earlier this month, as the company inserts more ads onto its users’ news feeds on devices like smartphones and tablets.

Sandberg said Wednesday that she anticipates that more revenue growth will come as the company makes the ads more effective and targeted, and thus more valuable, as opposed to pushing a higher number into the news feed.

“The growth you’ll see from us on mobile is less about inserting more ads and more about inserting better ads,” she said.

Sandberg also discussed her recent book: “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” She said her goal with her recent efforts is “to make it OK to talk about gender” in the workplace, noting that women are still often penalized by showing characteristics like aggressiveness…

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