Snap founder Evan Spiegel expressed confidence in steering his beleaguered company through tough times with a refined focus on three key areas, as outlined in a keynote interview Wednesday at the Code Conference in Los Angeles.
He identified boosting Snap’s user base of 350 million daily active users, reaccelerating revenue growth and investing in augmented reality as the road to recovery for a company suffering a 75% stock decline versus last year. Last week, Spiegel announced he was laying off a fifth of the company and shuttering multiple product lines outside his narrowed focus, including original content.
The layoffs, he explained, were necessary to reaccelerate revenue growth at a time when macroeconomic circumstances make cost-cutting the only viable short-term solution.
Asked by interviewer Scott Galloway whether he was considering selling the company considering he effectively controls its future as 51% owner of voting shares, Spiegel didn’t quite answer the question but waxed very bullish about where he sees the company headed. “Personally where I sit today and look at the long-term opportunity in our business, I really believe it’s enormous,” he said. “We’re far from reaching our full potential. Over time, the stock price has gone up and down but we’ve tried to stay focused on delivering value for shareholders.”
Spiegel also addressed Snap’s competition including TikTok, which he conceded is a tough act to follow because of the company’s core’s technology. “TikTok got this great lead early on but really aggressively expanding so that people could train the algorithm and ultimately end up with a more personalized feed that’s harder to get on a new service,” he said.
Asked who he saw as Snap’s biggest rival, he replied, “Meta continues to be a very large and challenging competitor.” Addressing the future competition Snap will face in the smart-glasses category from much larger companies like Meta and Apple, he noted that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to innovation.
Said Spiegel, “What gives me a lot of hope is that historically spending large amounts of money is not always a predictor of success.”
(Pictured: Recode’s Scott Galloway and Kara Swisher with Snap’s Evan Spiegel)