The New York Times | 09.11.18

Pinterest Is a Unicorn. It Just Doesn’t Act Like One.

By Erin Griffith

SAN FRANCISCO — Ben Silbermann does not enjoy being interviewed. He isn’t a fan of speaking at tech industry conferences. Nor does he like sitting for glossy magazine portraits. He doesn’t think he should have to explain Pinterest, the web service that allows people to save images to virtual pinboards, to anyone other than those who want to use it.

That is the case even in the last couple of years, when Pinterest and Mr. Silbermann, its co-founder and chief executive, could have been shouting the company’s virtues from the rooftops.

Its peers, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, have been drowning in toxic harassment, fake news and Russian disinformation campaigns. Critics have denounced social media-induced anxiety and addiction.

Pinterest, by Mr. Silbermann’s design, is the opposite: the web’s last bastion of quaint innocence. Having de-emphasized its social media elements years ago, Pinterest aims to be a safe and happy place for inspiration, self-improvement and salted caramel cookie recipes. It also rejects Silicon Valley’s typical unicorn formula of moving fast, breaking things, chasing growth at all costs and bragging about every victory.

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