How CEO Ben Silbermann maintained the Pinterest identity

Pinterest has already become the no.1 website destination for DIY-ers and planners looking for inspiration. The company has already drawn more than $1 billion in funding since its 2010 launch and already employs more than 1000 people worldwide. However, Pinterest’s co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said that the journey to get to where they are now was not easy. During a dinner hosted by the Economic Club of Chicago, the CEO shared that there had been a point when he felt like the company had been lost, in that they were making decisions based on strategy books instead of following their understanding of people’s nature. He said that they had to make several hard decisions to keep their company back on track. They had to reorganize the structure of the company and let go of people who didn’t believe in the same vision. Then, they shut down for two days and hosted a company event wherein they asked people to teach some fun and quirky skills to give off the feeling of inspiration that Pinterest does for its users. Their next goal was to promote diversity, and this included not just hiring women or minorities but also people who came from various backgrounds, who were weird, fun, and creative. It was revealed in a 2016 diversity report that Pinterest had increased the number of women in technical roles from 21% to 26% and increased the hiring rate of engineers from ethnic groups from 1% to 9%. The CEO closed his speech by talking about his plans on how to approach Trump’s executive order on immigration and how it affects his business. In terms of his employees, he said that the company will always be on their side to stand up for them. In terms of the bigger picture, he said that they will have to wait and see what happens next.


Ben Silbermann


Ecnomic Club of Chicago