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Zuckerberg press conference

Before speaking to an assembly of students in 26-100 yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg held a brief press conference outside Lobby 10. Much of the discussion referred to his comments at a Stanford University event last Saturday, when he said that he may have kept Facebook in Boston if he had the chance to start over.

As reported by Time magazine, Zuckerberg said, “If you’re a beginner and you don’t know anything about this stuff, [Silicon Valley’s] actually an excellent place to be because a lot of the stuff that you wouldn’t understand how to do on your own, like I didn’t, I could just get help from a lot of other people. But honestly, if I were starting now, I just would have stayed in Boston, I think.”

Seven years after co-founding the multibillion dollar company, Zuckerberg told the Stanford audience that Silicon Valley’s short attention span “bothers” him.

On the other hand, companies outside of the startup hub show more of a “longer-term cadence,” according to the 27-year-old CEO.

Back in 2004, it was his lack of experience that pushed Zuckerberg to the West Coast. In yesterday’s press conference at MIT, Zuckerberg said he had wanted to work with people who had experience building companies.

Still, he stressed that entrepreneurs, especially engineers, should not feel pressured to start in Silicon Valley.

“Often, I think a lot of people move out to Silicon Valley because that’s where they have to be, but there are so many smart people out here at MIT and Harvard and other universities that you could start a company here, you could start a company in New York, you could start it in any country you want.”

“If [entrepreneurs] can find the financing and the engineering talent out here that they need, which I think exists, then a lot of people would be willing to stay for a while.”

Zuckerberg referred to Dropbox as an example of another successful company started in Cambridge by students. Dropbox was co-founded in 2007 by Andrew W. Houston ’06, a Course VI major, and Arash Ferdowsi ’08 when emails and USB flash drives proved to be inefficient for file-sharing.

Finally, Zuckerberg addressed a question on cyberbullying, describing it as an “unfortunate thing online that we work really hard to prevent.” Facebook’s solutions, such as encouraging users to report abuse, are “social,” Zuckerberg said, “just like a lot of the other dynamics on the site.”

—Maggie Lloyd