Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel is leading the company through a plummeting stock price, competition from a much larger industry rival and painful staff cuts — but he’s not ready to give up.
“When I look at the long-term opportunity in our business, I really believe it’s huge,” Spiegel said, speaking with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway at Vox Media’s Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California on Wednesday. “I believe we are far from reaching our full potential. And I believe that over time the share price has gone up and down, and we’ve tried to stay focused on delivering real shareholder value.”
Snap’s stock price has lost about 76 percent of its value since the beginning of this year. Last week, the company laid off 20 percent of its workforce, or over 1,200 employees — one of the largest in a recent wave of tech layoffs. The company also decided to discontinue at least six of its products, including the Pixy drone camera.
At the same time, Spiegel is up against some major competition from social media giant Meta, which it has invested in $10 billion last year related to AR/VR initiatives similar to what Snap has long been working on with its own Glasses for video recording and other hardware projects.
“What gives me great hope is that, you know, historically in our industry, spending huge amounts of money has not always been associated with long-term success,” Spiegel said. He added that even if the company’s competitors “have a lot more money,” that doesn’t mean they will win. “In fact, I think what happens is that a lot of those companies that are spending a lot more don’t have to make the tough decisions.”
Snap is one of several consumer technology companies that have been hit hard by recent inflation and global economic uncertainty, as well as recent changes in Apple’s privacy settings which make it difficult for social media companies to advertise to mobile users.
These factors have led to hiring freezes and layoffs at some of the world’s most valuable companies, such as Google and Facebook. But the impact was particularly large at Snap, which is a relatively smaller company with fewer revenue streams. The company also expanded its workforce last year, employs over 2,000 people.
Even amid recent financial challenges, Snap has continued to significantly grow its user base and exist 347 million users per day. However, to keep it going, the 32-year-old CEO will have to fend off this economic downturn and fierce competition.
After Spiegel was asked about how he balances his CEO duties with his father, he said.
“I haven’t found a magic solution or answer because I also feel a huge responsibility,” Spiegel said. “And so I keep feeling pulled in a million directions.”
This article has been clarified to add additional context