To solve its money-making conundrum, Pinterest has hired Tim Kendall, Facebook's former Director of Monetization, reports Fortune's Jessi Hempel in a profile of the rising social network. Pinterest, like many Internet sites, doesn't quite know how to get dollars out of all its site visitors. Last we heard Pinterest was just sort of waiting it out. "My hope is that if we build a service that a lot of people use to plan and discover things, that will be really valuable," Pinterest board member Jeremy Levine told The Wall Street Journal in February. Levine didn't explain how the site planned to do that. But, Kendall with his four-plus years directing the very successful monetization of Facebook, sounds like the perfect person to help Pinterest figure it all out.
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Kendall joined Facebook in June 2006, just two years after Mark Zuckerberg founded the social network and months before it opened up to more than just high school and college students. For the next four years and seven months he headed up "Product Strategy & Development for Facebook's revenue generating products," notes his LinkedIn profile. Meaning, he created the products and advertising strategies that took the social network from popular it Internet thing through a $240 million Microsoft deal, to positive cash-flow a $47 billion valuation that would eventually lead to its big IPO filing. Specifically, he "recognized early on not only that advertising could be social ... he wrote the blueprint for our monetization strategy" explained Facebook Vice President of Marketing David Fischer in a company wide e-mail quoted by TechCrunch when Kellar announced his departure. "In all seriousness, it is safe to say we would not be where we are today without Tim."
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Before joining Facebook, Kendall dabbled in a variety of fields. He was a product manager Amazon, an Associate at JP Morgan and a contributing writer at Forbes. Since leaving Facebook he has done some venture capital, investing in Turntable.fm and SneakPeeq, a social shopping site. Perhaps it's this Renaissance Man quality that will help him navigate PInterest's marketing waters.
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Pinterest, at least on paper, has a lot in common with Facebook during the Kendall era. It's a social network. It's growing at hyper-speed. And it's free. Unlike Facebook, however, it's entering an already super-saturated market, where Facebook already rules. But, it also has some advantages, explains Hempel. "Pinterest has the potential to translate more quickly to sales dollars than other social-networking sites," she explains, noting the sales it has driven to retail sites like Birchbox. And, capitilizing on that type of monetization should be no problem for Kendall, continues Hempel: "Targeted ads seem like a no-brainer, and new hire Kendall is sure to have some ideas for how to help companies better reach consumers on the site," she continues. Plus, Kendall knows all about the competition.