Dev

Zuckerberg: I wish Parse had been around when I started Facebook

Above: Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Parse Developer Day

Image Credit: Jolie O'Dell/VentureBeat

SAN FRANCISCO — Talking about his social network’s early days, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he started out with an $8,000 budget and all the responsibility of building his own backend.

“In retrospect, man, I wish Parse was around back then,” he said.

Mobile backend-as-a-service Parse, the Facebook-owned developer tool that powers more than 100,000 mobile apps, is holding its one-day developer conference in San Francisco today. Zuckerberg’s brief opening remarks set the stage for a keynote from Parse CEO Ilya Sukhar.

“In the beginning of 2011 … it was all about social and mobile,” said Sukhar. “I quit my job and decided I would build the next great social-mobile-local app. Not the best idea, but it turned out OK.”

But instead of having a happy-go-lucky, fun experience with the app, Sukhar found his expectations vastly inaccurate.

“I was building this app, and it was really painful. I thought I’d be spending all my time on functionality and figuring out how to get users and how to build a great interface. But I was actually spending my time on the boring stuff.”

And that’s where the idea for Parse came from. Likening the backend-building process to spending a day at the department of motor vehicles, Sukhar said, “I could probably do better by replacing the DMV.”

Parse’s product offers developers an array of SDKs for various mobile platforms and a full backend stack. The service includes features for data storage, social media integration, and push notifications, with free options for lightweight use and monthly price tiers for larger customers.


Editor’s note: We’ll be debating backend-as-a-service at our upcoming CloudBeat conference, Sept. 9-10 in San Francisco, including showcasing the new company Firebase, which offers a real-time service. Register today!


In April, Facebook acquired Parse for a reported $85 million. Parse continues to operate as a standalone business, launching features and serving customers independent of Facebook. In May, the company launched a hosting service.

We’ll have more news today throughout the conference, so stay tuned.


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