Evan Spiegel may be the youngest CEO of a public company, but don’t underestimate Snap’s 27-year-old co-founder just yet. He recently demonstrated a moment of self-awareness and his ability to grow as a leader.
On Tuesday, in a rare appearance at Vanity Fair‘s New Establishment Summit, Spiegel admitted that Snap’s market debut was much harder than he had anticipated. Snap, which went public in March, has reported disappointing earnings and a stock drop below its $17 public offering price.
Despite Snap’s lackluster earnings and increasing pressure from competitors like Facebook and Instagram, Spiegel is showing potential as a leader in a number of ways:
1. He stepped into the spotlight.
Admitting fault is hard enough, but doing it publicly is a bold move. Spiegel, who doesn’t make many public appearances, displayed that bravery on Tuesday. While he addressed the company’s failures, he also saw the opportunity to share its successes (e.g., Russian operatives didn’t use Snap in the 2016 presidential election to target voters, unlike Facebook and Twitter).
2. He acknowledged his faults and weaknesses.
Spiegel said that his internal and external communication skills need work. “One of the things I did underestimate was how much more important communication becomes,” he said when discussing the company’s investors. Spiegel added that he aims to do a better job of explaining to investors how his company works.
3. He talked about the exciting things coming up.
Spiegel said Snap is partnering with the contemporary artist Jeff Koons to allow users to view virtual art installations in the real world using the company’s augmented reality technology. “Cameras inspire curiosity … they encourage you to look around,” he said. “If you look at the Snapchat camera, layering this expression on top of your experience encourages anyone anywhere to be creative.”