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Pinterest’s Revenue Man Tries to Bring Ad Plan into Focus

Every work day, Tim Kendall, Pinterest’s head of monetization, dons a T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Focus.” He started wearing it at the beginning of last year when he was still the company’s “head of product”—a misnomer, given that CEO Ben Silbermann effectively ran product—and wanted to inspire colleagues and himself. He said he’d continue to wear it until the company reached a far-off milestone for user growth.

Today, as the man in charge of Pinterest’s revenue, a position he’s held since March, Mr. Kendall says he still wears it because it helps him and his team stick to the most important goals and not get distracted. (He owns about 20 versions of the shirt in various colors.)

The shirt is a peculiar sight at a company not known for moving particularly fast or having a competitive spirit. For Mr. Kendall, who helped design some of the earliest ads on Facebook, the most important goal right now is clear: figure out the best ad unit for Pinterest to build revenue into the billions of dollars after what’s said to be a dawdling start, and as other companies such as Facebook’s Instagram become more direct rivals.

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“He rolls up his sleeves, puts on his T-shirt and got a lot of shit done,” CEO Ben Silbermann says of Mr. Kendall.