Mark Zuckerberg is an American Techpreneur and philanthropist known for co-founding the largest social networking site, Facebook, where he is the CEO and Chairman.
|Net Worth:||51.4 billion $|
|Born:||May 14, 1984|
|Country of Origin:||United States Of America|
|Source Of Wealth:||American technology entrepreneur, CEO and Leading Facebook|
|Spouse:||Priscilla Chan (m. 2012)|
A Short History Of Mark!
Known to be among the youngest billionaires in the world, Zuckerberg’s life is all about connecting people.
“Helping a billion people connect is amazing, humbling and by far the thing I am most proud of in my life.”
His desire to connect people using technology began right in his father’s house where he created a software to enable communication between computers at home.
Unlike many start-up owners, Zuckerberg’s drive was never in making money but creating little projects that work. That explains why Facebook, though seen as one large network grows through small apps and ideas that are tested, fail, tested again then work.
From his earliest project, ZuckNet, to CourseMatch, to the short-lived Facemash, all the way to Facebook, Zuckerberg has all been about connecting people.
Though not likely to be his last ‘small’ project, his mission is on and going with Facebook signing up over 2.3 billion active users around the world.
Like many others who have earned big names and seats at the world’s billionaire’s table, Zuckerberg has made his share of mistakes, some of which he has had to make apologies in person and even appeared in court.
“Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
That explains the mistakes and fast growth of the multi-billion dollar corporation, Facebook.
How His Career Starts?
With his interest in computers tracing back when he was 12 years old, Zuckerberg created a software program, ‘ZuckNet’ that allowed computers in the house and his father’s dental office to communicate with each other.
Having been introduced to Atari BASIC Programming in the 1990s and privately tutored by a seasoned software developer, David Newman, Zuckerberg was able to build Synapse Media Player while in high school.
Synapse was built to help detect the users’ preferences in music. It drew the attention of Microsoft and AOL who tried to woo him to sell it for $1 million which meant he would have to drop out of school to develop it.
Zuckerberg turned down the offer and opted to proceed to Harvard. He also wrote computer games using characters drawn by his friends who were artists.
At Harvard, Zuckerberg’s thrill for coding went a notch higher and he created the CourseMatch program enabling students to choose classes based on their friends’ preferences.
That made it easy for them to form suitable study groups. He later created Facemash that only lasted a weekend and was shut down by the school management.
The website contained photos of students where they could vote between two photos which student was more attractive.
That got Zuckerberg in trouble after overwhelming Harvard’s network with traffic and using students’ photos without their consent.
He had to apologize publicly.
This incident didn’t dull Zuckerberg’s star. Instead, he gained more recognition in some students’ circles. Among those who thought well of him were the Winklevoss twins; Tyler and Cameron and their partner Divya Narendra.
They had been searching for a coding partner who could help them put together a social network, Harvard Connection.
At first, Zuckerberg agreed to join them and even told them he would work on it. But he kept delaying the project because he was secretly working on his project.
He began writing The Facebook Code in January 2004 and on February 4, 2004 he launched the social network from his dormitory room enabling Harvard students to connect socially with each other over the internet.
This didn’t go well with the Harvard Connection team, they felt betrayed by Zuckerberg claiming that he had stolen their idea and used it to build his venture.
Then going by the name The Facebook and hosted on Thefacebook.com and set for Harvard students only, they in embraced it and began signing up.
Zuckerberg and his friends, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum and Chris Hughes decided to open the social network to other universities.
This drew the attention of corporates such as Visa and American express seeking to advertise on the website hence creating revenue for the team.
Though not open to the outside world, Sean Parker, founder of Napster who already had social network experience and was mentoring Friendster’s founder saw The Facebook on his girlfriend’s computer.
She was a student at Stanford.
Seeing its potential, he got in touch with Zuckerberg who already had great admiration for him and within the first 5 months of its existence became the public face of The Facebook.
With so much knowledge about venture capitalists, he connected Zuckerberg to the first investor Peter Thiel who invested $500, 000 enabling the startup to grow.
Parker’s reign came to an end on August 2005 when he was arrested after police found cocaine in his vacation house.
The investors insisted on his stepping down leaving Zuckerberg no other choice rise to the position and let Parker go.
With students from other colleges signing up on The Facebook, Zuckerberg realized that his project could no longer run small and opted to drop out of Harvard after his sophomore year.
Together with his friends, they moved to Palo Alto with the aim of getting the startup closer to other technology firms.
In 2005, Zuckerberg had changed the name of his startup to Facebook and expanded to universities in other countries growing its users.
With Facebook’s growth becoming so eminent, Yahoo approached Zuckerberg asking him to sell it to them for $1 billion. Despite the offer looking so good, he refused citing that by accepting it, Facebook wouldn’t’ allow it to become what he wanted it to be.
Another offer came in 2006 from MTV Network asking to buy Facebook for $1.5 billion. Zuckerberg told the CEO of MTV that judging from his apartment in Palo Alto which he had just shown him, he didn’t need that kind of money and besides Facebook was worth a lot more.
Zuckerberg and his team kept building Facebook through holding all-night hackathons to develop various ideas in order to give their users a better experience.
Among the new ideas was Facebook Newsfeed that brought about a live-newspaper feel.
At first users complained that it interfered with their privacy and Zuckerberg took the uproar to heart by writing an open apology to them.
Instead of withdrawing Newsfeed, he tweaked it to make the social network neat and the users got used to it.
That year, Zuckerberg opened Facebook to the public allowing the user base to shoot to 2 million.
In 2007, Zuckerberg invited programmers around the world to contribute to the growth of Facebook by developing and submitting apps.
That added functions like games and video sharing.
It also attracted the attention of Microsoft who invested $250 million in exchange for 1.6% stake, pointing out that they value Facebook at $15 billion. This was despite the fact that Zuckerberg was only making $30 million in profit.
With Microsoft’s entrance, Zuckerberg introduced yet another function, social advertising, as a way of remedying the profit problem.
It was followed by Beacon that allowed broadcasting of users activities in third-party sites unless they opted out of the function. While he thought it was a great move, uproar came his way with users declaring that he had ruined their Christmas.
Zuckerberg gave yet another apology on 5th December 2007 under Facebook Notes; Thoughts on Beacon. He also changed the ‘opt-out’ option to ‘opt-in’ so that users would only share such activities at will.
In 2009, Yuri Millner, the founder of a Russian firm, Digital Sky Technologies (DST) began discussions with Zuckerberg on investing in Facebook.
DST later invested $200 million in exchange for 1.96% stake enabling Facebook to grow the advertising section seeing that it was better placed in advertising based on the amount of user data it had accumulated.
Zuckerberg’s wish to connect people and provide ubiquity was no longer a private affair.
In 2010, Egypt and Tunisia used Facebook to quicken changes in their countries through posting protest videos and sharing them forcing their governments to adhere to the changes they were demanding.
Though Zuckerberg distanced himself from the politics, it was clear he had made it easier for them to make the changes they needed.
Being a fierce competitor, Zuckerberg went on to poach employees from huge corporates causing them to have a rift against him.
With a strong employee base and clear vision, Facebook went public in 2012 giving Zuckerberg 22% ownership share and majority voting shares, 57%. Facebook was priced at $140 billion.
With every step of growth in Facebook, Zuckerberg made tough decisions that generated a lot of curiosity around the world.
A good example was his decision to buy Instagram, a photo-sharing startup that was started in 2010.
The startup had only 13 employees and 30 million users and he purchased it in 2012 for $1 billion. Many people in the tech sector argued that it was a wrong move but a few years down the line, it was clear Zuckerberg had made a great buy as Instagram’s user base grew very fast.
In 2014, Zuckerberg acquired WhatsApp, a prominent instant messaging platform in developing countries for $19 billion.
With Instagram and WhatsApp being the highest acquisitions by Facebook, by 2017, 65 other companies had joined the bandwagon.
They include Oculus VR, a virtual reality technology firm that was bought at $2 billion.
The once dormitory room affair limited to Harvard students continues to connect people around the world priding itself with over a billion active users in September 2012 and 2.23 billion monthly active users by the second quarter of 2018.
That has made Zuckerberg one of the most powerful people in the world.
Zuckerberg is not one to be left behind on charitable work; in September 2010, he donated $100 million towards reforming Newark public schools in New Jersey.
He also joined The Giving Pledge with the aim of giving to charity at least half of his wealth over the course of time. This charity was started by fellow billionaires, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
Zuckerberg also donated $25 million to combat Ebola virus in West Africa.
After the birth of Maxima, his first born in 2015, Zuckerberg and his wife wrote an open letter to her promising to give 99% of their Facebook shares to charity.
He also started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization whose initial areas of focus was personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.
(A letter to our daughter) The initiative’s presence is guided by his thought,
“The only way that we reach our full human potential is if we’re able to unlock the gifts of every person around the world.”
Though his net worth has been seen to fluctuate every time Facebook goes through legal battles, Zuckerberg’s net worth has gone up after a season of dropping.
As at August 3, 2018, his net worth stood at $66.5 billion placing him in the top 10 list of the richest people in world.
Here His Top 10 Rules
Born Mark Elliot Zuckerberg on May 14, 1984 in White Plains, New York, Zuckerberg was raised in a Reform Jewish household.
His parents Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist and Karen Kempner a psychiatrist brought him and his 3 sisters up in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
From a tender age, Zuckerberg was known to be strong-willed and relentless. According to his father, answering ‘No’ to him meant you had a strong argument backed with enough logical reasons for it.
His parents thought he would grow up to become a lawyer.
While attending junior school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, being a very bright student, Zuckerberg won plenty of prizes in Math, Astronomy and Physics.
Though his interest in programming came in early in his life, unlike other geeks, he had a great social life and loved literature which earned him a diploma in classics. He also had talent for fencing.
Unlike the depiction given of him in the movie, The Social Network that was meant to portray his life, he had quite an active social life that included a girlfriend whom he later married.
Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan (Dr. Priscilla Chan) on May 19, 2012 at the backyard of his Palo Alto, California home on the same day she was graduating from Medical school.
The two met at a school party and Chan didn’t consider him a studious person after he told her he would rather go out with her than go home and do his school assignment. Little did she know they would date for 9 years then get married.
Together they have two daughters, Maxima and August. In line with the reason he built Facebook in the first place, “Bring people closer together”
Zuckerberg takes two months paternity leave upon the birth of his each of his children.
Zuckerberg is not much of a dresser; despite being the CEO and Chairman of one of the most powerful social network in the world, in most of his photos, he is seen wearing a hoodie and open shoes.
Wearing a jacket and a tie ends up making him look misplaced. He doesn’t consider spending time deciding on what to have for breakfast or what to wear, instead he considers the best use of his time in building things that matter.