There might be one thing that always fascinates you regardless of your age. For Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it was programming.
When his peers resorted to the comfort of playgrounds and comics, Zuckerberg acquainted with computer. He built Zucknet, a messaging platform when he was just 12. That’s how he kick-started his fantastic career.
Mark Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in White Plains, New York. His father, Edward Zuckerberg, was a dentists and mother,Karen, a psychiatrist.
Zuckerberg developed a passion towards programming at an early age. He learnt the ABCs of programming when his father bought him a computer. He knew that computer was going to change his life and the world in future.
So his father decided to hire a tutor for Zuckerberg to help him learn the finer aspects of programming. He roped in developer David Newman to give advanced programming lessons to Zuckerberg.
Zuckerberg created Zucknet in 1996 using Atari BASIC. His father used the software in his dental clinic to communicate with his staff. His family used it to communicate within the house.
As a teenager, Zuckerberg also showed great interest in sports and arts. He was the captain of the fencing team at Phillips Exeter Academy, a preparatory school in New Hampshire. He also has sound knowledge in Greek literature and classics.
Mark Zuckerberg joined Harvard University in 2002 for higher studies. It was a turning point in his life. At Harvard, he invested a lion’s share of his time in programming. Among his Harvard mates, Zuckerberg earned the reputation as the go-to software developer on campus.
He built a software called CourseMatch, which helped students choose the right classes based on the course selection of other users. It was purely an academic platform.
Later, he developed Facemash, which became an instant sensation among students. It was actually a fun software.
Facemash helped users compare the photos of two students on campus and allowed them to vote for the more attractive photo. But Harvard administration shut down Facemash after finding it inappropriate.
The immense popularity of Facemash increased Zuckerberg’s reputation on the campus. Some of his seniors approached him to create a dating website for Harvard students. They called the project Harvard Connection.
Initially, Zuckerberg agreed to work with developing Harvard Connection, but dropped out of the project later.
Zuckerberg started to work on his own project from Harvard. He roped in his friends, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin to push the project forward.
The idea was to create an online platform where users can create their own profiles and upload photos and communicate seamlessly with other users.
He called it Facebook. Zuckerberg and friends launched Facebook from his hostel room in 2004.
Facebook became a tremendous success, amassing one million users by the end of 2004. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to focus completely on Facebook.
Growth of Facebook & Zuckerberg
Facebook received a whopping investment of $12.7 million from reputed venture capital firm, Accel Partners, in 2005. It was the crucial step in Facebook’s initial growth. By this time, Zuckerberg laid out plans to popularize Facebook.
He made Facebook accessible to other colleges, high school and international schools, pushing the website’s membership to more than 5.5 million users by December 2005.
The wide popularity of Facebook persuaded other companies to associate with it. Many firms like MTV and Yahoo even offered to buy Facebook.
The potential for advertisement in Facebook had caught their attention. However, Zuckerberg turned down every offer and decided to take Facebook to further heights.
He focused on enhancing the user experience. New features were added to the social networking site. He opened Facebook to other users across the globe, making it the best social networking site in the world. Facebook’s user base grew every year.
In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion, which was followed by the acquisition of instant messaging app, WhatsApp, for $19 billion in 2014. Presently, Facebook has over 2 billion users and 25,000 employees worldwide.
With the superlative growth of Facebook, Zuckerberg has become fifth richest man in the world with a net worth of $70 billion.
Controversies were always a part of Zuckerberg’s life. He had encountered many obstacles. He faced the first big hurdle from his old friends at Harvard, the creators of Harvard Connection. They claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea to create Facebook.
Later, his reputation was at stake when the film titled The Social Network, which is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires, was released. Zuckerberg dismissed the incidents portrayed in the movie and alleged that the movie presented twisted reality.
The latest controversy that shook Facebook was the charges of data breach, in which Cambridge Analytica, a British Political firm, used Facebook data to influence voters. In a testimony to Congress, Zuckerberg admitted that it was his personal mistake.
Working towards betterment of society
Mark Zuckerberg has been actively involved in philanthropy and supports various causes. He is a signatory of the The Giving Pledge.
He co-founded Chan Zuckerberg Initiative along with his wife, Priscilla Chan. It’s objective, according to Zuckerberg is to “advance human potential and promote equality in areas such as health, education, scientific research and energy.
99% of their Facebook shares have been pledged for Chan Zuckerberg initiative.
Honours and awards
Mark Zuckerberg received honorary doctorate from Harvard University in 2017. In 2016 he was ranked 10th on Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People. He was also the Time Person of the Year in 2010.
No matter the controversies, Mark Zuckerberg is still an inspiration for every entrepreneur. He had many hurdles while building Facebook. But he handled them wisely and didn’t go astray from realizing his dream.
As entrepreneurs, there will be many roadblocks in your way. But don’t allow them to defeat you. Works towards achieving your success. Nurture the passion in you and use it to meet your goals!
If a teenager who loved programming can change the world with Facebook. You too can! What are you waiting for? Go chase your dream now!
Want to get inspired? Here are top 5 quotes of Mark Zuckerberg!
- “Find that thing you are super passionate about.”
- “People can be really smart or have skills that are directly applicable, but if they don’t really believe in it, then they are not going to really work hard.”
- “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
- “People don’t care about what you say, they care about what you build.”
- I think a simple rule of business is, if you do things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.