“I am just lucky to be alive”, Mark Zuckerberg, the young American computer programmer and founder of social networking site “Facebook” said after coming face to face with a ‘man on drugs’ holding the gun at a petrol station in 2005.
But the whole world is lucky because of Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook has completely changed our lives, the way we communicate and the way we do business.
Mark Zuckerberg came into this world on May 14, 1984 in New York to parents Mrs. Karen, a psychiatrist, & Mr. Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist. He has three sisters, Randi, Donna, & Arielle. Mark and his three sisters grew up in a family that instilled confidence in them and encouraged & inspired their individuality. He was raised Jewish in his family but as he grew up, he always described himself as an atheist.
In 1990s only, his father taught him Atari BASIC Programming, and later software developer David Newman was hired to tutor him privately. Newman got so impressed with Zuckerberg skills that he calls him a “Computer Prodigy,” saying that it was “tough to stay ahead of him.”
Growth as a Software Developer
Mark always loved & enjoyed developing computer programs esp. games and communication tools. In the initial years only, he built a software program “ZuckNet” to help his father dental practice, which allowed all the computers between the house and dental office to communicate by pinging each other. It was considered a “primitive” version of AOL’s Instant Messenger, which came out the following year.
Apart from that, he always used to built games and other playing stuff for his friends. His friends used to draw stuff and Mark used to built a game out of that.
But the big break in Mark’s life came in High School when he built a music player called the Synapse Media Player that used artificial intelligence to recognize your taste in music. Microsoft & AOL tried to purchase Synapse and recruit Zuckerberg, but he rejected the offer, uploaded the Media Player for free on Internet and enrolled himself at Harvard University in September 2002.
Harvard University Life
Zuckerberg joined Harvard University and studied computer science before founding Facebook. He has already developed this reputation of being a “Computer Prodigy”.
In the second year, he built a program “CourseMatch”, where you go online and can see what courses your friends are taking.
But the breakthrough came when one night, Zuckerberg created Facemash, a website that compared students’ dorm photos side-by-side in a similar fashion to HOT or NOT. Harvard administration was not amused as all the pictures of students were hacked by Mark from the Harvard official website, and Zuckerberg faced subsequent disciplinary action. The site was shut down by the Harvard Administration next morning itself.
Launch of “thefacebook.com”
Around the time of Facemash, however, students were requesting to the administration that the university develop an internal website that would include similar photos and contact details so that students can find about each other. According to sources, “Mark heard these plans and decided that if the university won’t do something about it, he will, and he would build a site that would be even better than what the university had planned”
Originally called thefacebook.com, Facebook was founded Mark Zuckerberg on Feb.4, 2004 with some financial help from his friend Eduardo Saverin. Initially the site was only launched to the Harvard students but later it was made available to different universities and today to most part of the world.
Later, Mark Zuckerberg was joined by two other fellow Harvard-students – Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes – to help him grow and take the website to a whole new level. In August 2005, thefacebook was officially called Facebook and the domain facebook.com was purchased for a reported $200,000.
A month later after facebook was launched, Wayne Chang created ,i2hub, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. The service got huge attention which made Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Adam D’Angelo and Sean Parker launch a similar competing peer-2-peer file sharing service called Wirehog. But later on , Mark Zuckerberg dropped this venture to focus entirely on Facebook.
Check out the Mark Zuckerberg Interview in June, 2005:
1) Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accused Zuckerberg of intentionally making them believe he would help them build a social network called HarvardConnection.com (later called ConnectU). They filed a lawsuit in 2004 but it was dismissed on a technicality on March 28, 2007. It was refiled soon thereafter in federal court in Boston. On June 25, 2008, the case settled and Facebook agreed to transfer over 1.2 million common shares and pay $20 million in cash to the Winklevoss Brothers.
2) Saverin lawsuit
A lawsuit filed by Eduardo Saverin against Facebook and Zuckerberg was settled out of court. Though terms of the settlement were kept secret, the company affirmed Saverin’s title as co-founder of Facebook. Saverin signed a non-disclosure contract after the settlement.
The Social Network Movie
A movie based on Mark Zuckerberg life, called The Social Network was released on October 1, 2010, and stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg. The movie was based on The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. The movie portayed Zuckerberg somewhat as the bad guy. “I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive”, Mark said about the movie.
Mark Zuckerberg won the Crunchie Award for ‘Best Startup CEO’ in 2007.
He was also the Time Magazine 2010 Person Of The Year.
On December 9, 2010,Mark Zuckerberg with Bill Gates, and investor Warren Buffett signed a promise called the “Giving Pledge”, in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over the course of time, and invited others among the wealthy to donate 50% or more of their wealth to charity.
In September 2010, Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to the Newark Public School System to help renovate and revamp the system.
After launching the website in 2004, there was no turning back for Mark Zuckerberg. He has continuously improved the site like an artist to take the user experience to a whole new level. With more than 750 million users and more than 2000 employees at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth now is US $ 13.5 billion.
“People always talked about revolutions and lucky accidents but success is not about a moment, it’s about years & years of hard work and practice.”