Mark Zuckerberg started out in computers early, learning to code when he was just 12. By the time he was at Harvard university he was considered something of a programming prodigy. No surprise then that Facebook started out in his dorm room.
After leaving Harvard after his second year to pursue Facebook, he moved with fellow entrepreneurs to Palo Alto, California.
When building Facebook, Zuckerberg says his intention was not to make a lot of money, nor to “take over the world” – he wanted to make it easier for people around the globe to connect with each other and share information that was relevant to them, taking news away from the big conglomerates.
Although Facebook has been hit with its share of court cases, it continues to be a site almost essential to personal and business connections.
Zuckerberg and the growth of Facebook were depicted in the critically acclaimed movie The Social Network – a portrayal that Zuckerberg disagreed with, saying many of the details were inaccurate. He was unhappy with the movie generally, saying he wished it hadn’t been made while he was still alive.
Facebook made its initial public offering in May 2012, raising US$16 billion – the biggest internet IPO in history.
And where competitors have popped up in the social media sphere, Facebook has either adapted to take on board their key attractions, or outright bought them, as with photo sharing service Instagram.
Facebook has recently launched video calling to allow Facebook Messaging to compete with Skype, and with the growth of chatbots, Messenger will become an even more powerful tool for businesses.
Zuckerberg married long-term girlfriend Priscilla Chan in 2012, the day after the IPO, and in 2015 the couple had their first child. This prompted Zuckerberg to make a pledge to donate 99% of their Facebook shares to charity. At the time of the pledge those shares were worth US$4.5 billion
When he was asked for one piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Zuckerberg simply offered this: “Don’t give up.”
Other pieces of Zuckerberg advice:
- “In a world that’s changing really quickly the only strategy that’s guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
- “Move fast and break things.”
- “The question isn’t ‘what do we know about people’, the question is ‘what do people want to tell about themselves’.”
- The question I ask myself is “Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?”