At 26, he is the youngest billionaire in the world, has pledged $100 million of his earnings towards New Jersey’s school system, has been featured in a widely acclaimed and popular movie a little earlier in the year, and yes he founded a social network website with help from his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes in February 2004.
Already knew all that? Of course! You use Facebook along with 500 million others around the world and probably saw the movie, The Social Network, too!
Before Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote Facemash, a Hot-or Not website he created by hacking into the protected areas of Harvard’s computer network and copying private dormitory ID images from nine houses. The site had 22,000 views from 450 visitors within four hours. In his blog he wrote, “I’m a jerk for making this site. Oh well. Someone had to do it eventually…”
From that little experiment he did for a lark, he created something that now connects the world.
If it wasn’t for Zuckerberg’s stubborn streak, Facebook would have been gobbled up by a media giant a long time ago. He was pursued by many but one of the most persistent was Viacom. Michael Wolf, president of Viacom’s MTV first befriended Zuckerberg on Facebook and suggested they meet for dinner next time Wolf was in Palo Alto. When that didn’t work, he claimed he was planning to be in San Francisco with the Viacom corporate jet. Would Mark like a ride back to New York for the holidays?
Mark liked the idea of a ride back to Dobb Ferry, N.Y. where his parents lived but during the 5-hour flight he interrogated Wolf with all sorts of questions about MTV. Far from being tempted by the many offers Wolf made, Zuckerberg told him, “I don’t really need any money. And anyway, I don’t think I’m ever going to have an idea this good again.”
That’s for sure, Mark. We all salute you and so does Time magazine!