Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard freshman with a gift for computer programming. Less than a decade later, he is the baby-faced, multi-billionaire, power broker who rubbed shoulders with the President. He transformed a dorm-room project into the internet’s biggest global village. The site now has over 900 million users. But for all that success, Zuckerberg has confronted bitter battles and lawsuits over Facebook’s origin. He has waged an all out war on his biggest competitors.
Zuckerberg has come under fire for pushing the limits on user privacy. He is not dealing with just a piece of technology, he is dealing with people and their behavior and in many ways he is doing it on the fly. They have humongous database of information about us because we trusted them, so the question is should we still trust them? We think we know Mark because we have seen his life unfold in the Oscar winning movie, The Social Network. The portrait was unsparing. A super geek, intense, cut throat, brilliant and socially crippled. But was it accurate?
Mark’s mission from the beginning was about connecting people and it was clearly based on this theory that if the world were more connected it would be a better place. But there are lots of surprises when you really dig deep into the story of Facebook. The biggest single surprise is the peculiar and tenacious personality of Mark Zuckerberg and the depth of his convictions and his consistency.
Born in 1984, he grew up in the Hudson River town of Dobbs Ferry, a bedroom community north of New York City. David Kirkpatrick spent two years researching a book about Zuckerberg and Facebook called The Facebook Effect. He comes from an unbelievably supportive family in which he is the only son and he has three sisters. This is a guy without any problem of self confidence.
Computer savvy from the start, Zuckerberg taught him the complicated computer language C++ and by ninth grade had created a digital version of the board game ‘Risk’. He actually created a thing called Zucknet which is an internal instant messaging system for the family so the computers could talk to each other. That’s kind of a kid he was. When he got sort of tired of his local high school, he decided to go to Exeter Prep School really because he just wanted more challenge. It was at the exclusive Exeter academy that Zuckerberg and his friend Adam D’Angelo created a music website called Synapse.
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