The founder of one of the most popular companies of the past 50 years was fascinated with computers and inventing programs at an early age. This helped make him one of the most well-known people in the world.
Here is a look at five things you might not know about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
1. Early Inventions: At the age of 12, Zuckerberg created a messaging program he named “Zucknet.” The program was created on an Atari BASIC. Zuckerberg’s father used the program in his dental office so the receptionist could inform him of new patients arriving without having to yell across the room. The Zuckerberg family also used the messaging system at home.
In high school, Zuckerberg created an early version of music software similar to Pandora, the music streaming platform now owned by Sirius XM Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:SIRI). The music platform was called Synapse. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and AOL were both turned down by Zuckerberg to acquire Synapse.
2. Creating Facebook: After creating an app for Harvard University students called CourseMatch matching students with courses taken by others, Zuckerberg started creating a social media platform. FaceMash was created by Zuckerberg allowing people to vote on which of two Harvard students was hotter. The site was shutdown by the school administration.
Zuckerberg and friends Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin created The Facebook. The site allowed users to upload photos and communicate with other members on the platform. The site started with Harvard students and was run out of a dorm room on campus.
Facebook expanded to include all Ivy League schools. Facebook hit one million users by the end of 2004.
Zuckerberg dropped out of school at Harvard after his sophomore year to focus full time on Facebook. The site expanded to include all college students and eventually opened up to all people and international territories, creating one of the most successful social media platforms of all time.
3. The Social Network Movie: Zuckerberg was portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg in the 2010 film “The Social Network. The movie was based on a 2009 book called “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich. The movie featured the early creation days of Facebook and also several disputes between Zuckerberg and others.
Actor Armie Hammer portrayed both twins Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss. A big storyline in the film was the battle between the Winklevoss twins and Zuckerberg over a claim that he stole the idea for Facebook from them and their concept Harvard Connection.
Zuckerberg criticized the film for many inaccuracies.
“It’s interesting what stuff they focused on getting right; like, every single shirt and fleece that I had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own. So there’s all this stuff that they got wrong and a bunch of random details that they got right,” Zuckerberg said.
4. Facebook IPO/Wedding Back-to-Back: Not many people can say they completed an IPO of the company they founded and got married in the same week.
Facebook shares went public on May 18, 2012, at a price of $38 per share. Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan the day after the Facebook IPO.
Zuckerberg met Chan, a med student, while attending Harvard University. The duo hosted around 100 people at their California home, who thought they were celebrating Chan’s graduation. Instead, the guests were attending the Zuckerberg wedding.
5. Philanthropy: Zuckerberg and his wife have been known for their philanthropic efforts. He donated $100 million to the Newark Public School system in New Jersey in 2010. Later that year the Zuckerbergs signed the “Giving Pledge” promising to donate at least 50% of their wealth to charity in their lifetime. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have also signed this pledge. Zuckerberg encouraged other young entrepreneurs to also sign the “Giving Pledge.”
The Zuckerbergs announced another philanthropic effort in 2015.
“We will give 99% of our Facebook shares – currently about $45 billion – during our lives to join many others in improving this world for the next generation,” the Zuckerbergs said.
Photo: Mark Zuckerberg by Anthony Quintano/Creative Commons.