Perhaps, one of the most amazing things that turned out to be a business success story is that of Facebook social networking. Social networking has greatly revolutionized the way people interact. With up to date profile changes and real-time chats, hooking up to these sites has made people closer to one another more than ever before. Despite the good things, however, negative impacts such as catfights and online lambasting have also proliferated mainly due to the advent of these sites, and Facebook is indeed no exception. In spite of it all, Facebook addicts worldwide have one main man to thank for bringing the positive and the negative together – Mark Zuckerberg.
Mark was born in White Plains, New York to a psychiatrist mother, Karen, and a dentist father, Edward and was brought up in Dobbs Ferry, New York with his three sisters Randi, Donna, and Arielle. He was also raised Jewish, having a Bar Mitzvah as a child even if he considers himself to be an atheist.
Zuckerberg started programming in middle school, when his father taught him the Atari BASIC programming in the 1990’s and even had a software developer (David Newman) as a tutor. Early on, he had already expressed enjoyment in developing computer programs, more so on communication tools and games. He has designed computer application system programs to help in the communications flow in his father’s office and has made his own version of the game “Risk”. In his high school years, Zuckerberg built a music player under the company name Intelligent Media Group. Named the Synapse Media Player, it used artificial intelligence in learning the user’s listening habits. Computer giants Microsoft and AOL tried to purchase Synapse and recruit Zuckerberg but he had other plans – he declined the juicy offer and proceeded to Harvard for college.
College life provided him with tons of experiences and opportunities for social interactions with different personalities. He joined a Jewish fraternity (Alpha Epsilon Phi), recited lines from poems such as the Iliad, and met his current girlfriend Priscilla Chan, a medical student. His most exciting experience though was the breakthrough called Facebook, which was launched from his dormitory room in 2004. The inspiration came from his high school alma mater, Phillips Exeter Academy where its own photo directory, “The Photo Address Book”, also known as “The Facebook” was published. The photo directory enabled the students to list profile attributes, proximities to friends, and phone numbers. Thus, Facebook was born.
Facebook was conceived by Zuckerberg and friends and initially was meant to be a Harvard thing, similar to that of his high school photo directory. Soon, they decided to opt for expansion, making it accessible for students in different schools. After acquiring initial financial funding from Peter Thiel and sought financial advice from Netscape CFO Peter Currie, Facebook soon catapulted into mainstream success. From its simplified user friendly options to customized privacy settings, Facebook became more than a business success story and earned more income from advertising as they steadily grew bigger through its numerous patrons all over the globe.
Zuckerberg didn’t stop with Facebook, although this is his most successful project to date. His other projects that were started but never saw the same business success with Facebook included Wirehog – a peer-to-peer file sharing service, Facebook Platform – a development platform meant for programmers to create social applications within the network, Facebook Connect – a similar version to Platform but is open for the site’s users, and Beacon – a kind of social advertising system.
Lawsuits and criminal investigations ranging from the opportunists searching every way to get their hands on Zuckerberg’s wealth to criminal investigation by the government of Pakistan were in full swing. Its banning from China didn’t deter Zuckerberg – he now has a tutor where he can learn Mandarin which will be useful for his visit to China, after the said country blocked out his site with an internet firewall. The visit would enable Zuckerberg and his team to set up operations in China depending on the outcome of the visit.
Facebook users would also be happy to know that a part of the company’s revenues are donated to charity – Diaspora (open-source personal web server) and Newark Public Schools. With his business success story, accomplishments and religious practices of corporate social responsibilities, and a movie, The Social Network to boot, it is no wonder that Zuckerberg continues to be the inspiration of the youth in today’s generation.