Nowadays, social networks are an alternative to the real world, where there are no borders and distances, where everyone can express their point of view. Today we would like to tell about the creation and development of one of these social networks. So, as you probably already guessed, it will be about a company with a blue-and-white logo that every person living on earth knows. Let’s talk about the development of the empire of Mark Zuckerberg and his difficult path from the school project MP3 player to the world’s mainstream brand Facebook.
A short biography of Mark Zuckerberg
We begin our story with the town of White Plains, in southeastern New York, where on May 14, 1984, the only successor to the Zuckerberg clan was born into a Jewish family of psychiatrist and dentist. In 1994, when the young Mark was 10 years old, he received his first PC on an Intel i486 processor as a gift from his parents. At first, after the appearance of the computer, Mark literally did not move a single step away from it. After a couple of months of using the PC, he firmly decided to become a programmer and began to read specialized books on his own.
It should be noted that Zuckerberg mastered programming very quickly, and while he was still in high school, he wrote several small programs, for example, the computer version of the board game Risk, which was popular in those years. In his interviews Mark told many times that he never wanted to create anything global, he was happy to do many interesting mini-programs for his personal needs. An example of one such development is Synapse, a smart MP3 player. This software could study the music preferences of the owner and, finding out what kind of music, what time of the day and how often he listens, independently generated playlists. Synapse could guess exactly which tracks the owner wants to hear right now. So, this program was the starting point for Mark Zuckerberg in his following career. The fact is that Microsoft became interested in this unusual software and Zuckerberg was invited to work at both Microsoft and AOL. However, he rejected the offer of giants for both the purchase of Synapse and cooperation.
The study at Harvard and the creation of the first social network
It is worth noting that Mark’s progress at Harvard left much to be desired since his passion for programming took too much time. Recall that at the university Zuckerberg chose the direction of “Psychology”. Sometimes exam preparation required unusual decisions, such as for example, an episode with five hundred pictures on a course on the history of art. There were only two days left before the exams and it was simply physically impossible to read at least something about each picture. Mark created a website, on each page of which he posted one picture and asked fellow students to comment on the works. Two hours later, there were comments literally under each picture, and after reading them Mark passed the exam perfectly.
At that time, Harvard had its own internal network, which had a separate section where students could share photos, personal data, etc. It should be noted that the pictures in this section were pretty monotonous (face, profile). For this reason, Zuckerberg came up with an interesting program that randomly chose two photos and invited users to choose which one was prettier. Students liked this idea so much that more than 4 thousand people visited the site on the first day after the launch of this function. The internal server of Harvard could not bear the load after more than 20 thousand visitors came to the site. Mark received a disciplinary reprimand for this, but this case showed him that such social experiments cause an increased interest in people. This was the first step to creating Facebook.
Launch of Facebook social network
For the first time, the social network “The Facebook” (the original name of the project) was launched on February 4, 2004. It is worth noting that initially it was conceived as a closed social network for Harvard students. This site has gained popularity among students due to the convenience of self-organization in groups, interests, courses, etc. In “The Facebook” it was easy to find out the address of your friends, get acquainted with the girls, find out who dates with whom, join the interest group, etc. By and large, “The Facebook” already very strongly reminded the modern version of a social network, but in a miniature.
Immediately after launch, Zuckerberg stated that the site was written by him in just one week. It is also worth to note that Mark did not develop the original version of the site alone – his fellow students helped him. The success of “The Facebook” was enchanting: a couple of months after its foundation, the social network went far beyond the university and included all The Ivy League colleges. Users could post their own photos and any information about themselves.
As it is known, large-scale projects of development require significant investment from creators at the initial stage. Mark gave the best of himself to his new brainchild and spent all the money on it that was meant for his education, but of course, this was too little. Then Zuckerberg decided to go to Silicon Valley and try his luck there. This is the place where interesting ideas can get financial support.
Being in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Zuckerberg, by chance met with Sean Parker, a legendary person on the Internet and one of the creators of the Napster program. As it turned out, Parker had just moved to Palo Alto but had not yet found a suitable apartment, and Mark kindly proposed him to spend the night at his place. Subsequently, it was he who introduced Zuckerberg to an experienced businessman and one of the creators of the PayPal payment system, Peter Thiel, who decided to invest half a million dollars in his brainchild after a 15-minute conversation with Mark. Immediately after that, Zuckerberg wrote an indefinite academic leave letter at Harvard. But this investment only at first glance may seem to be big. In fact, Zuckerberg with his small team at that time was developing the project in rented premises without ventilation. Given the climate of California, where in summer the temperature rises to +45C, it appears that these were not the best conditions for network equipment.
By November 2004, the number of users had finally surpassed the 1 million mark. In the spring of 2005, Mark managed to attract the first serious investment of $12.7 million. Soon the site opened free registration for all people who had an active email address. By the end of 2005, the number of registered users of the social network totaled more than 5 million people, and Facebook became the seventh most popular site in the United States.
In 2006, Mark began to receive the first offers to buy his brainchild. He was offered both 750 million and 1 billion US dollars, but Zuckerberg was categorical and stated that this was at least three times less than the amount he could theoretically agree on.
Meanwhile, Facebook was actively developing, not only the number of users increased, but also the number of services grew. Of course, not all of them were successful. Everyone in the company was well aware of the fact that this social network has great prospects that only need to be properly used. The Facebook team tried various methods of implementing contextual advertising. On this basis, scandals have repeatedly occurred due to the privacy of users’ personal data or the inability to permanently delete an account. But there is nothing extraordinary in this, because the larger the community, the more problems.
In 2007, the real iT giant paid close attention to this social network: Microsoft acquired 1.6% of Facebook shares for $240 million. That is, at that time, the total project cost was estimated at $15 billion.
In 2009, Facebook experts officially opened their developer platform code. This means that from this point, anyone could create their own applications for the site. At this time, the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg acquired a global scale and tightly entered the daily life of dozens of millions of people around the world.
As of today, Facebook is the third most popular site in the world, giving first and second places to Google and Youtube. As of the moment, the daily audience of the social network is more than 1.5 billion people.
The scandal with Winklevoss brothers
Many people probably heard the surname Winklevoss, these are the two twin brothers who claimed that Zuckerberg stole their idea and appropriated it to himself. They said that back in 2003, before the launch of The Facebook, they hired Mark to complete the creation of their own social network, HarvardConnection.com. They claim that Zuckerberg took advantage of their work and created his own platform.
The Winklevoss brothers sued, but their claim was dismissed. After that, they did not give up and filed another lawsuit. This time, the court decides to conduct an examination of the source codes to ascertain whether they were really stolen. After that, in 2009, Zuckerberg agreed to pay Winklevoss brothers $45 million. But the twins did not stop there, they tried to sue the creator of Facebook many more times, demanding monetary compensation, but they did not receive a cent from him anymore. On May 17, 2011, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss made the last attempt to sue the owner of Facebook, they filed a lawsuit with the US Supreme Court.
A little about the lifestyle and secrets of success Zuckerberg
It is worth remarking that after Mark became one of the richest people on the planet, his lifestyle did not change much. He still lives in a rented apartment with a minimum of comforts. He gets to work on foot or by bicycle. He also has no special preferences in clothes – pants, T-shirt, sandals, but Mark admitted that he had acquired a proper suit to attend official events.
Zuckerberg’s minimalist spirit is also reflected in Facebook’s main office. It consists of three modern buildings, which very much resemble Harvard student dormitories.
Unlike other well-known billionaires, Zuckerberg is not eager to reveal his secrets that helped him become who he is now. For this reason, many experts independently try to analyze his personality. As Facebook employees say, Zuckerberg is quite demanding, he often argues, praises his employees very rarely and seeks to do everything in such a way that everyone works with the soul and completely surrenders to the process.
Psychologists who have studied Mark’s personality agree that his modesty and unpretentiousness to personal comfort contribute to the fact that he can fully concentrate on his main mission – the development of Facebook.
What to say about Zuckerberg as one of the leaders in the IT industry today? He is faithfully committed to his work and gives his all to it. And this is probably the most important secret of success, which everyone is so eager to learn. Everything is relatively simple: in order to reach extreme heights, you need to work very hard. Of course, to repeat the success of Mark, a little bit more luck will be needed, which accompanied him at the beginning of the journey, but in any case, the key to success is discipline and constant work on yourself.
He is the youngest billionaire in the world, he became the idol of millions of people who want to reach the same unprecedented heights, but, unfortunately, only a few can do it.
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