Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is a American businessman and computer programmer, creator and president of the virtual community Facebook, in 2008 with twenty-three years of age he became the youngest billionaire on the list published annually by Forbes magazine.
Born into a well-to-do Jewish family, his passion for computer science manifested itself very soon; He began programming at the age of twelve. He studied at Ardsley High School and the Phillips Exeter Academy, and in 2002 he entered Harvard University, Massachusetts. Two years later, at the beginning of February 2004, just nineteen years old and with his roommates at university, he launched a new website, the social network Facebook.
Originally called The Facebook, the Facebook project came up with the initial intention of creating a connection network between Harvard University students. The name of the site referred to the newsletter that many universities give to their new students with the intention of helping them get to know each other upon their arrival at the center. The services that Facebook offered consisted mainly of the possibility of adding friends, with whom you could exchange photos and messages, and join groups, one of the utilities that would develop later. Each user, who had to be registered, had a wall that allowed friends to write messages or send gifts for him to see. The super mural, a later improvement, would also allow to embed animations in flash format.
What began as a game between colleagues overflowed all forecasts in a short time. In just two weeks, two-thirds of Harvard students had enrolled on Facebook, and coinciding with summer vacation that same year had been made by more than thirty US universities. When classes ended, Mark Zuckerberg took the opportunity to move to Palo Alto, California, and set up his first office. Although the young man’s first intention was to resume his studies at Harvard after recess, the business went well and required his attention, so he decided to leave Harvard and stay on the west coast.
The project spread like wildfire and soon spread to other educational institutions and companies until, in the end, success led to the opening of its services to the general public. In 2006 Facebook had become a worldwide phenomenon, with 64 million users, concentrated in English-speaking countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Only in English in its beginnings, in 2008 Facebook widened horizons offering in several languages, among them French, German and Spanish.
To get an idea of the social strength of Facebook, suffice it to say that the spectacular march against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of February 4, 2008, which brought together one million people in Bogota and hundreds of thousands in one hundred and thirty Cities around the world, was convened by a group of Colombian students through this broadcast channel. Joining groups was, in effect, one of Facebook’s most successful profits. A user interested, for example, in the ecology, had the possibility to adhere to the groups arisen dedicated to this subject; immediately received in his wall all the information that this group generated. The group of Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States, Barack Obama, counted in June of 2008 with about one million members. The page was also the most popular to post photos (according to 2008 statistics, more than 14 million a day, in total, 1.7 billion).
In December 2007 Forbes magazine, like every year, published the ranking of the 25 most influential people on the Internet. One of those stars of the network was Zuckerberg, chief executive of the site, after selling, for 256 million euros, 1.6 percent of the portal to Microsoft. Three months later, in March 2008, Zuckerberg was ranked among the world’s 1,125 richest men by the same magazine. It ranked 785, but it was the youngest of 1,125, and also the youngest in the history of the publication. To assess his fortune, Forbes relied on the estimated value of Facebook (five billion dollars), and on the fact that the young man owned thirty percent of the company.
The offices in Palo Alto de Facebook already occupied four buildings in 2008 and gave direct employment to over four hundred people; The company had received offers to buy from Viacom and Yahoo !, and its annual turnover was estimated at about one hundred and fifty million dollars. His biggest revenue came from his contract with Microsoft on commercials. The site had grown three times faster than its rival Myspace, owned by News Corp, Rupert Murdoch’s empire. However, not all were joys for this young computer talent. Three of his college mates filed a lawsuit against him in a Boston court stating that Zuckerberg had “taken over” the idea.
Despite swimming in gold, the “new Internet prince”, as it was dubbed by the Valley wag specialist site, was far from executive to use. Interested in psychology, in the profile of his Facebook was defined as a “person who likes to do things.” He wore t-shirts and sports shoes, and he did not seem to have great pretensions: “I have a one-bedroom apartment with a mattress on the floor, I live there,” he said in an interview. It is possible to relate this austere character with its philanthropic inclinations. Already at the end of 2010 he joined the Giving Pledge campaign, an initiative led by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who invites the big magnates to donate half of their fortunes to philanthropic causes.
During that same year his figure was reaching unusual levels of projection and popularity. Forbes quantified his fortune in 6.9 billion dollars and it aupaba to the position number 35 of his list, already ahead of another computer magician, the visionary Steve Jobs; Time magazine named him a character of the year, and Hollywood took the opportunity to launch a biopic about a 26-year-old character: The Social Network (2010). Based on Ben Mezrich’s Billionaire Accident Book and directed by David Fincher, this free re-creation of the story that led to the birth of Facebook earned eight Oscar nominations, but only took three statuettes in smaller categories.
On May 11, 2102, Facebook carried out the biggest IPO of an Internet company; $ 18 billion of stock was offered, quickly sold out, and the company valued at $ 100 billion. It was also an important year for the creator of Facebook for another reason: a week after the IPO at his Palo Alto home and before a hundred guests, Mark Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan, formalizing a relationship that went back to his Student at Harvard, where they met in 2003. In 2015 Max was born, the first offspring of the couple, who has since dedicated much of his time to patronage all kinds of research, education and development projects through The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).