For a man in charge of the planet’s largest social network, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has his private life very much under wraps. Oh, he’s got an FB profile but you can’t even ask to be his friend. It seems the 706 he already has is quite enough.
My next port of call was Twitter. I wasn’t sure if he’d be fraternising with the enemy. I’m not even sure that Twitter is the enemy. I don’t even think either of the two companies know that. Anyway, I looked all the same and after a little bit of research and weeding out of the phonies I found Zuck, as he likes to be known.
Naturally, his profile is locked, as you’ve probably just found out, but among his followers and those to whom he listens is American tech journalist David Kirkpatrick, so there’s hope for me yet.
But until then, all I can tell you is that Zuck has been signed up since 8th September last year and with just 11 updates, it’s safe to say he’s not much of a talker. He’ll talk about Facebook all right. He’ll talk about it all day long. One quick scan of the intertubes and you’ll find a thousand and one video interviews on the development of Zuckerberg’s baby. There’s even “profiles” on the man/boy that just bang on about the business as soon as they get beyond the fact that he dropped out of Harvard when he started up Facebook in 2004.
So, this has led me to one of two conclusions. Either nothing much of interest happened to him before Facebook existed or nobody really wants to know. My money’s on the former.
The story worth knowing is that Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born in 1984 to Dr Edward and Dr Karen Zuckerberg of Dobbs Ferry, NY. It’s over here. He attended a Ardsley High state school for a few years before he was sent to the private and prestigious Phillips Exeter Academy. Harvard was next on the list where he signed up for a course in Computer Science and Psychology which seem like about the perfect two subjects for his honours in social networking.
Zuckerberg had already made a tool for his father’s workplace whereby all his dentist colleagues could keep a track of each other but, more significant, was Mark’s development of Wirehog, a peer-to-peer client, and a music service in which Microsoft was interested, called Synapse, that predicted what music the user would want to listen to next.
He put his skills, so far, to good, if dubious, use at college when he created the first seed of what we all use today. It was a network called Facemash which rated each of his fellow students in terms of their physical attractiveness in much the same way as Am I hot or not?
The stunt saw him dragged into the dean’s office for accessing Harvard’s student information database that Zuckerberg said should be available to all, anyway. It’s not much of a jump to see how he got to Facebook. Pretty soon he had his own legitimate social network across the campus and within two weeks across other American universities all over the country.
The rest is fairly ancient history by now. Investment from Microsoft to the tune of $240 million, offers from Yahoo! among others and all the subsequent troubles of turning the millions of eyes that read the Facebook pages every day into hard cash.
Now, worth around $1.5 billion – no need to worry about a stray million here or there when you’re talking those kind of figures – he lives in Palo Alto, CA, of Silicon Valley where the Facebook Campus network of seven buildings lives and breathes as well.
If nothing much happened to Mark before Facebook, then you can bet your bottom dollar that nothing much has since it took over his life in a strangely similar way to which it has millions of people everywhere.
The only clue to the kind of guy he might be was his first business card. It read “I’m CEO…bitch”. Make of that what you will. One thing I’m sure of. The more Facebook dips off, the more of him we’re going to have to see or he’ll disappear into the apparent blackhole from which he came, even if $1.5 billion better off.