The Biography of Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook, Net Worth And His Hunger For Acquisitions

The 'internet boom' came with lots of opportunities. As many considered the internet as a business opportunity, others saw the social networking aspect of the internet and took advantage of it. Belonging to this social networking category is Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, one of the largest social media networks. Social networking may have been the birthing point of his career, but Zuckerberg goes beyond that. He is the co-founder and board member of the solar sail spacecraft development project, Breakthrough Starshot. He is an internet and tech entrepreneur, and a philanthropist with a net worth of $84.0B billion as of May 27,  2020. He ranks No. 4 on the Forbes 2020 World's Billionaires list.


Early life and education

Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on the 14th of May 1984 in White Plains, New York. His parents Karen and Edward Zuckerberg had science-based careers, Psychology, and Dental respectively. From early childhood, Mark had developed a keen interest in science and technology. He attended Ardsley High School where he always emerged top in his classes. He got transferred to Philip Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, two years later. There he won prizes mathematics, physics, astronomy, and classical studies. He also attended the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer camp to acquire more knowledge and skills.

Right from middle school, Zuckerberg had begun writing software. Part of this came from his father, Edward, who taught him Atari BASIC Programming and later hired a private software developer tutor for Mark. While still in high school, Zuckerberg took a graduate course in software development at Mercy College which was just near his home.  During his high school period, Zuckerberg worked at the Intelligent Media Group where he built the Synapse Media Player. Through machine learning, the device was able to learn patterns in the user’s listening habits.

With his acquired knowledge so far, at 12 he was able to build a software program that allowed the computers at home and his father's dental office communicate with each other called the 'ZuckNet’. By the following year, AOL's Instant Messenger was launched with better-modified features similar to the ZuckNet.

Zuckerberg wasn’t the everyday regular kid, while most kids his age preferred to play in the snow or play video games, Zuckerberg was more concerned with the creation of video games. In his words, “I had a bunch of friends who were artists. They’d come over, draw stuff, and I’d build a game out of it.”

He later enrolled at Harvard University where he studied psychology and computer science. By the time he got to Harvard, he was already a programming whiz. Together with his roommates, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Andrew McCollum founded Facebook, in February 2004. They first ran the site on a few college campuses before eventually expanding to other campuses and beyond. Zuckerberg eventually dropped out of Harvard at the end of his sophomore year to focus on his Facebook project properly in 2004.



Before the formation of Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote a software program called ‘CourseMatch’ where students could select courses and form study groups based on the reviews of other students. Shortly after that, he created another software program called ‘FaceMash' which was programmed to allow students to pick the best-looking person from a set of pictures. The FaceMash was initially built for fun from the idea of the literal Face Books they had in college. The Face Books contained names and pictures of all the students who lived in the dorms. Zuckerberg created the site as a platform for rating and voting "who was hotter" and the likes. The site lasted only for a weekend as it infringed on Harvard's internet networks, and the privacy of other students.

I remember vividly, you know, having pizza with my friends a day or two after—I opened up the first version of Facebook at the time I thought, "You know, someone needs to build a service like this for the world." But I never thought that we'd be the ones to help do it. And I think a lot of what it comes down to is we just cared more.

-       Mark Zuckerberg

The inspiration for creating Facebook came while Zuckerberg was at the Philip Exeter Academy prep school where Zuckerberg attended. It yearly published its ‘Photo Address Book’ which was nicknamed ‘The Facebook’ by the students. The book contained social information and photos of the students. The students were able to view social information about their friends.

 In June 2004, Zuckerberg's version of the 'Facebook' was officially launched, and by the end of 2004, the user base had expanded to 1 million. This attracted the attention of many venture capital firms. Facebook's first round of venture capital investment came from a VC firm called Accel Partners. A $12.7million investment was made into Facebook which at the time was available to selected campuses.

After its expansion beyond its initial selected campuses, Facebook reached a user base of 5.5 million by the close of 2005. Which only attracted more firms who wanted to acquire it including Microsoft and Yahoo.

In 2006, Zuckerberg faced a few legal charges with accusations from the ‘Harvard Connection’ team. A team he had developed a website for back at Harvard, almost eh same time he developed Facebook. The allegations against him were that he used some of the Harvard Connection ideas to develop Facebook. After much investigation was done and Zuckerberg found guilty, he was charged a $65 million fine.


By May 2012, Facebook had raised $16 billion from its public offering which made it the biggest internet IPO in history. The IPO was a success until Facebook’s stock price dropped by a few points. By 2013, Facebook was back on track as it made it to the ‘Fortune 500’ list, making Zuckerberg the youngest successful CEO on the list.

Facebook suffered a blow after the release of the Cambridge Analytica which revealed that Facebook shared user information with the Trump campaign team in 2016. In April 2018, Zuckerberg admitted before Congress that the company had indeed shared user data with Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm. By July that same year, Forbes had recorded a quick drop in Facebook’s shares by 19% which came about as a result of the clash between privacy and profit, and Facebook’s inability to protect user information. An earnings report that was released revealed a failure to meet up with revenue expectations and a slowdown in user growth. Due to that, Zuckerberg lost a personal fortune worth 16 billion in one day.

In 2019, however, Facebook’s stock has continued making progress, and Zuckerberg remains one of the world's wealthiest people as Forbes has ranked him the 8th on the Forbes Billionaire list.

After acquiring and developing other social media networks asides Facebook, namely Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook has announced that its next point of interest is cryptocurrency. Alongside developing a blockchain technology which will be used to power the Facebook financial Infrastructure. The cryptocurrency business project named 'Libra' is set to launch in 2020. 

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