This is one of the biggest success stories in the world; Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the planet who created the social network Facebook.
Facebook currently has 1 billion monthly active users and it is thanks to this social network that we can all easily keep in touch with our friends. But how did Mark Zuckerberg develop the idea for Facebook.com? How did he rise from nothing to become one of the youngest billionaires in the world?
Well, let me tell you just this: Zuckerberg started from scratch and managed to rise to be the youngest billionaire in the world, all in a space of 5 years! You can call him whatever you want; a billionaire hacker, an accidental billionaire but no matter what you call him he definitely deserves his current status. And before we talk about how he is one of the richest drop outs, in this article, we are going to look at his road to success so we can all quietly reflect on his entrepreneurial life and learn from it.
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in the suburbs of New York, Dobbs Ferry. The only son of an educated family of a dentist and a psychiatrist, Mark first got interested in programming in elementary school. He was taught Atari BASIC programming by his father and by the age of 12 he created a messenger called “ZuckNet” which allowed his family to communicate with their computers by transferring messages.
His next big project was in high school when he wrote an artificially intelligent media player called Synapse which studied the preferences of a user and was able to create playlists by guessing the style of the listener. Microsoft and AOL showed interest in his media player, however, Mark politely rejected their offer.
After studying at Academy of Phillips Exeter with great results in both science and literature, Zuckerberg was still enthralled by the world of coding and wanted to work on the development of new software so upon graduating high school, he entered Harvard University where by the end of his second year he was famous for being a software developer on campus. This is where he wrote a program called CourseMatch which helped students who wanted to choose their subjects based on lists of courses from other users.
FaceMash and the Rise of FaceBook
In 2003, while still in Harvard, Zuckerberg got the idea of creating a site called FaceMash by hacking the database of Harvard with all the students’ profile pictures and writing a program which randomly selected two random female students’ pictures and put them together with a text asking “who is hotter?” giving the option for voting.
The site was so successful it was visited by mostly all Harvard’s students making the server crash due to overload. Harvard people didn’t like this new website and Zuckerberg was soon forced to shut the website down, however, the popularity and controversy this site got made him think about its future potential. That’s when he created the new website thefacebook.com, the same site that is now famously known as facebook.com. He turned that new site into a personal directory for Harvard students, giving them the option to have their own profiles and network with their fellow students at college. He created the site together with the help of his friends Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.
The website’s growth was phenomenal and in one year it was scaled out to other colleges in the U.S- at first it was Ivy Leaue colleges then state schools and then college and secondary schools, too. Ultimately, Facebook grew into a public service that anyone could access with currently having over 700 million users.
However, there have been several privacy concerns and disputes over the company’s early years and it has been sued several times and criticized often.
In 2007, something big happened to Facebook; Microsoft obtained 1.6% equity stake in Facebook for the crazy amount of $240 million. A number of analysts took this opportunity and came to the conclusion that based on Microsoft acquisition, Facebook’s value is over $15 billion. That’s an outstounding result for three years.
But how does Facebook makes money? The basic earnings come from contextual ads on Facebook’s pages- 85% of cash-flow is earned through contextual advertising. Most of the rest 15% of their earnings are made mostly from users buying virtual goods such as fruits, seeds and vegetables for the popular game Farmville; the company estimated that in 2014 they made $15 billion just from that. Facebook’s other form of additional revenue is called paid private messaging. Users can now send a message to other users who are not in their friend list and goes directly to their "Inbox" folder, not "Other" by paying a significant amount of money starting from $1-$100, depending on the person.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Lifestyle
In 2010, TIME magazine named Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, CEO and 26 year old (now 32) billionaire, Person of The Year 2010. Richard Stengel, TIME editor-in-chief said that “The social network created by Mark connected almost every tenth person on the planet”.
Currently, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan live in Palo Alto, California in a $7 million and 5,000 square feet house of 5 bedrooms and a saltwater pool. After their daughter’s birth in 2015, the couple pledged to donate 99% of their Facebook shares- worth of $45 billion- to promote human potential, equality and world development. If this isn’t a great and influential power couple, I don’t know what is!
Mark Zuckerberg and the Key to His Success
Contrary to popular belief, Mark Zuckerberg was not an overnight success. All this crazy journey to fame and success began as a dream. So if you want to have his success, you need to first of all start with desire. What do you want the most from this life? Where do you want to be in 15 years?
#2 Think Big
Mark Zuckerberg could easily just sell Facebook but he wasn’t very interested in a paid job; he wanted to change the world. His friends envisioned this project as just a small college project but Mark envisioned it as a worldwide project that would change everyone’s lives and how they communicate with each other. So, are you aspiring to build a million dollar company or a billion dollar company?
#3 Start Small
Even though Mark had big dreams, he wasn’t discouraged by his humble beginning. He started from his dormitory and slowly became the youngest billionaire in the world.
#4 Follow Your Passion
Zuckerberg was passionate about programming since his childhood and he stuck to that passion. So, what are you passionate about? Are you prepared to make sacrifices for that?
#5 Be Prepared to Be Criticized
If you want to be successful, you need to be prepared that people are going to criticize you. But you shouldn’t let it hold you back; use it instead as a stepping stone to greater things.
#6 Be Focused
All successful entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet repeatedly talked about the need to concentrate if you want success. If your effort is diversified, it will only yield minimal results, however, if your effort is concentrated, you will yield maximum results.
#7 Take Risks
Nobody ever became successful without taking risks. Mark Zuckerberg risked it all by dropping out of college to focus on Facebook. This project was definitely a risky venture which, at the end of the day, paid off immeasurably.
This was one of our greatest success stories, purely because Mark Zuckerberg is one of the world’s most famous entrepreneurs and billionaires who became famous at a very young age for founding and running one of the most widely used social platforms in the world right now. So, if you ever aspire to be rich, successful and famous, Mark’s road to success will teach you and inspire you on how to do it yourself.