Mark Zuckerberg – Facts and Major Accomplishments
Here are some of Mark Zuckerberg’s major contributions to his country and the world at large.
Fast Facts about Mark Zuckerberg
Born: Mark Elliot Zuckerberg
Date and Place of Birth: May 14, 1984; White Plains, New York
Parents: Edward and Karen Zuckerberg
Siblings: 3 – Randi, Donna, and Arielle
Education: Ardsley High School; Philips Exeter Academy; Harvard University (did not complete; but he later received an honorary degree)
Spouse: Priscilla Chan (married in 2012)
Children: 2 – Maxima and August
Most known for: Co-founder and CEO of Facebook
Positions held in Facebook: Chairman and CEO
Mark Zuckerberg: Accomplishments
Built a miniature version of AOL’s messenger when he was in his early teens
Zuckerberg’s interaction with computer programming started at a very young age. In the mid-1990s, he had the opportunity of learning Atari BASIC Programing from his father. Realizing how gifted a programmer he is; his father employed the services of David Newman to nurture his budding talents. Zuckerberg also signed up for a graduate computer course at Mercy College.
While in his teens, he successfully created a computer program – “ZuckNet” – which allowed the computers in his father’s house to communicate with those in his father’s dental office. An absolutely brilliant feat, considering the fact that AOL developed a slightly more sophisticated program than Zuckerberg’s the following year.
He interned at the firm that created the Synapse Media Player
Right from an early age, it was abundantly clear the path this programming prodigy wanted to take in life. As a high schooler, Zuckerberg interned at a firm called Intelligent Media Group, the same firm that built the Synapse Media Player. His time in the firm exposed him to a host of machine learning techniques that picked the listening habits of users. The product that Zuckerberg worked on received a 3 out of 5 star rating from PC Magazine.
Built an academic support program called CourseMatch
At Harvard, Zuckerberg – a psychology and computer science student – made quite a name for himself as a programming whiz. By his second year, the New York-born programmer had successfully created a program called CourseMatch. The program helped students make more informed decisions when it came to selecting their classes for the semester. Students were also able to create study groups and have group discussions on the platform.
Mark Zuckerberg created Facemash
Buoyed on by the success of CourseMatch, Zuckerberg set about to create another program; this time, around a non-academic program. The program was called Facemash; it allowed students on campus to vote for the most attractive student based on a collection of photos. Interestingly, this program was Zuckerberg’s way of kicking up his feet and just winding down.
However, no sooner had the site been active and running than did the university authorities pull the plug on it. Apparently Facemash was interfering with Harvard’s internet connection. Zuckerberg had no malice intended; however, he did send a wholehearted apology for the inconvenience caused to the school. He also got a bit of stick from students for not securing their permission before using their photos on Facemash.
He created TheFacebook when he was just 19
After the slight debacle with Facemash, Zuckerberg went back to the drawing board and started working on another program. By mid-winter of 2004, he was putting the final touches on a program he called TheFacebook – a social networking site that that would revolutionize the world. With the help of Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, Andrew McCollum, and Dustin Moskovitz, the site – thefacebook.com – was launched on February 4, 2004.
Such was the popularity of the platform that Zuckerberg had to drop out of Harvard to focus full time on his the company. About a decade and a half later, in 2017, and after Facebook had gone past the 2 billion active user mark, he received an honorary degree from the school.
Turned Facebook into a global business empire
In its formative years, Facebook was primarily enclosed to just Harvard campus, with usage around a few tens of thousands. Aided by his Harvard roommate Dustin Moskovitz, Zuckerberg would turn the program into a nationwide success. Students in universities and colleges across the nation quickly jumped onto his platform and started connecting with each other.
From then onward, there was no stopping him. He and his business partners/roommates moved to Silicon Valley in California; they rented an office/apartment and went straight into keeping the site functioning as smoothly as possible.
Zuckerberg met with a host of investors, most notably Peter Thiel, the Frankfurt-born businessman who had earlier co-founded PayPal in 1999. Thiel holds the distinction of being Facebook’s first outside investor. He gave $500,000 to Zuckerberg’s Facebook in exchange for a 10.2% stake in the budding company.
About six years into operation, and after surrounding himself with extremely smart businessmen and lawyers, Zuckerberg turned his platform into a massive social networking site. By July 2010, the site had garnered over 500 million users.
He has been a leading advocate of social engagement and connectivity
As CEO of the company, he encourages his team to constantly look for innovative ways to build things. On several occasions he has attended Facebook’s hackathons – an event held every two or so months that allows participants to freely express themselves in the world of computer science. In fact, some of the ideas from events of that nature have fueled the growth of Facebook.
To enhance social engagement and bring connectivity to the remotest of places on earth, Zuckerberg launched Facebook Platform in 2007. The goal was to create an enabling environment for programmers to develop social applications that reinforced Facebook’s vision. The Facebook Platform went on to have close to a million developers and programmers across the world.
Did you know that Facebook users can sign up to Facebook Connect and get to have similar experiences as world renowned programmers on the Facebook Platform?
Regarded by many as one of the best innovators of the 21st century
Mark Zuckerberg is often hailed as one of the most innovative thinkers and programmers of the 2st century. For example, the year that Facebook was launched, Zuckerberg and his friends consistently turned down several offers by big American companies to buy the site. His innovative vision and passion were key ingredients in helping Facebook become one of the most successful companies in history.
In August 2013, he launched Internet.org – a project designed to provide affordable internet services to people in less developed countries. The project is very dear to the media magnate’s heart as it promotes increased connectivity around the globe. What this means is that people in those areas won’t be left out of important social and economic debates concerning their nations and the world at large. Zuckerberg considers the project extremely important because it’s been estimated that it will create several millions of new jobs in the knowledge economy, which will in turn allow the youth to better contribute to the development of their countries.
Although, the project has faced its fair share of challenges (for example in India), Zuckerberg has remained resolute in pursuing his vision of providing affordable internet access in those countries.
His commitment to charitable causes remains unmatched
In addition to his unrelenting desire to see internet access flourish across the globe, he has for the past decade donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charitable initiatives. The gray T-shirt-wearing business tycoon also likes to keep things on the low key whenever he donates to some charities; often times preferring not to disclose the amount of his donation.
In 2013, he donated 18 million Facebook shares to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Those shares translate into something around $990 million. Never has a single individual donated that amount of money in the history of world. It was not surprising when he and his wife came first on the list of 50 most generous Americans in 2013, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
He has also supported several equality initiatives that seek to level the playing field to allow women and people of color to better their lives using technology. For example, he has consistently admonished Facebook employees that tried to silence the free speech of Black Lives Matter movement supporters.
Did you know?: Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Chan Zuckerberg, have promised to donate (to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative) 99% of their Facebook shares in their life time. The value of those shares is in the region of $50 billion (according to a 2015 estimates).
Other interesting facts about Mark Zuckerberg
- He was born to parents – Karen Kempner, a psychiatrist, and Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist. He grew up with his three siblings – Randi, Arielle, and Donna – in Dobbs Ferry, New York.
- His family’s lineage can be traced to three central/eastern European countries – Germany, Poland, and Austria.
- Growing up, his favorite subjects were mathematics, physics, and classical studies. In applying for college, he stated that he was fluent in languages such as Latin, ancient Greek, Hebrew, and French.
- Prior to enrolling at Harvard, Zuckerberg attended a summer camp at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
- In his teenage years, Zuckerberg did indeed devote some amount of his free time to engaging in several hobbies of his liking. For example, he was once the leader of his school’s fencing team. According to childhood friend of his, Sean Parker (Napster co-founder), Mark Zuckerberg was an avid reader of ancient Greek mythology. So we could say that the co-founder of Facebook is not your classic geek with a pair of glasses. On several occasions, he has quoted classical Roman and Greek poems at product launches and conferences.
- At Harvard University, Zuckerberg was a psychology and computer science student.
- Although he most likely gravitates towards atheism, the Jewish-raised billionaire has maintained that religion could be a force for good.
- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician graduate from the University of California, tied the knot on May 19, 2012. The couple has two children – Maxima (also known by her Chinese name Chen Mingyu) and August.
- As at 2018, the social media behemoth had garnered more than 2 billion monthly users. To put things into perspective, the active users on Facebook is equivalent to about 25% of the world’s population.
- In support of the global effort to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, he donated $25 million to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate treatment and vaccine discovery. He also gave an additional $25 million to support journalists that lost their source of livelihoods during the global pandemic.
- Zuckerberg has supported countless public schools across the United States. He has also lent a helping hand to wards of immigrant parents living in the United States. Often partnering with fellow tech billionaire Bill Gates and investment guru Warren Buffett, Zuckerberg signed up to “The Giving Pledge” initiative, where he has promised to give a sizable chunk of his wealth over the course of his lifetime.