In our paper we are going to discuss a person who is making history in the twenty-first century. This person is the youngest billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. He is a Director General of the social network Facebook, which was founded in 2004. In spite of the higher education abandoned, according to many publications, he is one of the most influential people in the world.Mark Elliot Zuckerberg was born May 14, 1984 in White Plains, a little town situated in New York State, in the United States of America. He was one of four children in a Jewish family. The family belonged to the most respectable and well-paid ones: his father, Edward, worked as a dentist, and his mother, Karen, was a psychiatrist before she got married. Mark Zuckerberg grew up in a very reputable village of Dobbs Ferry in New York State.
Edward Zuckerberg was one of the first in the United States who began to use computers and digital radiography at work, at the same time he taught Mark programming in Basic (Vargas, 2010). In 1996, at the request of his father, Mark Zuckerberg wrote the program ZuckNet, which sent messages on a local network extended at home and in office of dental clinic. Via this network Mark could exchange messages with his sisters and parents. A year before he received his first computer as a gift for a 10-year anniversary – 486 Quantex DX and immediately became interested in serious new ‘toy’. It must be said that before that event he had other passions – the boy was interested in antiquity and even studied Latin and Greek. But computer languages were much more attractive. Mark later said that people were divided into two types: users and programmers. The first type, having got a computer, just use it, the latter begin to modify it and use it to find simple solutions to complex problems.
With the help of his friends, Mark Zuckerberg created his own computer games and attended evening computer courses of the Mercy College. Zuckerberg was able to enter a prestigious boarding school, Phillips Exeter Academy, where in addition to programming he was fond of classic literature, Hebrew and ancient Greek language and was the captain of the fencing team Academy (Burrell, 2010). As one of the course projects in the academy Zuckerberg along with his classmate, Adam D’Angelo, wrote the program Synapse. It collected data on what music people listen to on their computer, what compositions and at what time of day they give preference. And then, on the basis of these data, the program created playlists, playing exactly the music that perhaps would have been chosen at that moment by a music lover. Zuckerberg was offered to sell it and go to work to such companies as AOL and Microsoft, but Zuckerberg rejected those proposals.
Zuckerberg launched his first ‘social’ project in October 2003 when he was a second-year student at Harvard University: having cracked a photo database of dormitories tenants of the university, he put them on the site Facemash, where visitors were shown two of the photographs and asked to choose one that was more liked, thus creating rating. Facemash immediately became popular among students, but Zuckerberg was forced to close it a month later, after the administration of the university threatened with expulsion.
According to Zuckerberg, the experience from Facemash only strengthened his desire to ‘make Harvard more open’ and create an alternative to password-protected user albums (Vargas, 2010). In late 2003, he agreed to take the proposition of seniors, brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra, to assist them with creating a dating site for university students HarvardConnection.com, but in January 2004 Zuckerberg undertook to create it on his own and a month later, on February, 4, he run a closed social network for the students of Harvard at thefacebook.com. Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin helped Zuckerberg. Despite the fact that there were a little more functions on the new site, it quickly became popular among Harvard students. According to the correspondence that became public property, a few months before Zuckerberg boasted one of his friends: “If you want information about someone from Harvard, just ask: I have more than four million email addresses, addresses, etc. – What? And how have you got them? – People have sent this information themselves. I do not know why. They simply ‘trust’ me. Blockheads” (Vargas, 2010). It is noteworthy that the blue color scheme of thefacebook and subsequent versions of the social network was chosen because of Zuckerberg color blindness.
The social network called Facebook was started February 4, 2004, and after Zuckerberg and his partner Eduardo Saverin had realized that there were 4000 users already registered, they concluded that the duo would need the services of new programmers. One of them was Mark’s neighbor across the room, an athlete with short hair Dustin Moskovitz, who opened the Facebook service for students at Columbia University, Stanford, and Yale. Around the same time there was a division of property and companies: sixty percent were owned by Zuckerberg, thirty-five were controlled by Saverin, and five went to newcomer Moskovitz. Another neighbor of dorm buddies, Chris Hughes, was the spokesman of Facebook. The first who suffered from Zuckerberg was his close partner, Eduardo Saverin, who was accused of trying to freeze the bank account of Facebook. He could only complain to one of the twins Winklevoss injured before and give a series of revealing interviews, on which Zuckerberg, of course, did not react. Zuckerberg was repeatedly involved in litigation; in particular, he was accused of plagiarism: in 2004 the creators of HarwardConnections, later renamed ConnectU claimed that Zuckerberg had deceived them and used the joint operating time for his own site. That same year, Zuckerberg was suspected of hacking into the Harvard journalist’s e-mail who planned to write about this case. The conflict was settled after the brothers Winklevoss and Narendra received $ 65 million in compensation (Burrell, 2010).
In December 2010, brothers Winklevoss filed against Zuckerberg the second lawsuit, accusing him in underestimation the value of the company, while arranging peaceful agreement with creators of HarwardConnections. Winklevoss stated that they intended to request additional funds from Facebook. However, April 11, 2011 it became known that the court refused to grant their claim. June 23, 2011 the brothers reported to have decided not to appeal the court’s decision, but the next day they filed a new lawsuit against Zuckerberg, accusing him of concealing evidence in the first case.
The faster the capital of Facebook was growing, the less friends remained close to Zuckerberg. Harvard friend Chris Hughes is now working on Barack Obama, the lead programmer Adam D’Angelo left the company in May of this year, Eduardo Saverin started a lawsuit against Mark, and Dustin Moskovitz went on indefinite leave.
We can’t leave without attention the town where the youngest billionaire of the world was born. White Plains is the city in north-east of the US, situated in south-central Westchester. This is in fact a residential suburb of New York City located in 4km from the Hudson River. The population of the town is about 56.8 thousand people (2010). It is estimated thatin day time the population accounts 250.000 people. This town is a railroad node. Printing and food industries are well-developed there. In general White Plains is an ordinary suburb of New York valuable only for its close proximity to the city (see a map in Appendix 1).
So, in a memorable day of February 4, 2004 a social network Facebook appeared. First, its operation was limited only by Harvard, however, over time, registration was also opened for the members of other universities. In June 2004 Zuckerberg, taking Bill Gates as an example, decided to give up studying at Harvard and moved to Palo Alto, where he continued manage his site (Kristy Dorsey, 2010). To the mid-2004, Zuckerberg registered the company as a legal body and occupied the post of the Director General. Then Zuckerberg was occupied with investment.
He managed to get the first money from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal. 500 thousand dollars were enough to realize the plans of the company Facebook. After this the project developed even faster. Half a year has not passed yet since its foundation and the audience has grown to a million people.
In 2005, the social network went beyond the education sector, and became available to all comers. The visitors were attracted by the fact that unlike other social networks, this one was made for communication of people who really know each other.
Although the audience of the network increased every day, but the language was out of the earnings from this project for a long time. It was expected that the tool for earning profit would be advertising as users filled on a detailed questionnaire, which disclosed their interests. This opened the possibilities for advertisers to find suitable audience for them.
However, for some time the site just kept increasing its audience. At the time it has crossed the mark 50 million, many large companies began to make proposals to Mark for the purchase of the project. The company Yahoo! proposed $ 900 million for this social network, but this sum did not fit Zuckerberg.
In 2007, an important event happened in the history of Facebook. The fact that Microsoft acquired 1.6% of the network shares for 240 million dollars. After this agreement, Bill Gates decided to join Facebook (Dorsey, 2010).
For some time he devoted several hours a day to communication with all the volunteers by using this social network, however, their number grew up and he decided to delete his account, just not having opportunities to physically communicate with everyone. However, due to Gates, the social network got PR worldwide.
In 2008, Forbes magazine estimated Zuckerberg’s fortune at $ 1.5 billion. In 2010, the fortune has increased to 6.9 billion dollars. In 2010, the magazine Vanity Fair named Zuckerberg the most powerful man. The same year the title of “Man of the Year” was awarded to Zuckerberg by the log Time. In 2011 he headed the list of forty most successful businessmen at the age of up to 40, prepared by the magazine Fortune.
Such people like Mark Zuckerberg are differentiated by dissimilarity of others and non-standard thinking. People like him are difficult to understand, but often their actions can change the world. With Facebook, people can take care of their numerous friends. Previously, the society had no such opportunity, but now, to the general joy, things are different.
Communication between people is not limited to simple correspondence. With Facebook you can see how a person lives, looking at his photos, notes, videos and so on. Just this social network is not limited to the usual relationship of familiar people. There are various interest groups to rally people together. Furthermore, Facebook has a huge base of users, which far exceeds the most popular dating sites, in this case, the chances for finding the second half will grow.
Thanks to Facebook in the U.S. even the principle of relationship between people on the street has changed. Now it is no surprise that instead of your phone number a girl says a young man her address on Facebook.
Agree, it is easier than to give your number to stranger, as in Facebook, you can see what is the new acquaintance occupied with, how he lives, who are his friends and eventually decide whether to build any relationship with him. But not just ordinary people are enjoying the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg. Many companies are looking for new employees on Facebook, as well as communicate with clients.
Burrell, Ian. Mark Zuckerberg: He’s got the whole world on his site. The Independent, July 24, 2010.
Carlson, Nicholas. Mark Zuckerberg’s Hacker-For-Hire Profile from 2002. The Business Insider, July 21, 2010.
Dorsey, Kristy. Mark Zuckerberg: The man who put a positive face on giving up privacy. The Scotsman, April 6, 2010.
Vargas, Jose Antonio. The Face of Facebook. The New Yorker, September 20, 2010.
Appendix 1. (A map of White Plains)