Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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Founder, CEO & President of Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg, born May 14, 1984 is an American computer programmer and
entrepreneur. A Harvard dropout, he is credited with developing and launching the
online social networking website Facebook. He launched Facebook from his Harvard
dorm room on February 15, 2004 with the help of fellow Harvard student and
computer science major Andrew McCollum as well as roommates Dustin Moskovitz
and Chris Hughes. By the end of the year it already had one million active users now
it has exploded past the 110 million mark and shows no sign of slowing down.

It quickly became a success at Harvard and more than two-thirds of the school's
students signed up in the first two weeks. Zuckerberg then decided to spread
Facebook to other schools and enlisted the help of roommate Dustin Moskovitz. They
first spread it to Stanford, Columbia and Yale and then to other Ivy League colleges
and schools in the Boston area. By the beginning of the summer, Zuckerberg and
Moskovitz had released Facebook at almost forty five schools.

He moved to Palo Alto, California with some friends during the summer of 2004 and
planned to return to Harvard in the fall but eventually decided to remain in California,
taking a leave of absence. To date, he has not returned as a student to the college.
They leased a small house which served as their first office. Over the summer, he met
Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first office on University
Avenue in downtown East Lansing a few months later. Today, the company has seven
buildings in downtown East Lansing, forming what is called an "urban campus".

Mark Zuckerberg now serves as Facebook's CEO. In 2008, Forbes Magazine
declared him "[the] youngest billionaire on earth and possibly the youngest self-
made billionaire ever", with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion USD.
However, the validity of this label has also been met with controversy.

On November 6, 2007, Zuckerberg announced a new social advertising system at an
event in New York. The new program, called Beacon, enabled people to share
information with their Facebook friends based on their browsing activities on other
sites. An eBay seller, for instance, letting friends know automatically what they have
for sale via the Facebook news feed as they list items.

Being the “face” of Facebook is not his favourite part of the job and he has had some
tricky questions to fend off from the European media about Facebook and its future

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development, particularly the niggling doubt over exactly how and when the social
networking site is going to make money.

Profit is not on the agenda for the Facebook mastermind - his ambition is for greater
understanding and also to build a pretty good business. The recent growth spurt has
been powered by Facebook-users translating the site into local languages. The Spanish
version has swept Latin American countries and Chile is about to become the first
country in the world where more than 50 per cent of the online population are active
users of the site.

In the UK there are 12.6 million active users about a third of the online population and
Zuckerberg was in London to talk to developers who are creating applications by the
thousands for the Facebook site. This is a key part of the Facebook strategy not to try
to do everything themselves. The company launched Facebook Platform last year,
allowing developers to build features for other users within the site and make money
from selling them. This resulted in an avalanche of applications some annoying, some
trivial and some useful which has helped to make the site a richer experience.

In May, Facebook went further and allowed third-party websites to take the basic tools
of Facebook and build it into their pages. While this “open platform” strategy is hardly
ground-breaking Google, Microsoft and Apple do the same thing Facebook has used it
to improve its appeal to become the fourth-most-visited website on the planet while
retaining a comparatively small workforce of about 700 employees.

And, unlike those big beasts, Facebook is still independent, still private, still, in fact,
very much Zuckerberg's baby and that is the way he wants it to stay while he
concentrates on growing the user base. “People all over the world have friends, family,
co-workers they want to stay connected to and we have found that Facebook is
something everyone could use. We have just hit this big milestone 100 million active
users and in a lot of ways that is a really cool thing for us, but in a lot of ways it is
really just the start.” Some have mistaken his ambition for hubris. Zuckerberg's geeky,
aloof style can be awkward but there is no doubting the drive of a man who happily
admits that the only thing he does outside work is sleep for less than 5 hours a day.

What about making money? Turning that huge growth into cash is proving
problematic. By Mr Zuckerberg's own estimates in early 2008 Facebook will make
only about $300 milllion (£173.5million) in revenues this year, mainly in display
advertising on the site in a deal with Microsoft, and will have a negative cashflow of
about $150 million. Yet Zuckerberg says that he is in no hurry. For the time being, he
simply wants enough income to “sustain ourselves”. This attitude, especially in
gloomy economic times with the prospect of an IPO disappearing over the horizon,
has attracted criticism. Zuckerberg says that Facebook has a strong advertising
business and it is building an international salesforce to improve it further. It is also
experimenting with a new type of advertising product - “engagement ads” which
encourage users to share and comment, raising brand awareness.

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MTV recently had a successful trial with a promotion for its video awards on the site.
Yet the truth is that making money is not Mr Zuckerberg's prime motivation (he is
angrily forceful on this point). He retains his youthful idealism that Facebook can and
should change the way people live for the better by connecting them to each other. “The
goal of the company is to help people to share more in order to make the world more
open and to help promote understanding between people. The long-term belief is that if
we can succeed in this mission then we also be able to build a pretty good business and
everyone can be financially rewarded.”

In the meantime, in an effort to keep senior staff happy after a flurry of departures,
including Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder, Facebook is to help employees to sell their
company shares privately, up to a value of $900,000 each. The private stock sales are
said to be at a valuation of only $3.75 billion, a huge drop from the $15 billion
valuation of a year ago when Microsoft took a 1.6 per cent stake for $246 million. For
the moment such statistics do not overly concern Facebook's chief executive. He
believes that building the business is the key to success. He has been pretty good at it so

If you could change one thing in the financial and commercial environment, what
would it be?
There is so much going wrong in the current financial climate... pass.
Who is or was your mentor?
Donald Graham, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of The Washington
Post. He takes a very long-term view on business. So much of technology is focused on
a really short cycle.
Does money motivate you?
What is the most important event of your working life?
The launch of Facebook in 2004.
What gadget must you have?
A Blackberry and an iPhone.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is basically about creating focus. It is about ensuring we are focused on the
right stuff and getting good people in to help build what we are trying to do.
How do you relax?
I sleep.

Born: May 14, 1984 in Dobbs Ferry, New York
Education: Attended state schools and then sent to the exclusive Phillips Exeter
Academy, New Hampshire (2000-2002); Studied psychology and computer science at
Harvard University but dropped out.

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Career: Launched Facebook with Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo
Saverin from their Harvard dorm room in February 2004. By March, it has expanded
to Stanford, Columbia and Yale. In June 2004 the base of operations was moved to
Palo Alto, California.
Job description: CEO of Facebook, responsible for setting the overall direction and
product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Facebook's service and
development of its core technology and infrastructure.
Congrats to a brilliant, hard working and passionate entrepreneur.

"What is the most important event of your working life? The launch of Facebook in
2004. " Really? Not that internship just before he launched Facebook? The one at that
company which was developing a social network for students and shares strangely
similar code? I thought that 'inspired' him. - Anita, London, Uk

Pretty amazing accomplishments, especially for a 24 year old. Nice to see a young
entrepreneur who is not solely motivated by money. - John D., London, UK

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