Not many ideas become $160 billion empires. Facebook did it in just 10 years.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement Tuesday marking the social media giant’s birthday.
Despite his massive fortune — the 29-year-old has made $3.4 billion (that’s with a “b”) in the first 5 weeks of 2014 — Zuckerberg said Facebook has been successful because it puts people before profits.
“We care most about building the best service we can. We’re going to focus on doing that first,” said Zuckerberg.
Facebook led the charge on making social media mainstream. With more than a billion registered users, it’s difficult to find someone that doesn’t use the online service to share comments, photos and links.
The first “social” website I recall was TheSpark.com, which began in 1999. It’s founders, all Harvard students, now run the dating site OKcupid.com.
MySpace, kicked off in early 2003, and catered to music lovers. It was the world’s biggest social media site from 2005-2008, when it was surpassed by Facebook.
Zuckerberg, while a sophomore at Harvard, began coding “Facemash” in late 2003. The program got 450 viewers and 22,000 page views in the first 4 hours.
On Feb. 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched a new and improved TheFacebook.com, and began adding more Ivy League schools.
In 2005, Zuckerberg bought the facebook.com URL for $200,000.
Zuckerberg turned down multiple multi-million dollar offers to sell the young company.
Why didn’t he retire in his early 20s?
“The most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people. Having media corporations owned by conglomerates is just not an attractive idea to me,” he said at the time.
It was a smart move, Zuckerberg, worth an estimated $30 billion, is now the 22nd richest person on Earth. He gave $1 billion to charity in 2013 and, like fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, has vowed to give away half of his fortune.
Zuckerberg said Tuesday that despite the success he tries to stay humble. He still wears his trademark “hoodie” to work every day and doesn’t live a lavish lifestyle. His most recent purchase? A new grill because he and wife Patricia Chan, a pediatrician, love to cook.
How long will Facebook remain top dog in an increasingly crowded social media landscape?
Zuckerberg shared his thoughts: “Today, social networks are mostly about sharing moments. In the next decade, they’ll also help you answer questions and solve complex problems.
“Today, we have only a few ways to share our experiences. In the next decade, technology will enable us to create many more ways to capture and communicate new kinds of experiences.”
He said all of that on his Facebook page, of course.