Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most successful technology innovators of the modern era.
By dropping out of one of the best universities in the United States to work on a project with his college buddies, he completely altered the lives of multiple generations.
Zuckerberg’s love of programming and creating programs that bring people together have allowed him to make a name for himself and his family.
Was Mark Zuckerberg Born Rich?
Yes, Mark Zuckerberg was born rich, with his father being successful enough as a dentist to offer each of his children the option to go to Harvard Law School or help them open up a McDonald’s franchise store.
Mark Zuckerberg is one of three children.
Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi, is the marketing director of Facebook.
His younger sister, Donna, is currently working on her Ph.D. in classics at Princeton University.
It takes a lot of work on the part of the student to get into these Ivy League schools, but it still costs their parents a lot of money to be able to send their children to these schools.
However, there are few things more impressive on a job application than an Ivy League degree, unless your brother is the creator of Facebook.
Getting Into Computers
Mark Zuckerberg was exposed to computers from an early age thanks to his father’s need to keep his dentistry office up to date with the latest and greatest pieces of technology, including an Atari 800.
Dr. Zuckerberg had computerized his office just a year after Mark Zuckerberg was born.
Mark Zuckerberg’s father attributes his son’s love of computers to being exposed to them from such a young age.
Although Dr. Zuckerberg had a limited knowledge of computers, he didn’t let that stop him from sharing what knowledge he had with Zuckerberg.
While investigating the Atari 800, he had noticed that it came with a disk that taught users how to code and handed it to young Zuckerberg.
In addition to the programming disc, Mark Zuckerberg was also given a book on how to program.
Zuckerberg had always been a good student with excellent grades and partially excelled in math and science.
His quiet nature often led him to spend more time studying and working on his hobbies rather than socializing with his peers.
By the time Zuckerberg was 12 years old, he created a basic messaging program for his home computers and his father’s office computers using Atari BASIC called “Zucknet”.
This ended up being incredibly useful for his father’s dentistry office, which now had a way to alert people of incoming patients without needing to yell across the room.
As Zuckerberg got older, he found friends who had similar interests as him.
Mark Zuckerberg would have his friends draw stories, characters, and creatures so he could program games based on their designs.
This helped Zuckerberg hone his computer programming skills and helped fuel his passion for computers.
It instilled a sense of desire for more social computing experiences in Zuckerberg from a young age.
Dropping Out Of Harvard And Creating Facebook
As Zuckerberg’s love of computers and programming grew, he began to attempt to study harder subjects and tasks within computer science.
However, the material was too advanced for even Mark Zuckerberg to figure out on his own.
Zuckerberg’s parents, who believed in their children having a healthy balance of work and play, were more than glad to help their son grow his passions.
To that end, they hired computer programming tutor David Newman to come over once a week to help young Mark study.
Although Newman was a computer professional, even he had a hard time keeping up with the young programming wizard.
Newman had to begin taking more advanced courses at Mercy College just to be able to keep up with Zuckerberg.
When Zuckerberg arrived at Harvard University in 2002, he had already made a name for himself as a computer genius.
A group of fellow students, including Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss, and Tyler Winklevoss, approached Zuckerberg with the idea of a social platform for Harvard students called Harvard Connection.
Zuckerberg agreed to help the students but soon dropped the project to work on his own project, Facebook.
Instead of limiting the platform to just Harvard students or only messaging, Zuckerberg wanted to expand the idea out to the general public and allow users to upload photos.
With help from his dorm roommates Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, and Dustin Moskovitz, Mark Zuckerberg ran Facebook out of their Harvard apartment.
Facebook was gaining users at a rapid pace, so Zuckerberg decided to focus on his career and drop out of Harvard.
Zuckerberg moved the company out to California in 2004 and had one million users on his platform by the end of that year.
A year later, Accel Partners would invest $12.7 million into the platform.
WhatsApp is an internet-based messaging application that has become popular all over the world.
While users were greatly appreciative of the application for offering a free way to message people without having to pay text message rates, Facebook was keeping a close and watchful eye on what they believed could have been the competitor to kill Facebook.
Facebook was already going through a rough time after the public had found out about the social media platform’s secretive operations to earn more money.
It didn’t help that Zuckerberg had discussed the idea that companies who want access to Facebook users’ data would have to pay an additional fee for the information.
The reputation of the platform had been greatly tarnished and users were fleeing to other platforms, such as Twitter, Reddit, and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s rapid growth had it outgrowing Foursquare, Tumblr, Google+, and Vine.
When it came to messaging applications, WhatsApp was aggressively outdoing Facebook Messenger in multiple facets.
Users were sending about 8.2 billion messages on WhatsApp per day, while Facebook Messenger was only sending 3.5 billion messages.
Where WhatsApp lacked in the competition against Facebook was the fact that they didn’t put any money or effort into their marketing.
Facebook saw the limited market for the application and limited resources the company had as a sign of weakness and began formulating plans to knock them out of the competition.
Facebook approached WhatsApp with an offer to purchase the application and the company.
The founders of WhatsApp requested that Facebook pay them $4 billion in cash and $16 billion in Facebook shares.
Facebook was willing to pay whatever it took to get its hands on what made WhatsApp so popular around the world.
Zuckerberg’s company ended up paying $21.8 billion, with $3.6 billion for compensating workers.
Facebook And Instagram Working Together
Similar to WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg wanted to purchase Instagram because he saw it as a threat to Facebook.
The company was incredibly open about its intentions when looking into purchasing the photo-centered social media platform.
This angered much of the public, claiming that these actions went directly against the anti-trust laws that exist in the United States.
Even Mark Zuckerberg later admitted that he knew that the platform could easily amass as many users as Facebook, but claimed that it was not as obvious when the acquisition was made.
At the time, Facebook had been struggling with trying to get younger users on the platform.
Zuckerberg’s own platform had been taken over by older generations, which made younger users not want to be the platform.
However, it wasn’t easy for anyone to get the founders of Instagram, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, to sell.
They wanted Instagram to become too large and expensive for anyone to purchase, but they weren’t considering Zuckerberg’s determination.
When Zuckerberg offered Systrom double what they were asking for the company, and at a meeting to discuss the topic, Systrom panicked.
His board recommended that he at least go see what Zuckerberg had to say about acquiring Instagram.
Instagram had no such problem bringing in a younger audience thanks to newer generations not seeing the point of a social media platform that only offered photo sharing.
However, Instagram and its 13 employees were adding more to the platform each day, such as photo editing, video support, and even direct messaging.
It was clear that Instagram could be a valuable tool in Facebook’s arsenal, so they decided to purchase it for $1 billion.
Within a year after the acquisition, Instagram had more than one billion users and contributed $20 billion to Facebook’s annual revenue.
Facebook Jumps Into The World Of Virtual Reality
Although Facebook had just recently purchased Instagram and WhatsApp, Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t done trying to consume the competition.
After the purchase of WhatsApp, Facebook had just seen a 150% increase in stock price and had plenty of money to use to add to the company.
Unlike the other purchases that Facebook took advantage of, Oculus was never seen as competition.
Oculus is a virtual-reality gaming software and headset and is one of the most advanced virtual-reality set-ups available on the market.
For Facebook, this purchase was to help expand the number of industries the company was involved in.
Although Facebook had plenty of experience creating mobile games for their social media platform, they were only a stepping stone for Facebook’s game development experience.
Zuckerberg believed that the technology that Oculus offered was the future of gaming, and he wanted in on it.
Having grown up an avid gamer and game developer, Zuckerberg was excited to see what Oculus could achieve when given more resources.
Even Oculus’s CEO Palmer Luckey was excited for the business venture that his and Mark Zuckerberg’s companies were about to undertake.
With both CEOs being young programming proteges, they had a deep, mutual respect for one another.
Facebook bought Oculus for $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock.
In addition, Facebook also agreed to pay $300 million for any achievement-based milestones that the gaming company managed to meet.
Adding CTRL-Labs To The Roster
For Facebook’s next big purchase, they planned to expand the types of technology that they had at their fingertips.
Zuckerberg is always looking to have the latest and greatest gadgets under his control, so he decided to acquire CTRL-Labs.
CTRL-Labs specializes in creating robotic limbs that respond to the user’s brainwaves.
Users are also able to control the features of computers as well, such as being able to type messages.
Facebook bought the company to work alongside Facebook’s own Facebook Reality Labs to create augmented-reality glasses, a longtime dream of Zuckerberg’s.
While nobody is exactly certain how much it cost Facebook to purchase the company, it is believed to have been purchased for somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion.
In addition to wanting to create augmented-reality glasses, Zuckerberg also wants to use CTRL-Labs to create a wristband that will allow you to control your computer or monitor from a distance.
Although Facebook had been working on brain-computing technology since 2016, they were never able to get as far as CTRL-Labs was able to on their own.
The neuroscience and technology company had only been founded a year before Facebook began studying a similar field.
Thanks to the founders’ understanding of neuroscience, they were able to find a way to make the computer communicate more clearly with the user’s brain.
LiveRail Joins The Corporation
In 2014, Facebook purchased LiveRail for $500 million.
LiveRail is a video ad technology company that connects those looking to place ads on their sites with advertisers.
Each month, LiveRail was playing seven billion advertisements in front of consumers in a single month.
The company was founded in 2007 and consisted of 170 people at the time of Facebook’s acquisition only seven years later.
Early on, LiveRail managed to lock down some major clients for their service which included Major League Baseball, A&E Networks, ABC Family, Dailymotion, and Gannett.
Part of what made LiveRail so successful was that their advertising slots were sold through bidding.
They also had age-restricted locks that meant that companies with age-limited products didn’t have to worry about accidentally advertising to children.
In the year before Facebook’s purchase, LiveRail was on track to make $100 million in annual revenue and had grown by 300% over nearly every year.
The only problem that LiveRail had was the fear of going public.
Advertising companies like LiveRail had never done well in the public market.
When Mark Zuckerberg offered to purchase the company instead, LiveRail was quick to take the option that would ensure their success and wealth.
The technology that LiveRail used wasn’t anything that Facebook didn’t already have experience with.
They already had the Facebook Audience Network Mobile Ad Network, which did a similar job as LiveRail.
The differences between the two services were the consumers that they were serving and the fact that LiveRail did the job much more efficiently.
While this purchase may have killed some advertising competition, it also helped greatly improve the ads that Facebook was running on its own platform.
The targeted ads that LiveRail offered helped Facebook create more effective ads that actually applied to the viewer.
Facebook’s Monopoly Case
In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg faced one of the biggest lawsuits a technology company has ever faced in the history of the United States.
The lawsuit accused Zuckerberg and his company of abusing the near-total dominance of the entire internet market to crush or copy smaller companies.
Statements that Zuckerberg had made about WhatsApp and Instagram, in particular, are what landed him in the plaintiff’s seat.
Letitia James gave a speech about how Facebook used its massive size to intimidate smaller social media platforms into joining them or crushing them.
James’s speech echoed the feeling that Instagram’s previous CEO Kevin Systrom felt when he was approached by Zuckerberg.
Members of Instagram’s board recognized the power that Zuckerberg had in the social media world, going as far as to refer to him as the king of the internet.
Systrom was worried that Zuckerberg would go “into destroy mode” if he didn’t accept Zuckerberg’s offer to buy Instagram.
While the team at Instagram believed that they managed to skirt Zuckerberg’s wrath, they knew they wouldn’t be able to endure that wrath once it hit.
It was the purchase of Instagram that the court decided to focus on more heavily, going as far as to claim that Zuckerberg paid $1 billion to simply neutralize a major competitor.
If the courts had won the case, it would have been the first time that the United States had to bust a monopoly apart since Ma Bell, now known as AT&T, in 1984.
Zuckerberg stated in the case believed that neither WhatsApp nor Instagram would have been as big of competitors if Facebook had not invested in the companies, despite that completely contradicting what Zuckerberg had previously said about Instagram.
In the end, the courts ended up siding with Zuckerberg after a hard-fought legal battle.
From Facebook Incorporated To Meta Incorporated
After the monopoly accusations of 2020 and the damage to Facebook’s reputation and trustworthiness among consumers, Zuckerberg knew it was time for a change in branding.
The name Facebook only truly represented one small part of Mark Zuckerberg’s greater plans for the empire that he has built.
Out of fear that his original social media platform’s troubles were getting in the way of his other projects, Zuckerberg knew that his major corporation needed some distance from the service they offered and expand what they were capable of.
Facebook Incorporated has recently changed its name to Meta Incorporated to help represent all that Zuckerberg has put his money into and help welcome new projects without them all seeming to be funneled through the social media platform.
The company was named after Zuckerberg’s goal to create the ultimate metaverse.
A metaverse is an online 3D virtual space that is shared among many companies that are under the same corporate umbrella.
Some people see this name change as a way to distract people from the troubling news that has recently come out about Facebook thanks to a whistleblower from inside the company.
Former data scientist Frances Haugen brought physical evidence of the way that Facebook was using controversies and risking the safety of young users in order to grow their platform more rapidly.
Haugen claims that the evidence she brought before the court was evidence that Facebook knew about the risk that comes to young females when using the social media platform and marketed their platform towards them heavily anyway.
Upon seeing the reports that Haugen had brought into the legal case, Zuckerberg claimed that the reports were taken out of context and that people weren’t seeing the whole picture when it came to his research.