10 Lessons Every College Student Should Learn from Mark Zuckerberg

10 Lessons Every College Student Should Learn from Mark Zuckerberg

mark_zuckerberg_ceo_facebookIt is a story that gets told hundreds of times over and will continue to be told a hundred times more. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, along with many of his Harvard computer science contemporaries, set up the wildly popular, time-sinking, “it’s complicated”-touting social networking site in 2004 from their dorm room. From single-school directory featuring a high-contrast male mascot with a hauntingly creepy expression to worldwide phenomenon, according toForbes it eventually led Zuckerberg to a net worth of $1.5 billion in 2008. Computer scientists and college students hoping to start their own business have a few broad lessons to learn from his success that may apply to careers and life alike.

1. Be open to change without losing sight of your goals.

facebook_log_inFacebook grew because of Zuckerberg’s flexibility and willingness to change his product based on consumer demands and financial opportunities. “Change,” of course, does not have to necessarily indicate inherent compromise. As his brainchild expanded from a Harvard dorm room to a global community, Zuckerberg never strayed away from its two most basic premises. At no point did he charge users to take advantage of the networking service – profits came purely from advertisements. Nor did Facebook ever mutate beyond its core ideal of connecting people with one another. While the artifice grew and shifted and modified to fit requests, the social networking service never quit being a social networking service. Because of this, Facebook stands as a perfect example of exercising a great deal of adaptability without ever having betrayed its initial intentions.

2. Engage people.

Individuals of all ages and companies and services of all industries swarmed Facebook for reasons other than its nonexistent cost. Though it sat perched on the internet, it opened up social portals to connect old friends and allow new ones to get to know each other better. What Zuckerberg did right is use humanity’s inherent need for interaction and allowed them a venue through which they can connect with loved ones without ever having to pay a cent. Over time, the site expanded its offerings to let them share pictures, chat, play games, take quizzes, and send gifts to one another, acting as a one-stop shop for long-distance or schedule-blocked friendship. Facebook, love it or hate it, succeeds in keeping people interested and engaged in its content. The more the masses flock to the site, the more money they may sink on sponsors. The more money sponsors receive as a result of website traffic, the more Zuckerberg benefits. And all he had to do was simply keep people interested in what he had to give them and their connections with others.

3. Embrace technology.

Facebook never would have happened without a society increasingly reliant on the internet and an accompanying flexibility towards its evolution. Zuckerberg’s project succeeded not only because of its emphasis on community and connectivity, but because it understood the potential inherent in emerging and developing technologies and did its best to take advantage of them. As a result, its openness towards utilizing everything the internet and all its myriad codes and protocols and programs had to offer led it to become one of the cornerstones of the so-called Web 2.0 movement. Social networking and greater interconnectivity with more sophisticated characterized this era of internet history. Streamlining and improving upon the format of older sites such as Friendster and Myspace, Facebook currently boasts over 200 million participants and stands as the most popular web presence of its type.

4. Pay attention to trends.

When it comes to trends, it always pays to seek a grounded balance to prevent becoming a slave to them. As with financial opportunities and growing technologies, one must pay close attention to trends and developments in order to offer an audience what they want as well as what they need. However, one must avoid relying too much on kowtowing to the latest fads in order to prevent future irrelevance. Facebook, for example, may have added applications, gifts, and promotions for the latest media into its fold, but it also kept itself centered by focusing on its core, universal, and timeless goal – helping people connect. Such aims are not dictated by the ebbs and flows of society, thus keeping the concept well-balanced and able to adapt to change without

For the particularly bold, however, it is always possible to favor the Bowie model over the Facebook and start trends instead of following them.

5. Do not dismiss older demographics.

Although users initially decried (and, in multiple cases, still do) the fact that parents, employers, and assorted dirty old men could start using Facebook after the announcement that it was expanding its offerings to anyone over the age of 13, doing so proved far more profitable to Zuckerberg and his company than leaving it as the exclusive domain of college and high school students. With wider pocketbooks at their disposal, older individuals were more likely to patronize the businesses advertising on the site. They also enjoy playing games, such as the ubiquitous Farmville and Vampire/Mafia Wars, with their family and friends throughout the world – encouraging the people they care about to join in and build the Facebook community even more. Demographics beyond the initial college and, eventually, high school students logically built upon the main principles of networking and were instrumental in its rapid and lucrative ascent.

6. Sometimes simple ideas are the most profitable.

Facebook was not an original idea. Social networking existed from the very creation of society itself, and began its current internet incarnation as a series of special-interest message boards on Usenet and other services. All Zuckerberg had to do was simply build upon what was already there using new technologies, and he began by creating a small network of Harvard students and slowly but surely expanding from there. But in spite of its current status as a bloated space overstuffed with applications and probably more per capita exclamations of “OMG LOL” than any other website, Facebook rests snugly upon one solid, simple principle. Connect people. Such a basic premise resulted in a multibillion dollar corporation. Launching from an overly complex foundation runs the risk of too many possible issues and complications right off the bat.

7. Do it yourself.

scoble-zuckerbergWhen Zuckerberg first conceived of Facebook, he collaborated with other Harvard computer science students – Chris Hughes, Eduardo Saverin, and Dustin Moskovitz – to draw up the source code and collaborate on a design. The team never needed to outsource. At the time, all the skills the team needed to start were right there amongst themselves. Self-reliance is the best way to ensure a quality product and never have to compromise based on someone else’s preferences and limitations. For a small, insular, upstart project, it also does not involve hiring people the company cannot afford as well.

8. Stick with what you know.

In adhering to a DIY philosophy, it is also a good idea to stay within known abilities. Never try and push something that does not fit. Zuckerberg and his small band of cohorts succeeded because they started a project based on their strengths and experiences. Their computer science background led to a computer science undertaking. They did not try to overtake the world biology, or literature, or politics, or underwater basket weaving. Starting from a solid, comfortable, and knowledgeable base means the difference between offering a reliable product that people want and a questionable one that may elicit skepticism. Exceptions do exist, of course, but generally staying with known talents and resources yields more financial fruit.

9. Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Zuckerberg did not become a billionaire in a vacuum. He started off by collaborating with fellow computer scientists, and while the questions themselves remain unknown, it is a safe assumption that all cooperative efforts involve a series of problems, questions, answers, and solutions. Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, invested $500,000 in the venture, inspiring others to follow suit. For those students hoping to someday open their own business, this is a lesson in never hesitating to put on an honest, convincing show for investors and others who may ideologically or financially contribute to the well-being and growth of the company.

10. Strive towards building communities, not profits.

windowsat1601californiaaveFacebook started out as a directory to help Harvard students recognize and better connect with one another. It was never launched as the surprisingly lucrative money-making venture it eventually became. This ties in with keeping an open mind regarding demographics and making an honest effort to engage an audience by acknowledging trends without fully relying on them. People love it when the emphasis lay on them and their needs as opposed to making money, and they ate up Facebook because that is how it advertises itself. There is no shame in thinking and caring about money, of course, as it is a legitimate concern necessary to sustain living. But profits flood in if the main focus lay less with finances and more with nurturing the health of families and friends.

In the end, Mark Zuckerberg never really did anything too complex to rake in his fortune. Simplicity and community dictated the route he eventually took towards billionaire status, and these relatively straightforward goals have plenty to offer college students aspiring to create their own businesses and services.

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Facebook – What’s New!



Have you been confused by all of the changes at Facebook recently?

I have, so I decided to figure out what the changes were and how to use them.  In this post I am going to share my understanding of the changes and how to use them.

The time line is not available at this point.

You can go and sign up for the timeline and Facebook will notify you when it is available.

When timeline is available it will be a place where you can chronicle you life

In timeline everything will be in the order that it happened and it can be added to at anytime.  So if you realize that a very important event was left out of your timeline, all you do is go back and add it into the spot where it belongs.

Use Subscribers to:

  • Choose what you see from people in News Feed
  • Hear from people, even if you’re not friends
  • Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends

Choose what you see in the news feed.

  • All updates: Everything your friend posts
  • Most updates: The amount you’d normally see
  • Important updates only: Just highlights, like a new job or move

You can decide what kinds of updates you want to see.  Maybe you want to only see photos from one friend or no stories about games from another.

Subscribe also lets you hear from interesting people who are not your friends.  Just click subscribe on your favorite famous persons profile and get all of their public updates right into your news feed.

If you would like to have subscribers go to Subscriptions Page and click allow subscribers.  You will  be able to choose who can comment and what notifications you will get.

You can have Friends Lists like you did before with some added features.

One of the differences is that there are some Friends Lists already set up for you to help you get started.

The existing lists are:

  • Close Friends
    • You can add your closest friends to this list
    • These friends will show up on the News Feed frequently
  • Acquaintances
    • These are friends you do not want to stay closely in touch with
    • These friends will rarely show up on your news feed
  • Restricted
    • Add people to this list that you have added as a friend but don’t want to share with like your boss
    • These people will only be able to see your Public Content or posts you tag them in
  • Smart Lists
    • These are lists that automatically update based on info you have in common with select friends
    • I attended Montana State University so any of my friends who put that they have attended MSU will end up on this list
    • You can also manually add or remove people from these lists
    • You can adjust the qualifications for people being added to these lists
  • Custom Lists
    • These lists are where you can organize your friends as you like
    • Choose who goes in these lists and the privacy restrictions

Your friends will not be notified when you add them to any of these lists.

In the past the News feed was only in Chronological order.  So, when you were not on Facebook for a week or more, when you returned, you would see the latest post posted in your News Feed.

Today the News Feed is more like a personal newspaper.  When you have not been on Facebook for a while, upon returning you will find the most interesting stories featured at the top of the news feed.  So, the first thing you will see when visiting Facebook each time will be the top photos and statuses posted while you were away.

When you go to Facebook you will notice that on the right hand side at the top there is now a Ticker showing all the posts being made in real time.

This is great if you want to jump right into the conversation while the person posting it is still online.

To adjust how many posts you see on your Ticker, put your cursor on the bar between your Ticker and Chat.  Slide the bar up and down to show more or less posts on your Ticker.

  • Games are improved.  The screen for playing games is larger now so, playing the games is easier.
  • You can now say who can see what games you are playing.

The photos you share on Facebook are now bigger(720 pixels x 960 pixels) and they load twice as fast as previously.  Photos previously uploaded to your Facebook will also display at the higher resolution.

Chatting with friends has also been made easier.  Chats now include group chats and video chatting which can be started from inside Facebook.

  • You can control who sees your updates anywhere on Facebook including the ticker and the news feed by adjusting sharing control  or apps settings.
  • The controls that say just who can see what have been moved from the background to a box by each post or picture.
  • If someone tags you in a picture you will be given the chance to say you do not want to be taged.
  • You can change a post after you have posted it. Just click edit in the control box next to the post.
  • Most controls have been put out in front where it is easier to find.


I hope this helps you to understand the changes Facebook has made recently.

If you have any more insights into Facebook’s changes that I did not mention please put them in your comments.

What do you think of Facebook past and present?  Do you like the changes or did you like it better before?  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

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Mark Zuckerberg – A Youngest College Dropout Billionaire

Every one knows about Facebook. Facebook is #1 Social Network Site in the world with more than 500 millions users. Facebook is ranked #2 site at Alexa. It Google page rank is 10. Facebook gets more then 150 Millions unique visitors everyday. Its estimated value is about $372,062,118 USD. Facebook was started in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow computer science students Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. Today Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of world’s largest social network facebook and the famous college dropout in the history like Bill Gates and Henry Ford. Mark Zuckerberg developed Facebook in his college dorm room. Later the facebook spreads over the world and he became famous entrepreneur. Now his net worth is 4 billion U.S. dollars. He shows the world that how become famous and success without college degrees. Mark Zuckerberg is one of the youngest billionaire in the world. And he is #212 richest person in the world (Forbes Magazine).

Facebook make $52 million USD in year 2006 and in 2009 it makes more than $800 million USD revenues, and in year 2010 it has earned more than $1100 Millions USD. And the growth rate is about 38%. Facebook is extremely popular and it also effect the american political system, it has becomes clear in year 2008. In February 2008, a Facebook group called “One Million Voices Against FARC” organized an event that saw hundreds of thousands of Colombians march in protest against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as the FARC (from the group’s Spanish name).

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the youngest billionaire in the world. As of March 2010, he is the youngest billionaire in the world, with a net worth of US$4 billion in 2010 due to his 24% share of Facebook. The idea for Facebook came from his days at Phillips Exeter Academy, which, like most colleges and prep schools, had a long-standing tradition of publishing an annual student directory with headshot photos of students, faculty and staff known as the “Facebook”.

Another great fact about facebook is that it has only 1400 employees around the world. Sounds well only 1400 employees are maintaining the world #1 Social Sharing Site. A another reason for the success of Facebook is it allows anyone who declares themselves to be aged 13 or older to become a member of the website. Facebook also becomes #1 Social Networking Site in India after defeating Orkut (Old #1 Social Networking Site In India). Facebook is rising continue, and there is no any doubt very soon it will become #1 website of world also.

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How Facebook’s Expected $100 Billion IPO Breaks Down [INFOGRAPHIC]

How Facebook’s Expected $100 Billion IPO Breaks Down [INFOGRAPHIC]
Rumors are flying about Facebook Inc. going public this year. So, just how much money is the world’s largest social network worth?
Reports project that Facebook will go public some time between April and June. The company itself has remained hush-hush about the initial public offering.
[More from Mashable: Facebook Kills University’s Historical Profiles]
The infographic below shows how the company’s projected valuation of $100 billion breaks down and which Facebook Friends will be getting a piece of the pie.
Facebook’s IPO will be the biggest of any tech company in history — six times that of Google’s, according to Accounting Degree Online.
[More from Mashable: ‘Risk’ for Facebook Pits Cats Against Zombies Against Robots [REVIEW]]
SEE ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s $100B IPO
The company itself is preparing to raise $10 billion this year, according to reports, to push the company’s public value to $100 billion. More than Disney ($61 billion), Amazon ($88.3 billion) and McDonald’s ($95.6 billion).
Who will be cashing in? Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder Eduardo Saverin, co-founder Chris Hughes and Sean Parker, Napster co-founder and Facebook partial owner (he owns 4% of Facebook). Zuckerberg will make an estimated $25 billion, owning 24% of the company.
And just how will Facebook reach the $10 billion excess profit by April or June? By increasing Facebook revenue from advertising, Facebook fan pages and display ads.
Infographic created by: Accounting Degree Online
This story originally published on Mashable here.

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How Facebook is fueling a new breed of social scams

How Facebook is fueling a new breed of social scams
January 19, 2012


Historically, most scammers have geared their tactics towards mass audiences rather than producing targeted content as personalized filters were rudimentary or undeveloped. This is why we’ve seen many large-scale, non-targeted scams spread through social networks for so long. Last spring, we measured that the average social scam wave reached approximately 1.5 million clicks.

However, the launch of Facebook’s ‘highlighted content’ stream and Google+ ‘circles’ has lead to a decrease in threats based around mass distribution techniques as content filtration leaves such ‘impersonal’ content out of peoples’ feeds.

Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social networks, have made major changes in recent months to features, design, security and privacy. While these changes increase interaction between users and decrease the number of large-scale scams, they may open the door for highly targeted attacks.

We are seeing scammers get smart by focusing their many tools on developing seemingly legitimate personalized content to increase their “conversion rates” in the face of filters.

A deeper look at the new Facebook changes

Today Timeline, the most important profile update in Facebook’s history, is being offered to nearly a billion users. The Timeline update alone is likely to redefine the concept of privacy itself, as the tiniest details of users’ lives can now be publicly shared and indexed. Of course, we were able to share information about health, relationships and work before on Facebook, but it was never indexed in a way that was easy for people to see and search.

While Timeline allows users to avoid content they don’t find interesting, it also provides scammers the opportunity to develop targeted content just for you.

For example, smart lists, which help users control content sharing and content consumption, and a defined “Close Friends” list have been designed to increase the visibility of content from the people listed in these groups.

For scammers, this functionality offers the opportunity to create highly visible, targeted attacks. Malicious applications can request the “read friend lists” permission and then distribute attacks to your close friends, coworkers past or present and even your family.

Because these targeted attacks don’t generate large-scale issues for all of Facebook, they are also extremely difficult to detect and remove than the older style of social attack.

The new News Ticker and App Ticker have also been redesigned to increase interaction between users and serve them more interesting content in real-time. Considering that most online scams have a short lifecycle, these improvements actually increase the amount of contact of users will have with fresh scams.

Then there are the latest granular evolutions of Facebook’s Privacy Settings – we can certainly say that Facebook has made important improvements by giving users control over the way their content is shared. However, the glaring issue remains that their ‘automatic opt-in’ policy for essential features like tagging and location-sharing, can still be exploited to create dangerous or, at the least, embarrassing personal situations.

How do social threats “engage” Twitter users?

Twitter’s delivery of fresh news in just 140 characters makes it compatible not only with smartphones, but also with phone carriers’ existing text message services, meaning access to any modern mobile device. This kind of compatibility means everything is smaller: screen names, URLs and, ominously, the amount of information we can see about a user, making it easier for scammers and hackers to spoof identities or keep you from seeing the source of a scam altogether on a small screen.

Since most Twitter users use the platform to distribute public content, Twitter privacy is not as big a concern for us as it is with Facebook. Rather, it is the rapid proliferation of content, the shortening of URLs and the ability to target audiences through simple search queries that make Twitter attractive for targeted attacks and a minefield for businesses and consumers.

Although trending topics or gossip hashtags are seriously plagued by Twitter scams, the real danger on Twitter comes in the form of Direct Messages. According to statistics gathered by our security app for Facebook and Twitter, more than half of the spam detected in users’ direct messages lead to malware or phishing sites.

Of course there are classic scams in Direct Messages like falsified donation sites, but the growing instances of malware and phishing links within direct messages is a worrying development. While our user sample doesn’t yet allow for generalized conclusions that apply to all of Twitter, other security researchers also report a high incidence of phishing and malware in direct messages. When combined with the constant stream of malicious tweets that can be easily distributed on Twitter, direct message scams turn the bumpy road of Twitter into a malware and scam laden minefield.

What’s next?

With the explosion of popularity in Tumblr and the increased visibility of Google+, you may be wondering why malicious attacks on them aren’t a concern for the near future. To put it simply, these two growing networks are in the enviable position that Apple is compared to Microsoft – they are not large enough to warrant the development of compatible scams and malware still. Furthermore, Tumblr isn’t a social network that is focused on user engagement and Google+ is still in the stage of increasing its user base meaning it will be a while before their ubiquity warrants attacks.

Still, every important update to the major social networks designed to minimize irrelevant content has been followed by scams that utilized the new features for improved social engineering attacks. These new tools designed to engage users may very well render most of the classic and, frankly, obvious mass-scams less effective. But the new user engagement experiences also means that they will place more trust in the content shared from “Close Friends” or “Current co-workers.” That alone will increase efficiency of targeted attacks.

[Conversation image via ShutterStock]

George Petre is a leading researcher in social media security. In 2008 he presented one of the first ever workshops on social media security at the MIT Spam Conference, and has since presented again at MIT and VB conferences. George holds degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science, and a master’s in Psychology applied in National Security. His work focuses on monitoring existing and emerging threat trends in social media and privacy issues. He also plays a lead role in the development of Safego, Bitdefender’s free social media security tool, currently available for Facebook and Twitter.

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We’ll do a China, HC warns Facebook, Google

“Like China,

all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait told the counsel for Facebook and Google India. The court asked them to devise a mechanism to keep a check on “offensive and objectionable” material and remove such content from their web pages.

Despite the HC’s refusal to stay the proceedings before the trial court, the magistrate may not take up the matter on Friday, as the lawyers told Justice Kait that they would not press for an effective hearing. The HC would further hear the case on Monday.

Acting on a complaint by Vinay Rai, the trial court had earlier summoned the representatives of 21 social networking sites, including those of Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Youtube. It had directed the centre to take “immediate appropriate steps” and file a report on January 13.

The complaint has been filed under Section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

A civil judge had last month ordered the social networking sites to remove all “anti-religious” or “anti-social” contents by February 6, 2012.

On behalf of Google India, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi said it was humanly not possible to filter or monitor the postings of obscene, objectionable and defamatory material. “Billions of people across the globe, post their articles on the website. Yes, they may be defamatory, obscene but cannot be checked,” he said.

Drawing a distinction between Google India and its US-based holding company Google Inc, Rohatgi said: “The US-based Google Inc is the service provider and not me (Google India) and hence, we are not liable for the action of my holding company. Moreover, it is criminal case where a vicarious liability cannot be fastened on a company which has no role, whatsoever, in the alleged offence.”

Another senior advocate NK Kaul assured the court that if the complainant provided defa

matory articles to Google India, then it could use “its good office” in getting them removed by its holding US-based firm


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PALO ALTO, CA –Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be shut down in March of 2012. Managing the site has become too stressful.

“Facebook has gotten out of control,” said Zuckerberg in a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, “and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”

Zuckerberg went on to explain that starting March 15th of next year, users will no longer be able to access their Facebook accounts. That gives users (and Facebook addicts) a year to adjust to life without Facebook.

“After March 15th, 2012 the whole website shuts down,” said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. “So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back after Facebook goes out of business.”

Zuckerberg said the decision to shut down Facebook was difficult, but that he does not think people will be upset.

“I personally don’t think it’s a big deal,” he said in a private phone interview. “And to be honest, I think it’s for the better. Without Facebook, people will have to go outside and make real friends. That’s always a good thing.”

Some Facebook users were furious upon hearing the shocking news.

“What am I going to do without Facebook?” said Denise Bradshaw, a high school student from Indiana. “My life revolves around it. I’m on Facebook at least 10 hours a day. Now what am I going to do with all that free time?”

However, parents across the country have been experiencing a long anticipated sense of relief.

“I’m glad the Facebook nightmare is over,” said Jon Guttari, a single parent from Detroit. “Now my teenager’s face won’t be glued to a computer screen all day. Maybe I can even have a conversation with her.”


Those in the financial industry are criticizing Zuckerberg for walking away from a multibillion dollar franchise. Facebook is currently ranked as one of the wealthiest businesses in the world, with economists estimating its value at around 7.9 billion.

But Zuckerberg remains unruffled by these accusations. He said he will stand by his decision to give Facebook the axe.

“I don’t care about the money,” said Zuckerberg. “I just want my old life back.”

The Facebook Corporation suggests that users remove all of their personal information from the website before March 15th, 2012. After that date, all photos, notes, links, and videos will be permanently erased.

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Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Sean Parker Net Worth Skyrockets

Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Sean Parker Net Worth Skyrockets

LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – You know Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, but do you know also Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, and Sean Parker? Today you will, with Forbes making news about the skyrocketing net worth of its other Facebook billionaires.

In fact, one of the men is making news for becoming the youngest billionaire on Forbes’ Rich list, and his name is not Mark.

Forbes tells news today that Dustin Moskovitz is now the world’s youngest billionaire. He makes that distinction by jumping onto Forbes’ annual Rich List and being eight days younger than former Harvard roommate Mark Zuckerberg.

Beast, Facebook Dog, Pictures
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Together Zuckerberg and Moskovitz dropped out of Harvard, and moved west. Once in California, Dustin Moskovitz became Facebook’s third employee. He was named the company’s first Chief Technology Officer and VP of Engineering. But if you are go looking for Dustin in the halls of Facebook, you won’t find him, reports Forbes. In 2008, he left the company to start Asana. Insiders claim that he sold his one percent stake in the company last year and still has a five percent stake. In the film The Social Network, he was played by Joseph Mazzello. Forbes values his net worth today at $2.7 billion.

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Sean Parker’s name might sound a bit familiar. As Facebook’s first Presidnet, he was played by Justin Timberlake in the film. His net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion according to Forbes today. He was the “Silicon Valley veteran who joined Facebook in 2004 as its founding president and helped it navigate initial funding” reports Forbes to news. He previously founded Napster and Plaxo. He may have joined in 2004, but left the company one year later, with an astounding 4% stake now heading to a $2 billion valuation.

Finally, Eduardo Saverin was played by Andrew Garfield in the film. He was the best friend of Zuckerberg that co-founded Facebook together. Saverin reportedly gave the seed money initially. At one point, Saverin had a thirty-three percent share of the company, reports Forbes to news today. But when Moskovitz joined, his stake dropped to thirty percent. He didn’t make the move to California, lawsuits erupted. He reportedly now has a 5% stake in the company. But Forbes tells news that he has been selling shares in the last year and may now have only a 2% equity stake

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How Facebook is taking over our lives

Facebook has friends in high places. Can CEO Mark Zuckerberg make
those connections pay

How Facebook is taking over our lives
President Obama used it to get elected. Dell will recruit new hires with it. Microsoft’s new operating system borrows from it. No question, Facebook has friends in high places. Can CEO Mark Zuckerberg make those connections pay off?

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CEO Zuckerberg has started wearing a tie – “2009 is a serious year,” he says.
Facebook struggles to grow up

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(Fortune Magazine) — Facebook held no appeal for Peter Lichtenstein. The New Paltz, N.Y., resident had checked out so-called social networking sites before, and he wasn’t impressed. (“MySpace,” he recalls, “was ridiculous.”)

A chiropractor and acupuncturist, Lichtenstein was already a member of a few professional web-based user groups. The last thing he needed was another message box to check. Then a buddy posted a link to photos from a trip to Thailand and India on his Facebook page and flatly refused to distribute them any other way. The friend’s assumption: Duh – everyone’s on Facebook.

And so Lichtenstein, 57, recently became an official member of the Facebook army, 175 million strong and, Facebook says, growing at the astounding rate of about five million new users a week, making it a rare bright spot in a dismal economy. If Facebook were a country, it would have a population nearly as large as Brazil’s. It even edges out the U.S. television audience for Super Bowl XLIII, which drew a record-setting 152 million eyeballs.

But these days the folks fervently updating their Facebook pages aren’t just tech-savvy kids: The college and post-college crowd the site originally aimed to serve (18- to 24-year-olds) now makes up less than a quarter of users. The newest members – the ones behind Facebook’s accelerating growth rate – are more, ahem, mature types like Lichtenstein, who never thought they’d have the time or inclination to overshare on the web. It’s just that Facebook has finally started to make their busy lives a little more productive – and a lot more fun.

Try logging in to quickly check a message, and you may find yourself scrolling through new baby photos from that guy who used to sit next to you in Mr. Peterson’s English class. How did such a goofball end up with such a cute baby? And how’d he find you here anyhow? Soon you’re checking the friends you have in common. This addictive quality keeps Facebook’s typical user on the site for an average of 169 minutes a month, according to ComScore. Compare that with Google News, where the average reader spends 13 minutes a month checking up on the world, or the New York Times website, which holds on to readers for a mere ten minutes a month.

The “stickiness” of the site is a key part of 24-year-old CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s original plan to build an online version of the relationships we have in real life. Offline we bump into friends and end up talking for hours. We flip through old photos with our family. We join clubs. Facebook lets us do all that in digital form. Yet we also present different faces to the different people in our lives: An “anything goes” page we share with pals might not be appropriate for office mates – or for the moms and grandmas who increasingly are joining the site. Basic privacy controls today allow users to share varying degrees of information with friends, but when I recently met with Zuckerberg in Palo Alto, he waxed philosophical about eventually giving a user the ability to have a different Facebook personality for each Facebook friendship, a sort of online version of the line from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: “I contain multitudes.”

His ultimate goal is less poetic – and perhaps more ambitious: to turn Facebook into the planet’s standardized communication (and marketing) platform, as ubiquitous and intuitive as the telephone but far more interactive, multidimensional – and indispensable. Your Facebook ID quite simply will be your gateway to the digital world, Zuckerberg predicts. “We think that if you can build one worldwide platform where you can just type in anyone’s name, find the person you’re looking for, and communicate with them,” he told a German audience in January, “that’s a really valuable system to be building.”

Just how valuable is subject to great debate. Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) in 2007 invested $240 million for a 1.6% stake in the company, giving Facebook a valuation of about $15 billion. But according to a June 23, 2008, court proceeding, the company values itself at $3.7 billion. (With a 20% to 30% stake, Zuckerberg quite possibly is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, on paper at least.) A big part of the challenge in assigning a valuation to Facebook is that its financial results don’t come anywhere near to matching its runaway success signing up members: The site pulled in estimated revenues of just $280 million last year, and sources close to the company say it didn’t break even.

Indeed, sometimes it seems as if everyone but Facebook is capitalizing on the platform. The Democratic Party in Maine is using it to organize regular meetings. Accounting firm Ernst & Young relies on the site to recruit new hires, and Dell (DELL, Fortune 500) will soon do the same. Microsoft’s new operating system has a slew of features lifted straight from Facebook’s playbook.

Zuckerberg knows this is a make-or-break moment for the company he founded five years ago in his linoleum-floored Harvard dorm room. He must figure out how to continue to add new members and make Facebook vital to its mass audience without alienating the kids and early adopters who helped popularize the site. (Growth has leveled off at MySpace, the original mega–social networking site with 130 million members, and it may wind up as a playground for music lovers.)

He’ll have to fend off search giant Google, which has its own grand plan to profit from social networks. And he has to live up to his change-the-world bravado: The Net is riddled with examples of companies and services that promised to be the next great communications platform – AOL (owned by Fortune’s parent) and Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500), to name two – but failed to do so.

To help Facebook figure out how to profit from its scale and popularity, Zuckerberg has brought in a chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, who built Google’s money-minting AdWords program. YouTube’s former chief financial officer, Gideon Yu, runs the finance operation. And the board is packed with old-school cred (Washington Post publisher Don Graham and venture capitalist Jim Breyer) and tech smarts (PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen). Zuckerberg, who favors jeans and T-shirts, has taken to wearing ties beneath his black North Face jacket because, as he tells his colleagues, “2009 is a serious year.”

And not just for Facebook. Few ultra-young tech company founders manage to hold on to the CEO reins as long as Zuckerberg has. They either go on to become the stuff of legend (Bill Gates) or flame out fabulously. There are certainly those who wonder whether the wunderkind is in over his head, punting on profitability when every other company in Silicon Valley is under enormous pressure to make money. And what’s a stiff, reticent guy who’d rather be writing code doing in the CEO’s job in the first place? Sure, Zuckerberg’s done pretty well so far, creating a site that has won a rabid following among mainstream web users. But a lot of those people were once passionate about their AOL accounts too. Zuckerberg has our attention. What’s he going to do with it?

A digital world
Mark Zuckerberg has always liked to build things. I first spoke with him in the summer of 2005 when he was still crashing on a friend’s couch in Menlo Park, Calif.? He was on his cellphone, pacing back and forth in the backyard as he explained his parents’ reaction to his project: “The thing I made before Facebook almost got me kicked out of school,” he said, referring to Facemash, a site that let people rate photos. He went before the school’s administrative board to answer questions about how he gathered data. “When I started making Facebook, [my parents] were, like, don’t make another site.” Then all his Harvard classmates – as well as students from the rest of the Ivy League – joined, and he spent the remainder of his college money on servers. So much for school.

Even in our initial interview, Zuckerberg was clear that he wasn’t simply creating another online tool for college kids to check each other out. He called Facebook a “social utility” and explained that one day everyone would be able to use it to locate people on the web – a truly global digital phone book. And he also knew that if the site were easy to use, a combination of peer pressure and the so-called network effect would, like, totally kick in. Since that summer afternoon Zuckerberg has passed legal drinking age, found an apartment, accepted more than $400 million in venture capital, and attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several times.

But Zuckerberg makes it clear to me that he’s still intensely focused on connecting the entire world on Facebook – only now his vision goes well beyond the site as a digital phone book. It becomes the equivalent of the phone itself: It is the main tool people use to communicate for work and pleasure. It also becomes the central place where members organize parties, store pictures, find jobs, watch videos, and play games. Eventually they’ll use their Facebook ID as an online passkey to gain access to websites and online forums that require personal identification. In other words, Facebook will be where people live their digital lives, without the creepy avatars.

To achieve that goal Zuckerberg has brought in plenty of seasoned veterans, like Google’s Sandberg, but he’s also surrounded himself with young enthusiasts who share his view that Facebook can change the way people live and work. Like the early employees at Google, most won’t see 30 for a long time. Pass by a receptionist, a straw-haired woman with funky glasses, and you’ll notice she’s updating her Facebook profile. Stroll through the stretch of University Avenue in Palo Alto that houses the company’s different offices (it is getting ready to consolidate operations in new digs in April) and you’ll be able to differentiate the Facebook employees from the venture capitalists who toil in offices nearby: The Facebookers are the super-young brainiacs in ratty T-shirts and jeans.

At times it may seem hard to reconcile Zuckerberg’s lofty aspirations for Facebook with the utterly commonplace content that users create on the site. Consider 25 Random Things, a new take on the chain letter that has grown so popular it was written up in the New York Times Style section. You list 25 supposedly random things about yourself and send the note on to 25 of your friends (who are supposed to do the same), but your randomness also ends up on display to any gawker who may be surfing your profile. The items range from the banal (No. 17: I never, ever, ever throw up. Like five times in my adult life) to the intimate (No. 2: I knew I was gay in the sixth grade but didn’t tell anyone until I was 19). The feature is high profile – some 37,500 lists sprang up in just two weeks – but taken as a whole it just seems like a lot of user-generated babble.

Yet it is that very babble that makes Facebook so valuable to marketers. Imagine if an advertiser had the ability to eavesdrop on every phone conversation you’ve ever had. In a way, that’s what all the wall posts, status updates, 25 Random Things, and picture tagging on Facebook amount to: a semipublic airing of stuff people are interested in doing, buying, and trying. Sure, you can send private messages using Facebook, and Zuckerberg eventually hopes to give you even more tools to tailor your profile so that the face you present to, say, your employer is very different from the way you look online to your college roommate. Just like in real life. But the running lists of online interactions on Facebook, known as “feeds,” are what make Facebook different from other social networking sites – and they are precisely what make corporations salivate.

The stream
Every user on Facebook has two feeds. There’s a personal feed, which you’ll find on your profile page along with your photo and list of interests. Every time you log a status update, comment, or video post, that interaction is captured and stored for your review; those changes also become fodder for a second news feed that runs on your home page, the first page you see when you log on to the site.

That feed keeps tabs on all the interactions your friends are having (and alerts friends to updates you’ve made on your personal feed). If your brother RSVP’d to a dinner party, for example, you might be notified about it, even if you weren’t invited to attend. And if you change your profile photo, it may let your brother know. Like Facebook itself, the feeds are subject to the network effect: The more data you share and interact with, the more robust your news feed becomes.

Zuckerberg calls the sum of those interactions the “stream,” and it’s his newest obsession. Unlike Google, which uses complex algorithms to serve up advertisements based on what you search for, Facebook lets you help “curate” your feeds. The information that pops up is partly a result of controls you establish in your privacy settings and feedback you provide to Facebook. But Facebook also can track your behavior, and if the site notices you’re spending a lot of time on the fan page of a certain movie star, for example, it will send you more information about that celebrity.

Needless to say, marketers would love to tap into that information. “If there are 150 million people in a room, you should probably go to that room,” says Narinder Singh, chief product officer for Appirio, which helps big companies like Dell and Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) find ways to connect with users over the site. “It’s too attractive a set of people and too large a community for businesses to ignore.”

Yet because businesses haven’t yet effectively infiltrated Facebook, its users may be under the mistaken impression that they aren’t under surveillance. “What I like is that it doesn’t bombard you with advertisements, so it feels really personal,” says Heather Rowley, a 35-year-old photographer in Berkeley. It seems inevitable that some members will feel betrayed or uneasy when ads based on casual chats with friends start to appear on their feeds.

Facebook already has had one brush with member backlash in 2007 when it introduced a feature called Beacon, which allowed members to see what websites their friends visited, and even showed purchases on e-commerce sites. Users protested vehemently – one even filed a lawsuit on privacy grounds – and Facebook apologized.

Now the company is trying a slightly different approach. A feature called Facebook Connect lets users log on to company websites using their Facebook logins. The system, which dovetails with Zuckerberg’s vision of a Facebook account as a form of personal ID on the web (privacy settings and all), appeals to advertisers for a couple of reasons. When a user logs on to a third-party site using Facebook Connect, that activity may be reported on her friends’ news feeds, which serves as a de facto endorsement. The tool also makes it easy for members to invite their friends to check out the advertiser’s site. Starbucks, for example, uses Facebook Connect on its Pledge5 site, which asks people to donate five hours of time to volunteer work. If you sign in using a Facebook account, a new screen, a hybrid of Facebook and the Pledge5 home page, pops up with information on how to find local volunteer opportunities. A tab on the page asks you to “help spread the word.” Click on it and your entire address book of Facebook friends pops up, enabling you to evangelize Pledge5 with just a few keystrokes.

So far most of the organizations using Facebook Connect are social enterprises, like Pledge5, or news outlets, like CNN, soliciting members for discussion groups. Who knows how Facebook users will react when a brokerage asks a member to spread the word about its services. Of course, members can ignore the exhortations to invite friends, the same way they might decline to forward their 25 Random Things.

He also insists that marketing on Facebook isn’t obtrusive, and that users can control what kind of advertising they see: Each ad contains a small thumbs-up or thumbs-down button. If a user finds an ad irrelevant, repetitive, or offensive, she clicks thumbs-down, and Facebook records her dissatisfaction. Eventually the inappropriate ads will go away. And when ads are useful, many online users do click on them. Rowley, the California photographer who values Facebook’s intimacy, says she recently clicked on a Virgin America ad for tickets to the East Coast when it popped up on her news feed. “I was going there, so it made sense,” she says.

Still, the company couldn’t have picked a worse time to start wooing marketers in earnest. Online advertising growth is expected to decelerate in 2009 from 17.5% last year to just 8.9%. And historically most of those ad dollars have flowed to portals and other online destinations, not experimental sites and social networks like Facebook. When Sheryl Sandberg arrived at Facebook, a substantial chunk of the company’s revenues were still coming from a 2006 deal with Microsoft in which the software behemoth sold traditional banner ads on Facebook pages and the parties split the revenue. But attempts to sell traditional online ads on Facebook and other social-networking sites have failed miserably: Banner ads can sell for as little as 15 cents per 1,000 clicks (compared with, say, $8 per 1,000 clicks for an ad on a targeted news portal such as Yahoo Auto) because marketers know that members ignore them.

Sandberg acknowledges that Facebook has much more work to do to secure advertisers. “What we have to figure out is, How do we build a monetization machine which is in keeping with what users are doing on the site?” she says. “It’s about execution, doing things faster and better, getting more users and more advertisers.”

Facebook’s march to 200 million users began in earnest in January 2008. That’s when the site made translation tools available to international users. Today more than 70% of Facebook users are outside the U.S., and most of them read it in their native language. But anecdotal evidence suggests that American baby-boomers have discovered Facebook in a big way: Some, like Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, use the site to keep an eye on their kids’ online activities. Others are using it as a networking tool in a bad economy.

The fastest-growing demographic on the site? Women 55 and older, up 175% since September 2008. Cynics might say that if Granny is on Facebook, the site absolutely has jumped the shark. Quite the contrary: Having a broad swath of users is exactly what Zuckerberg wants. The arrival of an older, less web-centric crowd suggests that he has succeeded in making the site easy to use. And Facebook can’t become a standardized platform if only cool kids use it. Besides, there doesn’t currently seem to be another hot social-networking site that is drawing young users away from Facebook in large numbers.

But the Facebook juggernaut still could very easily go awry: Remember AOL’s Instant Messenger? Teenagers lived on it and companies started using it in lieu of e-mail. But AOL never figured out a way to make money on it.

Facebook could meet a similar fate; indeed, it is a little worrisome that neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg seems to feel any particular urgency about putting Facebook in the black. Zuckerberg prefers to leave the question of revenues to Sandberg, who punts: “I think what’s really important is that we are able to fund our expansion, and we’re very focused on that,” she told me in mid-February. Investors seem pretty passive about it as well. Early board member Jim Breyer, who put in $1 million of his own money and $12.7 million from an Accel Partners fund, says that profits are “a secondary consideration in this stage of the growth.” He wants to get a return on his investment, but he’s not pushing anything now.

And then there’s Microsoft, which is in the unusual position of being a Facebook owner, a partner, and, through its Windows Live social network, a competitor. Since taking a stake in Facebook, Microsoft has been working closely with the site to create links between Facebook and the Windows Live social network so that when members update their status message or upload photos on Facebook, that information appears on the Microsoft site too.

Facebook has influenced Microsoft in other ways. Its new operating system, OS 7, features a list of interactions, news, and information that happens to look a lot like Facebook’s news feed. Could Microsoft end up buying Facebook outright? Both sides would have much to gain from the arrangement. Facebook investors could get their money out, and Microsoft, which has been searching for a way to deliver more of its software applications over the Internet, would own a viable online platform for selling a new generation of services. But Zuckerberg, like that other famous technology-loving Harvard dropout, seems determined to create a business empire that touches virtually every computer user in the world. Zuckerberg’s not interested in selling to Microsoft; he wants to build the next Microsoft. And with 175 million “friends,” he’s off to a helluva start.

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Net worth of Facebook co-founder soars ahead of Apple, Google CEOs’, Forbes says

Net worth of Facebook co-founder soars ahead of Apple, Google CEOs’, Forbes says

September 26, 2010|By Chronicle Staff Report

Facebook whiz kid Mark Zuckerberg is now the United States’ 35th-wealthiest person with a net worth of $6.9 billion, jumping ahead of fellow big name Bay Area residents like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Google’s Eric Schmidt and discount stock brokerage magnate Charles Schwab, according to Forbes magazine.

The magazine released its annual Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America, topped as usual by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with a net worth of $54 billion, and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett at $45 billion.

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But Zuckerberg’s net worth jumped by $4.9 billion in the past year, based on private equity deals that place the value of the Palo Alto company he co-founded at about $23 billion.

In the Bay Area, the only people ahead of Zuckerberg were Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, 66, who was No. 3 overall at $27 billion, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both 37, who tied for 11th place with $15 billion.

Zuckerberg leaped ahead of Apple’s 55-year-old CEO, who was No. 42 on the list with $6.1 billion.

At 26, the Facebook CEO is one of the two youngest billionaires on the list – Harvard roommate and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, 26, came in at No. 290 with $1.4 billion.

Answering Jeeves: Search engine AskJeeves.com is inviting users to take a jab at trying to answer some “unanswerable” questions as part of its 10-year anniversary.

Among the queries are “What’s the meaning of life?” “Is there a God?” “Do blondes have more fun?” “What is the best diet?” “What is love?” And the passionately debatable “Did Tony Soprano die?”

Opened in 2000, the site features a butler character and attempts to make online search easier by asking users to enter their queries in the form of a question. In recent years the site has been eclipsed by search titans Google and Yahoo.

The company is known as Ask.com in the United States but still operates as AskJeeves.com in the United Kingdom. Ask.com is based in Oakland.

Telltale gadgets: You are what you eat data with.

A study by Sunnyvale consumer electronics website Retrevo.com shows that “the gadgets you use say something about you,” said Andrew Eisner, the site’s director of community and content.

For example, the study found that Android owners tend to be more technically minded and more likely to cut the cord to their home phones. But, it also found, they don’t care as much about recycling gadgets and tend not to read books.

Owners of iPhones, meanwhile, are younger than other smart-phone owners and are early adopters of activities like making online purchases and watching TV online, but they’re more likely to still rent movies from Blockbuster and probably don’t know what kind of TV they own.

Some study highlights:

– 31 percent of Android owners don’t have landlines, compared with 23 percent of iPhone and BlackBerry owners.

– 23 percent of iPhone owners are more likely to rent movies at Blockbuster, while 22 percent are more likely not to know what type of TV they have.

– BlackBerry owners were 21 percent more likely than Android owners to still have an old TV with a picture tube as their main set and get their music from the radio.

The online study was conducted from March through July, with more than 7,500 responses from Retrevo users, with an error rate of plus or minus four percentage points.

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