Mark Zuckerberg says that a trip to India at the urging of Steve Jobs played a crucial role in Facebook’s development.
“Early on in our history when things weren’t really going well — we had hit a tough patch and a lot of people wanted to buy Facebook — I went and I met with Steve Jobs and he said that to reconnect with what I believed was the mission of the company, I should go visit this temple in India that he had gone to early in the evolution of Apple, when he was thinking about what he wanted his vision of the future to be,” Zuckerberg explained on stage Sunday morning, as he hosted India Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a town-hall style Q&A.
So, Zuckerberg flew to India, visited the temple, and spent almost a month travelling around the country. He says that seeing the way that people connected made him feel that the world would be much better if everyone had a stronger ability to connect.
“That reinforced to me the importance of what we were doing, and that is something I will always remember,” Zuckerberg says.
Facebook, of course, pushed through its rough patch, and Zuckerberg rejected acquisition offers, growing the site from a dorm-room experiment into one of the largest tech companies in the world. Today in India, where millions of people are coming online for the first time, it’s often one of the first websites people experience thanks to the efforts of Internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to give people access to certain websites for free.
“India is very important to the history of our company,” Zuckerberg said.
Following Zuckerberg’s anecdote about visiting India, he and Prime Minister Modi discussed the importance of social media in democracy, the need for better tech infrastructure, and the importance of bringing the internet to all Indian citizens. Zuckerberg has personally become vocal about his ambitions to help bring internet access to everyone on the planet.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.