After a whirlwind of a week, celebrating his 28th birthday and the most humongous IPO of all time, with Facebook going public, Mark Zuckerberg decided to top it all off by getting married. First he caught the attention of aspiring job creators, then he had a party and then he tied the knot. Big week.
But the question on everyone’s mind: who was the lucky billionaire bride? Priscilla Chan, recent medical school graduate from the University of California at San Francisco.
Zuckerberg and Chan had dated for years and she had been living at his Palo Alto residence since 2010. While some cynics may claim that he had financial reasons for marrying post-IPO, Zuckerberg’s spokesperson claims that the marriage date was set some time ago; Chan wanted to complete her studies first. The marriage was a small affair given the billionaire whiz-kid status of Zuckerberg, with only 100 guests in attendance for a backyard ceremony, catered by modest local restaurants.
Zuckerberg is of course the wildly famous founder of Facebook, the world’s most ubiquitous social network. As such, his story may be useful for those with the drive and ambition to make their mark in the world of computers, social networks and tycoons.
While education and those all important certificates of authenticity, such as an MBA degree, are often lauded as mandatory to upward mobility, Zuckerberg proves otherwise. He is in fact a college drop out, as is that other billionaire sensation Bill Gates. It would seem that for future business moguls in a hurry, the lack of paperwork and degrees need not be an impediment.
On the other hand, education itself seems to be absolutely invaluable. Mark Zuckerberg may be a Harvard drop out, but he is far from unschooled. He was always regarded as a prodigy, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. He studied classics, and is reported to be fluent in Ancient Greek, Latin, Hebrew and French. Allegedly Zuckerberg began writing his own software while in middle school in the 90s, with his father teaching him Atari Basic, and then hiring a private tutor, David Newman, to help the young Zuckerberg expand his programming horizons. He was such a whiz, that as a high school student, he took graduate level classes at Mercy College in computer programming.
In other words, Zuckerberg certainly knew his stuff. By 2002 when he entered Harvard, he had already come to the attention of both AOL and Microsoft, both of whom tried to recruit him on the strength of a music selection program which he had developed, which predicted listeners musical likes and tastes. Zuckerberg turned them down to enter Harvard.
While at Harvard, Zuckerberg worked with classmates Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes to develop the Facebook platform. It was originally conceived to be a networking system only for Harvard students, but quickly built out through other colleges and eventually became a worldwide phenomenon.
They launched the program in early 2004 and moved to Silicon Valley almost immediately after. By summer of 2004 they had obtained development funding. Of course, this was the end of Zuckerberg’s college attendance. But apparently he had gained the skills he needed, and the piece of paper was not the point. In the end, it was knowledge and creativity that mattered.
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