Mark Zuckerberg: billionaire before he was 30

There are few icons in the tech industry, or even the world in fact, that are quite so iconic as Mark Zuckerberg. The American computer programmer and co-founder of Facebook is as synonymous with the modern tech-age as he is with the future of how people around the world interact and spend their time.

Zuckerberg’s net worth this year is estimated to be $48.2 billion.

Facebook was launched while Zuckerberg was at Harvard University, after he teamed up with four roommates whose names have become comparatively obscure compared to that of Zuckerberg himself. Facebook started out as a social network for local students — all ran from the students’ dormitory digs — but was quickly expanded onto other campuses.

Facebook’s rapid ascent in might saw the company claim one billion users by 2012; while every fifteen minutes over 49 million posts hit the walls of the social network; with almost 400 million photos are uploaded each day. The Facebook data range is staggering, and imagine the amount of it the company holds, and the power it can reap with marketing. And that’s really where the money is.

Zuckerberg said of the advertising: “Advertising works most effectively when it’s in line with what people are already trying to do. And people are trying to communicate in a certain way on Facebook – they share information with their friends, they learn about what their friends are doing – so there’s really a whole new opportunity for a new type of advertising model within that.”

Such is Zuckerberg’s influence and power, heavyweight magazine Time ranked him in its 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world for its Person of the Year distinction. That’s quite an accolade for a man of only 26 years.

And yet, for a man of such huge wealth, it came as a shock to the world when Zuckerberg announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan, would donate 99% of their Facebook shares — round $45 billion — to “advancing human potential and promoting equality”. It’s easy to be cynical, but better than a tyrant being in charge of one of the most powerful companies on earth.

Probably least surprising is that the computer whizz showed signs of brilliance from a young age. He apparently excelled in subjects such as math, astronomy, and physics), and claimed he could read and write in Hebrew, Latin, ancient Greek, and French. And then we know that he is learning mandarin. His capabilities seem endless. The native New Yorker was by birth a Jew, he later became an atheist.

Signs of where Facebook is headed can likely be found in a company Facebook bought almost two years ago: virtual reality startup called Oculus. And as well as owning other tech-social companies such as Instagram and WhatsApp, Facebook looks so far along in its quest for global-connection, that it would be surprising for any social network to trump it.

More surprising in the fact that the brilliant Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard when he was just 19-years-old, and moved to Silicon Valley to focus on Facebook. Good move Zuckerberg, good move. 

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