Facebook Founder: Mark Zuckerberg
Written by Richard San Juan for Gaebler Ventures
Facebook, an online social networking website, started at the college campus of Harvard University in 2004. In just a short time period, it has exploded in popularity among American colleges. With its sudden rise in popularity, none has benefited financially than the founder himself, Mark Zuckerberg.
Imagine being a billionaire at the young age of 23.
Everyone in the world at that age can only dream about having that kind of wealth. For Mark Zuckerberg, however, it is reality.
Just this year, according to Forbes magazine, Zuckerberg has become the "the world's youngest self-made billionaire" with an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion. Facebook is the reason he has been able to amass so much wealth.
Facebook, as most people know, is similar to MySpace.com in that it is a social utility that allows people to interact online.
People connect with one another through networks that revolve around school, work, or interests. By utilizing Facebook, its users can stay in touch with acquaintances and meet new friends online who might share the same interests. In addition, Facebook users can share unlimited number photos, videos, and links of specific websites. The sole requirement to join the Facebook website is a valid e-mail address.
When connecting to networks strictly for coworkers or classmates, users have to use his or her school or work e-mail to sign up. Using any other e-mail address will not allow the user to connect to that network. It is part of the privacy feature that Zuckerberg added to Facebook and why it has become so successful.
For an online social network, the privacy feature allows Facebook users to have control on who can see their profile and what parts of the profile can be shown to the public. For example, friends and people on the network can customize their profiles so that only specific people can see photo albums, videos, etc. on their profiles. Privacy settings can be used anytime and can be changed whenever the user wishes.
Since the introduction of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook programmers have continuously tried to improve the social networking application by adding more useful applications that Facebook can utilize.
One of these applications was called News Feed. It allowed friends to see what each other were doing on the website. This, unfortunately, raised some concerns of cyberstalking and how it could be used for the wrong purposes. Zuckerberg added more privacy options so that only friends would have access to this feature, but ultimately still defended this program.
Another controversial application that Facebook used was a service called Beacon. Beacon is another program that allows friends on Facebook to share their Internet activities. This program is basically an advertisement system that lets third-party websites send data to Facebook for the purpose of online-targeted marketing to Facebook users. Certain privacy groups and even some Facebook individuals again raised privacy issues. Zuckerberg apologized and has allowed users to be able to opt-out of this service.
While it did bring up controversy, these attempted upgrades to the Facebook system demonstrates that Mark Zuckerberg is always looking for ways to make his service better both financially and usability.
Aspiring entrepreneurs should develop that kind of mentality when developing their product or service. Moreover, entrepreneurs should not be afraid to take criticism and easily give in to the other party. It is part of the marketplace. Otherwise, competitors will be able to create leverage on your business if they know you will back down. In each of these cases, Zuckerberg while acknowledging the other side's viewpoints still uses the programs on the websites. He has fought it legally to keep them in Facebook.
Sometimes, entrepreneurship can be a tough business.
Richard San Juan is currently pursuing an MBA degree with an emphasis in Finance from DePaul University in Chicago. He is particularly interested in writing about business news and strategies.
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