Mark Zuckerberg attended one of the most prestigious colleges in the country: Harvard University. For most 19 year olds, studying and socializing would keep them busy enough, but while there, Mark Zuckerberg created what was to become become the biggest social network in the world.
It may be hard to imagine your life without social media: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Vine, or Tumblr. What started as a way to connect college students to one another became a way to connect people to friends and family across the world.
Undeniably, Zuckerberg or “Zuck” leads the list as one of the richest people in the world. While he has certainly accumulated a fortune, his goal has never been to make money. His goal has always been to make a great product, and “make money to build better services.” Facebook currently owns more than forty companies, including some of its former competitors, including WhatsApp and Instagram.
At the age of 24, Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire on the planet. As the face and CEO of Facebook, he remains one of the most recognizable people in the world. You would never know the extent of his wealth by his wardrobe (grey T-shirt and hoodie), home (he only recently upgraded from a modest rental home), or cars (most often seen in a VW or Acura). This is a man who lives below his expansive means. What started as a college directory of sorts has amassed well over a billion users.
Mark Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, New York, where his father still practices dentistry. In fact, one of his earlier successes was a program that allowed his dad’s home computer to communicate with his office computers. While still in high school, Microsoft bid on another program of his, a music player called Synapse Media Player, but he ultimately rejected this offer. Zuck is a man who likes to maintain control; he carries a majority vote, which allows him to be the ultimate decision maker of his company. He is also not afraid of risk, or of what people think. But Zuck is always thinking and staying true to the mission of the company, which has stayed the same since its inception: to make the world more open and connected.
While at Harvard, Zuckerberg met his wife Pricilla Chan, now a medical resident. They currently reside in Palo Alto, California with their dog, Beast. The Zuckerbergs are huge philanthropists, giving millions of dollars to education and medicine, as well as to other charitable organizations.
Read, listen, or watch any interview with Zuckerberg, and the word “focus” is likely to come up. Let’s put it this way, this word was stenciled on the bathroom walls of Zuckerberg’s original California office. When asked in an early 2005 interview about the future of his company, then known as TheFacebook, he talks about “focusing intensely” on making a really good product, i.e., a college directory. His world at the time consisted of his college, and Zuck succeeded at making Harvard more open and connected. Once he succeeded at Harvard, he expanded this online directory to other universities across America, and soon the world. In later years, his focus on making a great product has not wavered, nor has his mission in connecting people, however, now his goal’s reach is a bit bigger: to connect “every person in the world.”
So, how did Zuckerberg achieve what he did within just a few years? He set a mission or focus, and he decided how he was going to achieve it. Another way of thinking about this is goal setting. If Zuckerberg had set out to connect billions of people together, his mission would surely have failed miserably. However, by having a narrow focus in the college world, he was able to succeed in that particular realm.
Goal setting is so important to him that he has said that the daily habit that has led to his success is “knowing what you want to accomplish each day” and acting proactively, not reacting to things that have already happened. This means that he is always looking ahead, anticipating problems and finding solutions before they actually occur.