“Mark Zuckerberg: Changing the Lives of Today” By: Michael Migliorisi, Wagner College ’16
“Move fast, take risks. It’s okay to try big things. You’re better off trying something and having it not work and learning from that than having not done anything at all.” Taking risks is the only way for someone to succeed. Without a risk, there is no success to achieve. Mark Zuckerberg took one of the biggest risks he could possibly take, dropping out of college in 2004. He was a sophomore at Harvard University at the time and majoring in computer science and psychology. He decided that he would drop out of college in order to complete a project he was working on. Today we know this project as Facebook. Zuckerberg is the founder of the most popular social networking site. In the past, many people would become successful without even attending college at all, but nowadays it is nearly impossible to find a successful job without graduating college. Mark Zuckerberg was able to complete this task and more. Even as a college dropout, he became one of the wealthiest and most well-known people in today’s society. Without Mark’s creation of Facebook, today’s society would be much different than it is.
Mark Zuckerberg was born in White Plains, New York on May 14, 1984. He is the son of a dentist and a psychiatrist and is the only boy in his family with three sisters. Zuckerberg graduated high school in 2002 and enrolled in Harvard University in the fall. In his freshman year of college, Zuckerberg created a web program that he called Facemash. It was a program in which students of Harvard would be given two pictures of other students and they would vote on who was better looking. He was nearly kicked out of the college for this program and was forced to take it down after only 3 days of use. In February of 2004, he launched Thefacebook.com. Only a few months later, he decided to dropout of Harvard to continue to advance his website.
Mark Zuckerberg’s life had accomplishments that many people could never even imagine. His greatest accomplishment came in 2004, when he founded Facebook. The website is now a part of many people’s life today. However, Facebook may not be what it is today if Zuckerberg didn’t take the risk he took back then. Like he once said, you need to take these risks in order to become successful. The risk that he took was expanding to other schools that already had social networking sites for the students. The purpose of this was to test out Facebook and see if his work was really worth it. He wanted to take on the competition and see if Facebook would still survive. In an interview, Zuckerberg said, “I wanted to go to schools that would be hardest for us to succeed at. I knew if we had something better than the others it would make it worth putting time into.” He knew that he might not be successful, but if he was successful in these schools then he could be more successful than he ever imagined. This is a perfect example of a risk that makes a difference between changing the lives of many or not.
The risks that Zuckerberg took led to much more than just a successful website. Those risks pointed him in the direction for many more accomplishments in the future. With the success of his website came fortune. Zuckerberg’s leadership played a key role in him making his fortune. His ability to use teamwork with his colleagues and to make difficult decisions without having regret were what improved his economic status. In 2008, Zuckerberg accomplished something that many people never will, he became a billionaire. At the time, his net worth was estimated at 1.5 billion dollars. He was named the world’s youngest billionaire of the 1,125 billionaires that year by Forbes at the young age of 23. Not only was he a billionaire then, but he also turned down a billion-dollar offer from Yahoo! just one year prior. How many other 22 year-olds would turn down a billion-dollar offer for something they made in their college dorm room? In fact, how many 22 year-olds would make something in their dorm room worth that amount of money? The answer to those questions is simple. None. Zuckerberg was very sure of himself though. He knew that he had something that was more valuable than the money he was offered and he wouldn’t give it up. This decision proved to be the right one now that he has made more money than he was offered. As of 2010, Zuckerberg’s net worth had improved to 4 billion dollars. That was 3 million dollars more than he was offered just years prior. That risk made him even wealthier in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, his net worth jumped from 4 billion dollars to 13.5 billion dollars. Now, in 2012, his net worth is estimated at 16.9 billion dollars. Had he sold Facebook to Yahoo! back then, he would probably be known as the kid who made the biggest mistake. Instead, he made the decision to hold on to Facebook and as of early 2011 it was worth 50 billion dollars. Decisions like his are what changes a person’s life.
All of these risks and his fortune led to another accomplishment for Zuckerberg. He was named the 2010 Person of Year by TIME Magazine. This was an honor for Zuckerberg. He was recognized as the most successful person of the year. TIME Magazine discusses Zuckerberg’s life and how he got to where he is today. The main reason that Zuckerberg was given the title of person of the year was that he had changed the way people communicated and lived. One twelfth of every person had a Facebook account and it was still growing. In 2010, Facebook reached its 550 millionth member.So many people were now using the site and most of those people would check their account daily. It provided a way for people to connect online and communicate more frequently and people took advantage of this. TIME Magazine wrote about what happens on his website from minute to minute. “On Facebook, every 60 seconds is packed with a lifetime’s worth of social interactions.” There are 1,789,736 actions performed on Facebook every minute.
Mark Zuckerberg has experienced so much throughout his life. He has made many decisions as a leader that would be difficult for many others to make. Many of those decisions rely around his philosophy of taking risks for rewards. With all of his accomplishments came the risks that he took to get to that point. He does everything he can to improve his company even he makes mistakes. “Almost any mistake you can make in running a company, I’ve probably made.” A major leadership quality is recognizing your mistakes and he does that all the time. He realizes that some of the risks he’s taken haven’t turned out as planned, but the ones that went the right way have made the biggest difference. If you are willing to make mistakes the way he is then you can improve your company more than someone who is hesitant.
Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style is one that everyone should try to include with whatever they are leading. I agree with Zuckerberg, I believe that it is very important to take risks in life. These risks are what make all the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. Successful people will be the ones who don’t look back and regret their mistakes, while the unsuccessful ones will be upset for their faults. If you don’t regret the mistakes you make and instead act without being cautious of doing the right thing, then you will be able to learn from your mistakes and accept them. In order to accept these mistakes, you must admit when you make a mistake. If I can implement this in my life then I believe I can be successful. This is a very key leadership tactic to practice in life.
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