Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (born May 14, 1984) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known as one of five co-founders of the social networking website Facebook. Zuckerberg is the chairman and chief executive of Facebook, Inc. His personal wealth, as of July 2015, is estimated to be $38.6 billion. Zuckerberg receives a one-dollar salary as CEO of Facebook.
Together with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes, he launched Facebook from Harvard University’s dormitory rooms. The group then introduced Facebook onto other campuses nationwide and moved to Palo Alto, California shortly afterwards. In 2007, at the age of 23, Zuckerberg became a billionaire as a result of Facebook’s success. The number of Facebook users worldwide reached a total of one billion in 2012. Zuckerberg was involved in various legal disputes that were initiated by others in the group, who claimed a share of the company based upon their involvement during the development phase of Facebook.
Since 2010, Time magazine has named Zuckerberg among the 100 wealthiest and most influential people in the world as a part of its Person of the Year distinction. In 2011, Zuckerberg ranked first on the list of the “Most Influential Jews in the World” by The Jerusalem Post. Zuckerberg was played by actor Jesse Eisenberg in the 2010 film The Social Network, in which the rise of Facebook is portrayed.
Zuckerberg was born in 1984 in White Plains, New York. He is the son of dentist Edward Zuckerberg and psychiatrist Karen Kempner. He and his three sisters, Randi, Donna, and Arielle, were brought up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small Westchester County village about 10 miles (16 km) north of New York City. Zuckerberg was raised Jewish and had his bar mitzvah when he turned 13. Afterward, he became an atheist.
At Ardsley High School, Zuckerberg excelled in classics. He transferred to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in his junior year, where he won prizes in science (math, astronomy and physics) and classical studies. On his college application, Zuckerberg claimed that he could read and write French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek. He was captain of the fencing team. In college, he was known for reciting lines from epic poems such as The Iliad.
Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004. An earlier inspiration for Facebook may have come from Phillips Exeter Academy, the prep school from which Zuckerberg graduated in 2002. It published its own student directory, “The Photo Address Book”, which students referred to as “The Facebook”. Such photo directories were an important part of the student social experience at many private schools. With them, students were able to list attributes such as their class years, their friends, and their telephone numbers.
Once at college, Zuckerberg’s Facebook started off as just a “Harvard thing” until Zuckerberg decided to spread it to other schools, enlisting the help of roommate Dustin Moskovitz. They began with Columbia, New York University, Stanford, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn, Brown, and Yale. Samyr Laine, a triple jumper representing Haiti at the 2012 Summer Olympics, shared a room with Zuckerberg during Facebook’s founding. “Mark was clearly on to great things,” said Laine, who was Facebook’s fourteenth user.
After Zuckerberg moved to Palo Alto, California with Moskovitz and some friends, they leased a small house that served as an office. Over the summer, Zuckerberg met Peter Thiel who invested in the company. They got their first office in mid-2004. According to Zuckerberg, the group planned to return to Harvard but eventually decided to remain in California. They had already turned down offers by major corporations to buy the company. In an interview in 2007, Zuckerberg explained his reasoning: “It’s not because of the amount of money. For me and my colleagues, the most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people. Having media corporations owned by conglomerates is just not an attractive idea to me.”
He restated these goals to Wired magazine in 2010: “The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.” Earlier, in April 2009, Zuckerberg sought the advice of former Netscape CFO Peter Currie about financing strategies for Facebook. On July 21, 2010, Zuckerberg reported that the company reached the 500 million-user mark. When asked whether Facebook could earn more income from advertising as a result of its phenomenal growth, he explained:
I guess we could….. If you look at how much of our page is taken up with ads compared to the average search query. The average for us is a little less than 10 percent of the pages and the average for search is about 20 percent taken up with ads….. That’s the simplest thing we could do. But we aren’t like that. We make enough money. Right, I mean, we are keeping things running; we are growing at the rate we want to.
In 2010, Steven Levy, who wrote the 1984 book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, wrote that Zuckerberg “clearly thinks of himself as a hacker”. Zuckerberg said that “it’s OK to break things” “to make them better”. Facebook instituted “hackathons” held every six to eight weeks where participants would have one night to conceive of and complete a project. The company provided music, food, and beer at the hackathons, and many Facebook staff members, including Zuckerberg, regularly attended. “The idea is that you can build something really good in a night”, Zuckerberg told Levy. “And that’s part of the personality of Facebook now….. It’s definitely very core to my personality.”
Vanity Fair magazine named Zuckerberg number 1 on its 2010 list of the Top 100 “most influential people of the Information Age”. Zuckerberg ranked number 23 on the Vanity Fair 100 list in 2009. In 2010, Zuckerberg was chosen as number 16 in New Statesman’s annual survey of the world’s 50 most influential figures.
In a 2011 interview with PBS after the death of Steve Jobs, Zuckerberg said that Jobs had advised him on how to create a management team at Facebook that was “focused on building as high quality and good things as you are”.
On October 1, 2012, Zuckerberg visited Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to stimulate social media innovation in Russia and to boost Facebook’s position in the Russian market. Russia’s communications minister tweeted that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged the social media giant’s founder to abandon plans to lure away Russian programmers and instead consider opening a research center in Moscow. In 2012, Facebook had roughly 9 million users in Russia, while domestic clone VK had around 34 million. Rebecca Van Dyck, Facebook’s head of consumer marketing, claimed that 85 million American Facebook users were exposed to the first day of the Home promotional campaign on April 6, 2013.
On August 19, 2013, the Washington Post reported that Zuckerberg’s Facebook profile was hacked by an unemployed web developer.
At the 2013 TechCrunch Disrupt conference, held in September, Zuckerberg stated that he is working towards registering the 5 billion humans who were not connected to the Internet as of the conference on Facebook. Zuckerberg then explained that this is intertwined with the aim of the Internet.org project, whereby Facebook, with the support of other technology companies, seeks to increase the number of people connected to the internet.
Zuckerberg was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Mobile World Congress (MWC), held in Barcelona, Spain, in March 2014, which was attended by 75,000 delegates. Various media sources highlighted the connection between Facebook’s focus on mobile technology and Zuckerberg’s speech, claiming that mobile represents the future of the company. Zuckerberg’s speech expands upon the goal that he raised at the TechCrunch conference in September 2013, whereby he is working towards expanding Internet coverage into developing countries.
Alongside other American technology figures like Jeff Bezos and Tim Cook, Zuckerberg hosted visiting Chinese politician Lu Wei, known as the “Internet czar” for his influence in the enforcement of China’s online policy, at Facebook’s headquarters on December 8, 2014. The meeting occurred after Zuckerberg participated in a Q&A session at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, on October 23, 2014, where he attempted to converse in Mandarin Chinese—although Facebook is banned in China, Zuckerberg is highly regarded among the people and was at the university to help fuel the nation’s burgeoning entrepreneur sector.
Zuckerberg fielded questions during a live Q&A session at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park on December 11, 2014. The founder and CEO explained that he does not believe Facebook is a waste of time because it facilitates social engagement, and participating in a public session was so that he could “learn how to better serve the community”.
A month after Facebook launched in February 2004, i2hub, another campus-only service, created by Wayne Chang, was launched. i2hub focused on peer-to-peer file sharing. At the time, both i2hub and Facebook were gaining the attention of the press and growing rapidly in users and publicity. In August 2004, Zuckerberg, Andrew McCollum, Adam D’Angelo, and Sean Parker launched a competing peer-to-peer file sharing service called Wirehog, a precursor to Facebook Platform applications.
Platform, Beacon and Connect
On May 24, 2007, Zuckerberg announced Facebook Platform, a development platform for programmers to create social applications within Facebook. Within weeks, many applications had been built and some already had millions of users. It grew to more than 800,000 developers around the world building applications for Facebook Platform.
On November 6, 2007, Zuckerberg announced Beacon, a social advertising system that enabled people to share information with their Facebook friends based on their browsing activities on other sites. For example, eBay sellers could let friends know automatically what they have for sale via the Facebook news feed as they listed items for sale. The program came under scrutiny because of privacy concerns from groups and individual users. Zuckerberg and Facebook failed to respond to the concerns quickly, and on December 5, 2007, Zuckerberg wrote a blog post on Facebook, taking responsibility for the concerns about Beacon and offering an easier way for users to opt out of the service.
In 2007, Zuckerberg was named by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review’s TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. On July 23, 2008, Zuckerberg announced Facebook Connect, a version of Facebook Platform for users.
In a public Facebook post, Zuckerberg launched the Internet.org project in late August 2013. Zuckerberg explained that the primary aim of the initiative is to provide Internet access to the 5 billion people who are not connected as of the launch date. Using a three-tier strategy, Internet.org will also create new jobs and open up new markets, according to Zuckerberg. He stated in his post:
The world economy is going through a massive transition right now. The knowledge economy is the future. By bringing everyone online, we’ll not only improve billions of lives, but we’ll also improve our own as we benefit from the ideas and productivity they contribute to the world. Giving everyone the opportunity to connect is the foundation for enabling the knowledge economy. It is not the only thing we need to do, but it’s a fundamental and necessary step.
To stay proven on the efforts of bringing in the concept of net neutrality, Mark Zuckerberg met Narendra Modi, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai at the Silicon Valley, USA to discuss on how to effectively establish affordable Internet access to the less developed countries. As a token of initiation, Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook profile picture to extend his support to the Digital India to help the rural communities to stay connected to the Internet.
Mark Zuckerberg Net Worth
Net Worth: $43.6 Billion
Facebook had 1 billion users in a single day for the first time ever in August. A year after buying virtual reality startup Oculus, Facebook announced that the firm’s Rift VR headset would start shipping to customers in early 2016. All this helped push founder Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune up by $6.3 billion in the past year and moved him into the top 10 on The Forbes 400 for the first time. Zuckerberg founded the social network in 2004 and dropped out of Harvard to move the company to Silicon Valley. Since launching its Internet.org initiative in July 2014, Facebook has given free basic Internet services to more than a billion people in 17 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In May Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were among funders who invested a combined $100 million in AltSchool, a new company working to promote high-tech personalized education. In June the couple also donated $5 million to a college scholarship fund for undocumented immigrants. His $100 million donation to the public school system in Newark, N.J., begun in 2010, did not achieve the widespread reform he’d championed. In a surprisingly personal Facebook post in late July, Zuckerberg revealed that he and his wife are expecting a baby girl after 3 miscarriages.
Evan Clark Williams (born March 31, 1972) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who has founded several Internet companies. Williams was previously Chairman and CEO of Twitter, one of the internet’s top ten websites.
Early life and education
Williams was born in Clarks, Nebraska, as the third child of Monte Williams and Laurie Howe. He grew up on a farm in Clarks, where he assisted with crop irrigation in summers. He attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln for a year-and-a-half, where he joined FarmHouse Fraternity, but eventually left to pursue his career
After leaving school, Williams worked at various technology jobs and start-up firms in Florida, at Key West, and in Texas, at Dallas and Austin, before returning to his family farm in Nebraska. In 1996 Williams moved to Sebastopol, California in Sonoma County to work for the technology publishing company O’Reilly Media. He started at O’Reilly in a marketing position but eventually became an independent contractor writing computer code, which led to freelance opportunities with companies including Intel and Hewlett-Packard.
Noah Glass is an American software developer, best known for his early work launching Twitter and Odeo, a podcasting company that closed in 2007.
After leaving Industrial Light and Magic, Glass worked on several projects with Marc Canter, founder of Macromind which later became Macromedia, birthplace of Shockwave and later Flash animation & multimedia software.
Glass later developed an application that allowed a user to enter an audio blog entry from a remote cell phone location. His small start-up, known as AudBlog, was eventually folded into a partnership with Evan Williams, of Blogger.com, and the duo then created Odeo, a podcasting company.
In 2006, while with Odeo, Glass helped to create and develop the seed idea for what would eventually become known as Twitter. Not only was Glass the prime motivating force leading to its eventual development, he is acknowledged as being responsible for coining the name “Twitter”, which began as the abbreviated version, “Twttr,” and was later changed to “Twitter.” In the book, Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton, Glass is given credit as being a co-founder of Twitter, having helped realize the idea, and designing some of its core features.
Jack Dorsey (born November 20, 1976) is an American programmer and entrepreneur widely known as a co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and as the founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company. In 2008, he was named to the MIT Technology Review TR35 as one of the top 35 innovators in the world under the age of 35. For 2012, The Wall Street Journal gave him the “Innovator of the Year Award” for technology.
Dorsey was born and raised in St. Louis, the son of Marcia (Smith) and Tim Dorsey. He is of part Italian descent. His father worked for a company that developed mass spectrometers and his mother was a homemaker. He was raised Catholic, and his uncle is a Catholic priest in Cincinnati. He went to Catholic high school, at Bishop DuBourg High School.
By age fourteen, Dorsey had become interested in dispatch routing. Some of the open source software he created in the area of dispatch logistics is still used by many taxi cab companies. Dorsey attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology before subsequently transferring to New York University, but he dropped out. He first came up with the idea that became Twitter at New York University. While working on dispatching as a programmer, he later moved to California.
In Oakland in 2000, Dorsey started his company to dispatch couriers, taxis, and emergency services from the Web. His other projects and ideas at this time included networks of medical devices and a “frictionless service market”. In July 2000, building on dispatching and inspired in part by LiveJournal and possibly by AOL Instant Messenger, he had the idea for a Web-based realtime status/short message communication service.
When he first saw implementations of instant messaging, Dorsey wondered whether the software’s user status output could be shared among friends easily. He approached Odeo, which at the time happened to be interested in text messaging. Dorsey and Biz Stone decided that SMS text suited the status message idea, and built a prototype of Twitter in about two weeks. The idea attracted many users at Odeo and investment from Evan Williams who had left Google after selling Pyra Labs and Blogger.
Williams, Stone and Noah Glass co-founded Obvious Corporation, which then spun off Twitter Inc. with Dorsey as the CEO. In his role during the pivotal days of the company’s founding, a compilation chronicling the originally named “twttr” and the time leading up to the official launch, is shown in a timeline of tweets revealing Twitter’s beginnings. As chief executive officer, Dorsey saw the startup through two rounds of funding by the venture capitalists who backed the company. He reportedly lost his position for leaving work early to enjoy other pursuits such as yoga and fashion design. On October 16, 2008, Williams took over the role of CEO, while Dorsey became chairman of the board. On March 28, 2011, Dorsey returned to Twitter as Executive Chairman after Dick Costolo replaced Williams as the CEO. On June 10, 2015, Costolo announced that he was resigning as CEO of Twitter effective July 1, 2015. Dorsey would assume the post of Interim CEO upon Costolo’s departure. He was named permanent CEO of Twitter on October 5, 2015.
As the service began to grow in popularity, Dorsey chose the improvement of uptime as top priority, even over creating revenue – which, as of 2008, Twitter was not designed to earn. Dorsey described the commercial use of Twitter and its API as two things that could lead to paid features. He describes his three guiding principles, which he says are shared by the company, are simplicity, constraint and craftsmanship.
Dorsey developed a small business platform to accept debit and credit card payments on a mobile device called Square, released in May 2010. The small, square-shaped device attaches to iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android devices via the headphone jack, and as a mini card reader allows a person to swipe their card, choose an amount to transfer to the recipient and then sign their name for confirmation. Square is also a system for sending paperless receipts via text message or email, and is available as a free app for iOS and Android OS. The company grew from 10 employees in December 2009 to over a hundred employees by June 2011. Square’s office is located on Market Street in San Francisco. In September 2012, Business Insider magazine valued Square Inc. at $3.2 billion. Dorsey is CEO of Square, Inc. On October 14 2015, Square filed for an IPO to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Producer Tom Anderson and correspondent Lara Logan interviewed Dorsey for a segment of CBS 60 Minutes called “The Innovator: Jack Dorsey” which aired during March 2013. In 2013, talking to CNN, Dorsey expressed admiration for Michael Bloomberg and his reinvention through design and simple interfaces of what it means to be mayor. Dorsey thinks becoming mayor of New York City is an aspiration that would raise the bar for him. Dorsey served as a judge for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s NYC BigApps competition in 2011.
Dorsey was announced as a new member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company on December 24, 2013. The press release referred to Dorsey as a “talented entrepreneur” and explained that his experience is aligned with the corporation’s “strategic priorities.”
Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone (born March 10, 1974) is a co-founder of Twitter, Inc and also helped to create and launch Xanga, Odeo, The Obvious Corporation and Medium. In 2012, Stone co-founded a start-up called Jelly Industries where he serves as CEO. The release of the Jelly app, a Q&A platform that relies on images, was officially announced in January 2014.
Aside from Twitter, Stone is an angel investor and advisor in the startup community having backed companies in a diversity of industries such as Square, Nest Labs, Beyond Meat, Medium, Workpop, Lyft and GoodFit. Stone is a board director at Beyond Meat, Medium, GoodFit, Workpop, and his newest startup, Jelly Industries.
Stone made his directorial debut working alongside Ron Howard and Canon USA to direct a short film as a part of Project Imaginat10n. Stone described the opportunity as a chance to scratch a long-time creative itch. Stone is also Executive Producer on WIRED, a dramatic series set in the 70s about the birth of computer industry.
From 2003 to 2005, Stone was employed by Google.
Stone is a vegan, which he became after visiting Farm Sanctuary, and is involved in causes including animal welfare, environmentalism, poverty, health and education. Stone is an advisor and contributor to DonorsChoose, a nonprofit organisation helping classrooms in need.
Stone lives in Marin County, California with his wife Livia and his son Jacob. He and his wife founded and operate the Biz and Livia Stone Foundation, which supports education and conservation in California.
What Is Jack Dorsey’s Net Worth? 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
*Jack Dorsey is worth $2.2 billion. (Getty)*
Jack Dorsey, the new CEO of Twitter, is a billionaire. He’s made his money from founding and running Twitter and Square, along with a number of other side projects. According to a securities filing, Dorsey will not be taking a salary for his job as CEO of Twitter. He will continue working as the CEO of Square while also running Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know about his net worth.
1. Jack Dorsey Is Worth $2.2 Billion
*Dorsey is a self-taught computer programmer who’s now a billionaire. (Getty)
His net worth is currently $2.2 billion, according to Forbes, and it’s all self-made. Most of it comes from Twitter, the company he co-founded and of which he’s now interim CEO. A good portion of his net worth also comes from Square, a digital payments company that he founded in 2009. He’s a self-taught computer programmer who dropped out of New York University in 1999 and made all his money as an entrepreneur.
2. His Main Wealth Came From Twitter’s IPO
*Most of Dorsey’s wealth came from Twitter’s IPO. (Getty)
He first became a billionaire in 2012, Business Insider reported. His fortune grew enormously in November 2013 when Twitter had its initial public offering. The stock started at $26 a share, but rose to $45 in its very first day of trading.
3. He Gave Part of His Stock Back to Square
*Jack Dorsey wasn’t afraid to give some of his stock back to Square to help the company. (Getty)
Dorsey might be worth even more, but he gave 10 percent of his Square stock back to Square. He wanted to help Square employees have more equity and stock options. The move also helped him acquire Caviar, an online ordering startup, Business Insider reported.
4. He Owns a Multi-Million-Dollar Home in California
*Jack Dorsey traded his million-dollar apartment for an $9 million home. (Getty)
He owns a $9.9 million seaside home in an exclusive San Francisco neighborhood, according to Business Insider. The house is on El Camino Del Mar, a Seacliff neighborhood, and has a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Even though the house is just two bedrooms, he bought it for nearly $10 million and it’s reportedly worth at least $18 million. He had a Mint Plaza apartment just blocks from Square and Twitter, but sold it for $1 million in 2012.
5. He Was Named Innovator of the Year in 2012
*As an innovator always coming up with new ideas, his net worth is likely to keep growing. (Getty)
In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named Dorsey “Innovator of the Year,” Celebrity Net Worth reported. In 2008, he was named one of the top 35 innovators in the world under 35, by MIT Technology Review. He’s also on the board of directors for Walt Disney.
Lawrence “Larry” Page (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who co-founded Google Inc. with Sergey Brin, and is the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. Page is the inventor of PageRank, Google’s best-known search ranking algorithm. 
Page is a board member of the X Prize Foundation (XPRIZE) and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004. Page received the Marconi Prize in 2004.
Early life and education
Page was born in East Lansing, Michigan, United States (U.S.). His father, Carl Vincent Page, Sr., earned a PhD in computer science in 1965, when the field was being established, and has been described by BBC reporter Will Smale as a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence.” He was a computer science professor at Michigan State University and Page’s mother, Gloria, was an instructor in computer programming at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. Page’s mother is Jewish, but he was not raised in a religious household and “does not readily identify as a Jew.”
During an interview, Larry Page recalled his childhood, noting that his house “was usually a mess, with computers, Science and Technology magazines and Popular Science magazines all over the place”, an environment in which he immersed himself. Page was an avid reader during his youth, writing in his 2013 Google founders letter that “I remember spending a huge amount of time poring over books and magazines”. According to writer Nicholas Carlson, the combined influence of Page’s home atmosphere and his attentive parents “fostered creativity and invention”. Page also played saxophone and studied music composition while growing up. Page has mentioned that his musical education inspired his impatience and obsession with speed in computing. “In some sense I feel like music training led to the high-speed legacy of Google for me,”. In an interview Page said that “In music you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing” and that “If you think about it from a music point of view, if you’re a percussionist, you hit something, it’s got to happen in milliseconds, fractions of a second”.
Page was first attracted to computers when he was six years old, as he was able to “play with the stuff lying around”—first-generation personal computers—that had been left by his parents. He became the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor”. His older brother also taught him to take things apart and before long he was taking “everything in his house apart to see how it worked”. He said that “from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology and business. Probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually.”
Page attended the Okemos Montessori School (now called Montessori Radmoor) in Okemos, Michigan, from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991. He attended Interlochen Center for the Arts as a saxophonist for two summers while in high school. Page holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University. While at the University of Michigan, Page created an inkjet printer made of Lego bricks (literally a line plotter), after he thought it possible to print large posters cheaply with the use of inkjet cartridges—Page reverse-engineered the ink cartridge, and built all of the electronics and mechanics to drive it. Page served as the president of the Beta Epsilon chapter of the Eta Kappa Nu fraternity, and was a member of the 1993 “Maize & Blue” University of Michigan Solar Car team. As an undergrad at the University of Michigan, he proposed that the school replace its bus system with something he called a “PRT,” or “personal rapid transit system,” which was essentially a driverless monorail with separate cars for every passenger. He also developed a business plan for a company that would use software to build a music synthesizer during this time.
PhD studies and research
After enrolling in a computer science PhD program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph—his supervisor, Terry Winograd, encouraged him to pursue the idea, and Page recalled in 2008 that it was the best advice he had ever received. He also considered doing research on telepresence and autonomous cars during this time.
Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks as valuable information for that page—the role of citations in academic publishing would also become pertinent for the research. Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford PhD student, would soon join Page’s research project, nicknamed “BackRub.” Together, the pair authored a research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” which became one of the most downloaded scientific documents in the history of the internet at the time.
John Battelle, cofounder of Wired magazine, wrote that Page had reasoned that the:
… entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation—after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it “the Web would become a more valuable place.”
Battelle further described how Page and Brin began working together on the project:
At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler. The idea’s complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. “I talked to lots of research groups” around the school, Brin recalls, “and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry.”
Search engine development
To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones. The new algorithm relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the backlinks that connected one Web page to another.
Combining their ideas, the pair began utilizing Page’s dormitory room as a machine laboratory, and extracted spare parts from inexpensive computers to create a device that they used to connect the nascent search engine with Stanford’s broadband campus network. After filling Page’s room with equipment, they then converted Brin’s dorm room into an office and programming center, where they tested their new search engine designs on the Web. The rapid growth of their project caused Stanford’s computing infrastructure to experience problems.
Page and Brin used the former’s basic HTML programming skills to set up a simple search page for users, as they did not have a web page developer to create anything visually elaborate. They also began using any computer part they could find to assemble the necessary computing power to handle searches by multiple users. As their search engine grew in popularity among Stanford users, it required additional servers to process the queries. In August 1996, the initial version of Google, still on the Stanford University website, was made available to Internet users.
Mark Malseed wrote in a 2007 feature story:
Soliciting funds from faculty members, family and friends, Brin and Page scraped together enough to buy some servers and rent that famous garage in Menlo Park. … [soon after], Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a $100,000 check to “Google, Inc.” The only problem was, “Google, Inc.” did not yet exist—the company hadn’t yet been incorporated. For two weeks, as they handled the paperwork, the young men had nowhere to deposit the money.”
In 1998, Brin and Page incorporated Google, Inc. with the initial domain name of “Googol,” derived from a number that consists of one followed by one hundred zeros—this represented the vast amount of data that the search engine was intended to explore. Following inception, Page appointed himself as CEO, while Brin, named Google’s cofounder, served as Google’s president. Writer Nicholas Carlson wrote in 2014:
While Google is often thought of as the invention of two young computer whizzes—Sergey and Larry, Larry and Sergey—the truth is that Google is a creation of Larry Page, helped along by Sergey Brin.
The pair’s mission was: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” With a US$1-million loan from friends and family, the inaugural team eventually moved into a Mountain View office by the start of 2000. In 1999, Page experimented with smaller sized server units so that Google could fit more into each square meter of the third-party warehouses that the company rented to store their servers, which eventually led to a search engine that ran much faster than Google’s competitors at the time.
By June 2000, Google had indexed one billion Internet URLs, or Uniform Resource Locators, making it the most comprehensive search engine on the Web at the time. The company cited NEC Research Institute data in its June 26 press release, stating that “there are more than 1 billion web pages online today,” with Google “providing access to 560 million full-text indexed web pages and 500 million partially indexed URLs.”
Early management style
During his first tenure as CEO, Page embarked on a failed attempt to fire all of Google’s project managers in 2001. Page’s plan involved all of Google’s engineers reporting to a VP of engineering, who would then report directly to him—Page explained that he didn’t like non-engineers supervising engineers due to their limited technical knowledge. Page even documented his management tenets for his team to use as a reference:
Don’t delegate: Do everything you can yourself to make things go faster.
Don’t get in the way if you’re not adding value. Let the people actually doing the work talk to each other while you go do something else.
Don’t be a bureaucrat.
Ideas are more important than age. Just because someone is junior doesn’t mean they don’t deserve respect and cooperation.
The worst thing you can do is stop someone from doing something by saying, “No. Period.” If you say no, you have to help them find a better way to get it done.
Even though Page’s new model was unsustainable and led to disgruntlement among the affected employees, his issue with engineers being managed by non-engineering staff gained traction more broadly. Eventually, the practice of only instating engineers into the management roles of engineering teams was established as a standard across Silicon Valley.
Page also believed that the faster Google’s search engine returned answers, the more it would be used. He fretted over milliseconds and pushed his engineers—from those who developed algorithms to those who built data centers—to think about lag times. He also pushed for keeping Google’s home page famously sparse in its design because it would help the search results load faster.
Changes in management and expansion
After Silicon Valley’s two most prominent investors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, agreed to invest a combined total of $25 million into Google, they applied pressure on Page to step down as CEO so that a more experienced leader could build a “world-class management team.” Page eventually became amenable to the idea after meeting with other technology CEOs, including Steve Jobs and Intel’s Andrew Grove. Eric Schmidt, who had been hired as Chairman of Google in March 2001, left his full-time position as the CEO of Novell to take on the same role at Google in August of the same year, and Page moved aside to assume the President of Products role.
Under Schmidt’s leadership, Google underwent a period of major growth and expansion, which included its initial public offering (IPO) on August 20, 2004. However, he always acted in consultation with Page and Brin when he embarked on initiatives such as the hiring of an executive team, including a newly conceived vice president of product management, Jonathan Rosenberg, and the creation of a sales force management system. Furthermore, Page remained the boss at Google in the eyes of the employees, as he gave final approval on all new hires and it was Page who provided the signature for the IPO, the latter making him a billionaire at the age of thirty.
Page led the acquisition of Android for $50 million in 2005 to fulfill his ambition to place handheld computers in the possession of consumers so that they could access Google from anywhere. The purchase was made without Schmidt’s knowledge, but the CEO was not perturbed by the relatively small acquisition. Page became passionate about Android, and spent large amounts of time with Android CEO and cofounder Andy Rubin. By September 2008, T-Mobile launched the G1, the first phone using Android software and, by 2010, 17.2 percent of the handset market consisted of Android sales, overtaking Apple for the first time. Android became the world’s most popular mobile operating system shortly afterward.
The decade ends
Following a January 2011 announcement, Page officially became the chief executive of Google on April 4, 2011, while Schmidt stepped down to become executive chairman. By this time, Google had over $180 billion market capitalization and more than 24,000 employees.
After Schmidt announced the end of his tenure as CEO on January 20, 2011, he jokingly tweeted on Twitter: “Adult-supervision no longer needed.” Quartz organizational management reporter, Max Nisen, described the decade prior to Page’s second appointment as Google’s CEO as his “lost decade.” While Page continued to exert a significant influence at Google during this time, overseeing product development and other operations, he became increasingly disconnected and less responsive over time.
As Google’s new CEO, Page’s two key goals were the development of greater autonomy for the executives overseeing the most important divisions, and higher levels of collaboration, communication and unity among the teams. Page also formed what the media called the “L-Team,” a group of senior vice-presidents who reported directly to him and worked in close proximity to his office for a portion of the working week. Additionally, he reorganized the company’s senior management, placing a CEO-like manager at the top of Google’s most important product divisions, including YouTube, AdWords, and Google Search.
In accordance with a more cohesive team environment, Page declared a new “zero tolerance for fighting” policy that contrasted with his approach during the early days of Google, when he would use his harsh and intense arguments with Brin as an exemplar for senior management. Page had changed his thinking during his time away from the CEO role, as he eventually arrived at the conclusion that his greatly ambitious goals required a harmonious team dynamic. As part of Page’s collaborative rejuvenation process, Google’s products and applications were consolidated and underwent an aesthetic overhaul.
Changes and consolidation process
At least 70 of Google’s products, features and services were eventually shut down by March 2013, while the appearance and nature of the remaining ones were unified. Jon Wiley, lead designer of Google Search, codenamed Page’s redesign overhaul, which officially commenced on April 4, 2011, “Project Kennedy,” based on Page’s use of the term “moonshots” to describe ambitious projects in a January 2013 Wired interview. An initiative named “Kanna” previously attempted to create a uniform design aesthetic for Google’s range of products, but it was too difficult at that point in the company’s history for one team to drive such change. Matias Duarte, senior director of the Android user experience at the time that “Kennedy” started, explained in 2013 that “Google passionately cares about design.” Page proceeded to consult with the Google Creative Lab design team, based in New York City, to find an answer to his question of what a “cohesive vision” of Google might look like.
The eventual results of “Kennedy,” which were progressively rolled out from June 2011 until January 2013, were described by The Verge technology publication as focused upon “refinement, white space, cleanliness, elasticity, usefulness, and most of all simplicity.” The final products were aligned with Page’s aim for a consistent suite of products that can “move fast,” and “Kennedy” was called a “design revolution” by Duarte. Page’s UXA design team then emerged from the “Kennedy” project, tasked with “designing and developing a true UI framework that transforms Google’s application software into a beautiful, mature, accessible and consistent platform for its users.” Unspoken of in public, the small UXA unit was designed to ensure that “Kennedy” became an “institution.”
Acquisition strategy and new products
When acquiring products and companies for Google, Page asks whether the business acquisition passes the toothbrush test as an initial qualifier, asking the question “Is it something you will use once or twice a day, and does it make your life better?”. This approach looks for usefulness above profitability, and long-term potential over near-term financial gain, which has been noted as rare in business acquiring processes.
With Facebook’s influence rapidly expanding during the start of Page’s second tenure, he finally responded to the intensive competition with Google’s own social network, Google+, in mid-2011. After several delays, the social network was released through a very limited field test and was led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s then senior vice president of social.
In August 2011, Page announced that Google would spend $12.5 billion to acquire Motorola Mobility. The purchase was primarily motivated by Google’s need to secure patents to protect Android from lawsuits by companies including Apple Inc. Page wrote on Googles official blog on August 15, 2011 that “companies including Microsoft and Apple are banding together in anti-competitive patent attacks on Android. The United States Department of Justice had to intervene in the results of one recent patent auction to “protect competition and innovation in the open source software community”… Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies”.
Page also ventured into hardware and Google unveiled the Chromebook in May 2012. The hardware product was a laptop that ran on a Google operating system, Chrome OS.
In January 2013, Page participated in a rare interview with Wired magazine, in which writer Steven Levy discussed Page’s “10X” mentality—Google employees are expected to create products and services that are at least 10 times better than those of its competitors—in the introductory blurb. Astro Teller, the head of Google X, explained to Levy that 10X is “just core to who he [Page] is,” while Page’s “focus is on where the next 10X will come from.” In his interview with Levy, Page referred to the success of YouTube and Android as examples of “crazy” ideas that investors were not initially interested in, saying: “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.” Page also stated that he was “very happy” with the status of Google+, and discussed concerns over the Internet in relation to the SOPA bill and an International Telecommunication Union proposal that had been recently introduced:
… I do think the Internet’s under much greater attack than it has been in the past. Governments are now afraid of the Internet because of the Middle East stuff, and so they’re a little more willing to listen to what I see as a lot of commercial interests that just want to make money by restricting people’s freedoms. But they’ve also seen a tremendous user reaction, like the backlash against SOPA. I think that governments fight users’ freedoms at their own peril.
At the May 2013 I/O developers conference in San Francisco, Page delivered a keynote address and said that Google “should be building great things that don’t exist,” and that he was “sad the Web isn’t advancing as fast as it should be” citing a perceived focus on negativity and zero sum games among some in the technology sector as a cause for that. In response to an audience question, Page noted an issue that Google had been experiencing with Microsoft, whereby the latter made its Outlook program interoperable with Google, but did not allow for backward compatibility—he referred to Microsoft’s practice as “milking off.” During the question-and-answer section of his keynote, Page expressed interest in Burning Man, which Brin had previously praised—it was a motivating factor for the latter during Schmidt’s hiring process, as Brin liked that Schmidt had attended the week-long annual event.
In September 2013, Page launched the independent Calico initiative, a R&D project in the field of biotechnology. Google announced that Calico seeks to innovate and make improvements in the field of human health, and appointed Art Levinson, chairman of Apple’s board and former CEO of Genentech, to be the new division’s CEO. Page’s official statement read: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”
Page participated in a March 2014 TedX conference that was held in Vancouver, Canada. The presentation was scripted by Page’s chief PR executive Rachel Whetstone, and Google’s CMO Lorraine Twohill, and a demonstration of an artificially intelligent computer program was displayed on a large screen. Page responded to a question about corporations, noting that corporations largely get a “bad rap”, which he stated was because they were probably doing the same incremental things they were doing “50 or 20 years ago”. He went on to juxtapose that kind of incremental approach to his vision of Google counteracting calcification through driving technology innovation at a high rate. Page mentioned Elon Musk and SpaceX:
“He [Musk] wants to go to Mars to back up humanity. That’s a worthy goal. We have a lot of employees at Google who’ve become pretty wealthy. You’re working because you want to change the world and make it better … I’d like for us to help out more than we are.”
Page announced a major management restructure in October 2014 so that he would no longer need to be responsible for day-to-day product-related decision making. In a memo, Page said that Google’s core businesses would be able to progress in a typical manner, while he could focus on the next generation of ambitious projects, including Google X initiatives; access and energy, including Google Fiber; smart-home automation through Nest Labs; and biotechnology innovations under Calico. Page maintained that he would continue as the unofficial “chief product officer.” Since the announcement, the executives in charge of Google’s core products report to Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who reports directly to Page.
In a November 2014 interview, Page stated that he prioritized the maintenance of his “deep knowledge” of Google’s products and breadth of projects, as it had been a key motivating factor for team members. In relation to his role as the corporation’s CEO, Page said: “I think my job as CEO—I feel like it’s always to be pushing people ahead.”
Net Worth : $34.3 Billion
In August 2015, Google CEO Larry Page announced that he will hand the job over to the search giant’s product czar, Sundar Pichai, later this year. Page will become CEO of Alphabet, a new publicly traded parent company that will include Google, the Google X lab, and business such as Calico, Nest and Fiber. The announcement came soon after Google stock surged to an all-time high in July, propelled by success in mobile search and with YouTube and a promise from new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to rein in spending. Earlier this year Google unveiled Sidewalk Labs, a new subsidiary to improve quality of life in cities, as well as plans to provide mobile phone services in the U.S. Page cofounded Google in 1998 with fellow Stanford Ph.D. student Sergey Brin and was its first CEO until 2001. After serving as president of products, he took the helm again in 2011. In October 2014, he transferred most of his daily responsibilities to Pichai in order to focus on longer-term strategy. A clean energy advocate, Page’s network of houses in Palo Alto use fuel cells, geothermal energy and rainwater capture.
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin (Russian: Серге́й Миха́йлович Брин; born August 21, 1973) is a Russian-born American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who, together with Larry Page, co-founded Google, one of the world’s most profitable Internet companies. According to Hurun Global Rich List 2015 he is jointly one of three people listed as 18th richest in the world (21 overall) with a net worth of US$30 billion.
Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of 6. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he moved to Stanford University to acquire a PhD in computer science. There he met Page, with whom he later became friends. They crammed their dormitory room with inexpensive computers and applied Brin’s data mining system to build a web search engine. The program became popular at Stanford and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in a rented garage.
The Economist referred to Brin as an “Enlightenment Man”, and as someone who believes that “knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance”, a philosophy that is summed up by Google’s mission statement “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and unofficial motto “Don’t be evil”.
Early life and education
Brin was born in Moscow in the Soviet Union, to Russian Jewish parents, Mikhail and Yevgenia Brin, both graduates of Moscow State University. His father is a mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, and his mother a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
In 1979, when Brin was six years old, his family felt compelled to emigrate to the United States. In an interview with Mark Malseed, co-author of The Google Story, Sergey’s father explains how he was “forced to abandon his dream of becoming an astronomer even before he reached college”. Michael Brin claims Communist Party heads barred Jews from upper professional ranks by denying them entry to universities, and that Jews were excluded from the physics departments in particular. Michael Brin therefore changed his major to mathematics where he received nearly straight A’s. He said, “Nobody would even consider me for graduate school because I was Jewish.” According to Brin, at Moscow State University, Jews were required to take their entrance exams in different rooms from non-Jewish applicants and they were marked on a harsher scale.
The Brin family lived in a three-room apartment in central Moscow, which they also shared with Sergey’s paternal grandmother. Brin told Malseed, “I’ve known for a long time that my father wasn’t able to pursue the career he wanted”, but Brin only picked up the details years later after they had settled in the United States. In 1977, after his father returned from a mathematics conference in Warsaw, Poland, Michael Brin announced that it was time for the family to emigrate. “We cannot stay here any more”, he told his wife and mother. At the conference, he was able to “mingle freely with colleagues from the United States, France, England and Germany and discovered that his intellectual brethren in the West were not ‘monsters.’” He added, “I was the only one in the family who decided it was really important to leave.”
Sergey’s mother was less willing to leave their home in Moscow, where they had spent their entire lives. Malseed writes, “For Genia, the decision ultimately came down to Sergey. While her husband admits he was thinking as much about his own future as his son’s, for her, ‘it was 80/20′ about Sergey.” They formally applied for their exit visa in September 1978, and as a result his father was “promptly fired”. For related reasons, his mother also had to leave her job. For the next eight months, without any steady income, they were forced to take on temporary jobs as they waited, afraid their request would be denied as it was for many refuseniks. During this time his parents shared responsibility for looking after him and his father taught himself computer programming. In May 1979, they were granted their official exit visas and were allowed to leave the country. At an interview in October 2000, Brin said, “I know the hard times that my parents went through there and am very thankful that I was brought to the States.”
In the summer of 1990, a few weeks before his 17th birthday, his father led a group of high school math students, including Sergey, on a two-week exchange program to the Soviet Union. His roommate on the trip was future CMU computer science professor John Stamper. As Brin recalls, the trip awakened his childhood fear of authority and he remembered that “his first impulse on confronting Soviet oppression had been to throw pebbles at a police car.” Malseed adds, “On the second day of the trip, while the group toured a sanatorium in the countryside near Moscow, Brin took his father aside, looked him in the eye and said, ‘Thank you for taking us all out of Russia.’”
Brin attended elementary school at Paint Branch Montessori School in Adelphi, Maryland, but he received further education at home; his father, a professor in the department of mathematics at the University of Maryland, encouraged him to learn mathematics and his family helped him retain his Russian-language skills. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland. In September 1990 Brin enrolled in the University of Maryland to study computer science and mathematics, where he received his Bachelor of Science in May 1993 with honors.
Brin began his graduate study in computer science at Stanford University on a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In 1993, he interned at Wolfram Research, who were the developers of Mathematica. As of 2008, he is on leave from his PhD studies at Stanford.
In May 2007, Brin married biotech analyst and entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki in the Bahamas. They had a son together in December 2008 and a daughter in late 2011. In August 2013, it was announced Brin and his then-wife were living separately. In June 2015, Brin and Wojcicki finalized their divorce.
Brin’s mother, Eugenia, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In 2008, he decided to make a donation to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where his mother is being treated. Brin used the services of 23andMe and discovered that although Parkinson’s is generally not hereditary, both he and his mother possess a mutation of the LRRK2 gene (G2019S) that puts the likelihood of him developing Parkinson’s in later years between 20 and 80%. When asked whether ignorance was not bliss in such matters, he stated that his knowledge means that he can now take measures to ward off the disease. An editorial in The Economist magazine states that “Mr Brin regards his mutation of LRRK2 as a bug in his personal code, and thus as no different from the bugs in computer code that Google’s engineers fix every day. By helping himself, he can therefore help others as well. He considers himself lucky. … But Mr. Brin was making a much bigger point. Isn’t knowledge always good, and certainly always better than ignorance?”
Brin and his ex-wife also run The Brin Wojcicki Foundation.
Censorship of Google in China
Remembering his youth and his family’s reasons for leaving the Soviet Union, he “agonized over Google’s decision to appease the communist government of China by allowing it to censor search engine results”, but he decided that the Chinese would still be better off than without having Google available.
On January 12, 2010, Google reported a large cyber attack on its computers and corporate infrastructure that began a month earlier, which included accessing two Gmail accounts and the theft of Google’s intellectual property. After the attack was determined to have originated in China, the company stated that it would no longer agree to censor its search engine in China and may exit the country altogether. David Drummond, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, reported that “a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, but that the attack also targeted 20 other large companies in the finance, technology, media and chemical sectors.” It was later reported that the attack had also targeted “one of Google’s crown jewels, a password system that controls access by millions of users worldwide”.
In late March 2010, it officially discontinued its China-based search engine while keeping its uncensored Hong Kong site in operation. Speaking for Google, Brin stated during an interview, “One of the reasons I am glad we are making this move in China is that the China situation was really emboldening other countries to try and implement their own firewalls.” During another interview with Der Spiegel, he added, “For us it has always been a discussion about how we can best fight for openness on the Internet. We believe that this is the best thing that we can do for preserving the principles of the openness and freedom of information on the Internet.”
Senator Byron Dorgan stated that “Google’s decision is a strong step in favor of freedom of expression and information.” And Congressman Bob Goodlatte said, “I applaud Google for its courageous step to stop censoring search results on Google.cn. Google has drawn a line in the sand and is shining a light on the very dark area of individual liberty restrictions in China.” From the business perspective, many recognize that the move is likely to affect Google’s profits. The New Republic adds that “Google seems to have arrived at the same link that was obvious to Andrei Sakharov: the one between science and freedom,” referring to the move as “heroism”.
Net Worth $33.7 Billion
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in August announced their plans to reengineer Google. In the fourth quarter 2015 they will create a new parent company called Alphabet. Their aim: “Getting more ambitious things done.” Google-of which YouTube will remain a part-is one of the multiple companies that will exist under the Alphabet umbrella. The others include Calico, which is focused on longevity; Nest, a smart-home-thermostat firm; Google Ventures; and Google X. Page will shift into the CEO role at Alphabet. Brin will serve as president. The creation of Alphabet is an attempt to create a formal corporate structure for some of the ambitious projects the 2 men have been tackling within Google. The Google X group, for example, produced the computer-on-your-lenses Google Glass (for which development appears to be stalled), as well as self-driving cars (it introduced prototypes last year). Google stock hit an alltime high in July, propelled by tough talk about financial discipline by new CFO Ruth Porat and strong results from YouTube and the mobile-search division. In May Brin quietly finalized his divorce with Anne Wojcicki, CEO of genetic-testing firm 23andMe, nearly 2 years after his affair with a young Google employee made headlines.
Kevin Systrom (born December 30, 1983) is an American entrepreneur and computer programmer, best known as the co‑founder and CEO of Instagram, an online mobile photo, video sharing application. This social networking service for iPhone and Android that allow users to apply a filter to a photo and share it on the service or on other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr. In 2013, Systrom was listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 list under the Social/Mobile category. Together with Mike Krieger, Systrom launched Instagram in San Francisco on October 6, 2010. Instagram is one of the fastest growing services of all time, hitting 80M users by July 26, 2012 and it was acquired by Facebook for $1B less than 2 years after its launch. “Our goal is to not just be a photo-sharing app, but to be the way you share your life when you’re on the go,” Systrom says. As of December 2014, Instagram has over 300 million active users.
Systrom was born in 1983 in Holliston, Massachusetts. He is the son of Diane (Pels), a marketing executive at Zipcar, and Douglas Systrom, Vice President in Human Resources at TJX Companies. His maternal grandparents were members of The First Congregational Church of Hancock. Systrom attended Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, where he was introduced to computer programming. His interest grew from playing Doom 2 and creating his own levels as a child.
After graduating Stanford, he joined Google as an associate product marketing manager, working on Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Spreadsheets and other products. He spent two years at Google; during the first, he worked on Gmail, Google Reader, and other products, and during the second he worked on the Corporate Development team.
After leaving Google to join Nextstop, a location recommendation startup founded by ex-Googlers that was acquired by Facebook in 2010, Systrom thought of combining location check-ins and popular social games. He made the prototype of what later became Burbn and pitched it to Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz at a party. After the first meeting, he decided to quit his job in order to explore whether or not Burbn could become a company. Within 2 weeks of quitting his job, he received $500,000 seed funding round from both Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. While in San Francisco, Systrom and Mike Krieger built Burbn, a HTML 5 check-in service, into a product that allowed users to do many things: check in to locations, make plans (future check-ins), earn points for hanging out with friends, post pictures, and much more. However, recalling their studies in Mayfield Fellows Program, Krieger and Systrom identified that Burbn contained too many features and the users did not want a complicated product. They decided to focus on one specific feature, photo-sharing. The development of Burbn led to creation of Instagram. A month after launching, Instagram had grown to 1 million users. A year later, Instagram hit more than 10 million users.
After pivoting from Burbn, Systrom co‑founded the photo-sharing and, then later, video-sharing social networking service Instagram with Mike Krieger in San Francisco, California. The name “Instagram” comes from the words “instant” and “telegram”.
In April 2012, Instagram was sold to Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock, along with 13 employees. According to multiple reports, the deal netted Systrom $400 million based on his ownership stake in the business. One of the key contributions to the acquisition is that Mark Zuckerberg stated Facebook is “committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” allowing Systrom to continue to lead Instagram.
In an interview with Forbes, he stated that “Instagram is a new form of communication that’s an ideal fit with the always-with-you iPhone in today’s social media world. Instagram’s a social network built around photos, where people can quickly comment on or ‘like’ photos and share them on Twitter or Facebook.”  Systrom identifies Instagram as a media company, which explains the roll-out of video advertisement by big companies such as Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic and CW in late 2014.
Under Systrom’s leadership, Instagram developed key features like the Explore tab, filters, and video. Over time, Instagram has rolled out features allowing users to upload and filter photographs and short videos, follow other users’ feeds, geotag images, name location, and comment on other users’ photographs and short videos. Instagram allowed the development of web profiles in 2012, connecting accounts to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr in 2013, an Explore tab in mid-2012, and Video in June 2013. Instagram offers 19 photographic filters; Normal, 1977, Amaro, Branna, Earlybird, Hefe, Hudson, Inkwell, Kelvin, Lo-fi, Mayfair, Nashville, Rise, Sierra, Sutro, Toaster, Valencia, Willow, X-Pro II.
As a Mayfield Fellows Program with the Stanford Technology Ventures Program where he met Co-Founder, Mike Krieger, Systrom believed in building “simple solutions and minimum viable products” which attributes to the minimalistic nature of Instagram’s core features and iteration cycles. In addition, both co-founders attribute their success to building a collaborative work culture, developing work-life balance, and constantly maintaining and growing their co-founder relationship.
Instagram founders turn two years of work into $1bn – only in Silicon Valley
California has been famous since the gold rush for creating fortunes overnight. The Golden State was a dream factory for get-rich-quick schemes from pioneers with pickaxes to beautiful people aiming to be Hollywood stars. But only in Silicon Valley can a couple of 20-somethings turn less than two years of work into a $1bn (£630m) fortune.
Kevin Systrom, 28, joined the long line of technocrats turned plutocrats on Monday when he sold Instagram, a profitless photo sharing app that’s less than two years old, for $1bn. He sold it to that other wunderkind, Mark Zuckerberg, 27, the Facebook founder whose social network is now worth an estimated $100bn.
Systrom, a former Google employee, is understood to own about 40% of Instagram, which is now worth $400m. His co-founder Mike Krieger, 25, is believed to have about 10%, worth $100m. The rest will be shared with investors and the company’s other employees – all 11 of them. Even by Silicon Valley standards, it’s a remarkable haul for a company that’s been around for less than two years.
Instagram wasn’t the first, or the only, mobile app offering people a way to share their photos on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr. Nor was its use of filters to add visual effects to those shots a new idea. But what made it stand out was its success.
Last week Instagram raised $50m from venture capital firms, valuing Systrom and Krieger’s baby at $500m. Zuckerberg had reportedly already approached Systrom and asked to buy the firm but after the funding he came back with an offer that couldn’t be refused: double the price.
Instagram might not make a cent but it is the hottest mobile app in the world and Facebook is preparing for the biggest IPO in tech history.
To date people have questioned Facebook’s mobile strategy. Zuckerberg started his social network in the days when PCs and browsers ruled the internet. Even 20-somethings can look a bit dated in these fast moving days. And $1bn is a small price to pay for new school cool, if you are worth $100bn.
Systrom, a Stanford University graduate like so many Silicon Valley multimillionaires, grew up in Boston but was an early witness to the dotcom boom. His mother, Diane Systrom, worked at Monster.com during the first internet era and is now an executive at Zipcar, the online car rental business.
The history of the billion-dollar deal goes back to his university days where he was studying for an engineering degree. Systrom, a big photography fan, started looking at ways to share photos online. His interest subsided as he looked for a job, ending up at Google, where he spent two years in product development and corporate development.
Systrom’s next job was at Nextstop, a trip-recommendation site that Facebook bought for a rather measly $2.5m. Systrom then started Burbn, named after his favourite liquor, a company that focused on the super-hot area of mobile but whose basket of services seemed to lack any clear identity. It had photos but also check-in capabilities, like FourSquare, and other apps.
Along came Mike Krieger, another Stanford graduate, and the two started talking about narrowing their focus.
On the Q&A site Quora, Systrom explained the genesis of Instagram: “We decided that if we were going to build a company, we wanted to focus on being really good at one thing.
“We saw mobile photos as an awesome opportunity to try out some new ideas. We spent one week prototyping a version that focused solely on photos. It was pretty awful. So we went back to … Burbn. We actually got an entire version of Burbn done as an iPhone app, but it felt cluttered, and overrun with features.
“It was really difficult to decide to start from scratch, but we went out on a limb, and basically cut everything in the Burbn app except for its photo, comment, and like capabilities. What remained was Instagram. (We renamed because we felt it better captured what you were doing – an instant telegram of sorts. It also sounded camera-y).”
The rest is Silicon Valley history. Launched in October 2010, Instagram was an instant hit. Over 30m people have downloaded the app now. When the firm launched an Android version earlier this month, it attracted 1m downloads in 12 hours. People love sharing their photos online and making them look like their Dad took them in 1980 with a camera he borrowed from his dad.
And the app they want to do it with is Instagram.
Reid Garrett Hoffman (born August 5, 1967) is an American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a business-oriented social network used primarily for professional networking. Hoffman, with a net worth of US$4.7 billion, is ranked as #341 on the list of the world’s richest people.
Early life and education
Hoffman was born in Palo Alto, California, to Deanna Ruth (Rutter) and William Parker Hoffman, Jr., and grew up in Berkeley, California. His paternal great-great-great-grandfather was Theophilus Adam Wylie, a Christian Presbyterian minister and Indiana University president pro tempore. Reid’s uncle Eric Hoffman is a writer. He attended high school at The Putney School, where he farmed maple syrup, drove oxen and studied epistemology. He graduated from Stanford University in 1990, where he won both a Marshall Scholarship and a Dinkelspiel Award, with a BS in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science. He went on to earn an M.A. in Philosophy from Wolfson College, Oxford University in 1993 as a Marshall Scholar.
While in college, according to Hoffman, he formed a conviction that he wanted to try to influence the state of the world on a large scale. He saw academia as an opportunity to make an “impact”, but later realized that an entrepreneurial career would provide him with a larger platform. “When I graduated from Stanford my plan was to become a professor and public intellectual. That is not about quoting Kant. It’s about holding up a lens to society and asking ‘who are we?’ and ‘who should we be, as individuals and a society?’ But I realised academics write books that 50 or 60 people read and I wanted more impact.”
With that in mind, Hoffman pursued a career in business and entrepreneurship. He joined Apple Computer in 1994, where he worked on eWorld, an early attempt at creating a social network. eWorld was acquired by AOL in 1996. He later worked at Fujitsu before co-founding his first company – SocialNet.com in 1997. It focused “on online dating and matching up people with similar interests, like golfers who were looking for partners in their neighborhood.” Peter Thiel has said SocialNet.com was “literally an idea before its time. It was a social network 7 or 8 years before that became a trend.”
While at SocialNet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors during the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service. In January 2000, he left SocialNet and joined PayPal full-time as the company’s COO. Allen Blue, whom Hoffman hired at PayPal, said that “PayPal had to scratch and claw for every advantage it had, and Reid became an expert at competing effectively in an extremely competitive environment.” Hoffman was responsible for all external relationships for PayPal, including payments infrastructure (VISA, MasterCard, ACH, WellsFargo), business development (eBay, Intuit, and others), government (regulatory, judicial), and legal. Peter Thiel, Hoffman’s boss at PayPal, has said that Hoffman “ was the firefighter-in-chief at PayPal. Though that diminishes his role because there were many, many fires.” At the time of PayPal’s acquisition by eBay for $1.5B in 2002, he was executive vice president of PayPal.
Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in December 2002 with two former colleagues from SocialNet (including Allen Blue), a former college classmate and a former colleague from his time at Fujitsu. It launched on May 5, 2003, as one of the first business-oriented online social networks. Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, colleagues of Hoffman’s at PayPal, invested in LinkedIn. As of November 2014, LinkedIn has over 332 million members in more than 200 countries and territories. The site allows registered users to create professional profiles and connect with each other. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. According to Forbes, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today.”
Hoffman was LinkedIn’s founding CEO for the first four years before becoming chairman and President, Products in February 2007. He became Executive chairman in June 2009. With the IPO of LinkedIn on May 19, 2011, Hoffman owns a stake worth an estimated $2.34 billion, not including any potential benefits from Greylock Partners, where he was named a Partner in 2009. Hoffman believes that many people still do not know how to use its service and it is LinkedIn’s job to help them out. In an interview, Hoffman said that “you have to think proactively about how to use a tool that enables your ability to move in ways that you weren’t able to move before, and most of people are not very good at that”.
After the PayPal sale to eBay, Hoffman became one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific and successful angel investors. According to venture capitalist David Sze, Hoffman “is arguably the most successful angel investor in the past decade.” Dave Goldberg, former CEO of SurveyMonkey, says that Hoffman “is the person you want to talk to when you are starting a company.” In 2010 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners and runs their $20 million Discovery Fund. His areas of focus at Greylock include consumer and services, enterprise software, consumer Internet, enterprise 2.0, mobile, social gaming, online marketplaces, payments, and social networks.
According to David Kirkpatrick’s book The Facebook Effect, Hoffman arranged the first meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel, which led to Thiel’s initial $500,000 angel investment in Facebook. Hoffman invested alongside Thiel in Facebook’s very first financing round.
Hoffman’s current investments include Airbnb, One Kings Lane, Swipely, Viki, Coupons.com, Edmodo, Wrapp, TrialPay, Xapo, and Talko. Past investments include Flickr, Digg, shopkick, SixApart, Wikia, Permuto, thesixtyone, Tagged, IronPort, Ping.fm, Nanosolar, Care.com, Knewton, Kongregate, Last.fm, Technetto, Vendio and VigLink. He served on Zynga’s board of directors from March 2008 to June 2014, and on shopkick’s board of directors from its foundation in July 2009 until its acquisition by SK Telecom in October 2014.
Public Intellectual Work
Hoffman has spoken at the XPrize Foundation’s conference and the TED conference in Long Beach in 2012. He is a frequent lecturer at Stanford University, Oxford University, Harvard University, MIT’s Media Lab, and others. He has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, Fareed Zakaria’s Global Public Square on CNN and other current affairs television programs.
Hoffman has published a variety of posts as a “LinkedIn Influencer” on LinkedIn. He published an essay proposing a new form of credentialing for university students and professionals entitled “Disrupting the Diploma.” On his personal website, he published “LinkedIn’s Series B Pitch to Greylock: Pitch Advice for Entrepreneurs,” in which he analyzed LinkedIn’s 2004 Series B venture funding pitch deck and offered advice to prospective entrepreneurs on how to formulate a pitch deck.
Hoffman has also written op-eds in the Washington Post, including one published in 2009 entitled “Let Startups Bail Us Out” encouraging funding for grassroots innovation in the wake of the financial crisis and another in June 2013 entitled “Immigration promotes entrepreneurship and prosperity” advocating for immigration reform. He has written for Strategy+Business on professional networking and is an “Influencer” on LinkedIn where he posts original written content.
The Start-Up of You
Hoffman is co-author, with Ben Casnocha, of the career book The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform your Career.
The book was released in the United States on February 14, 2012. It argues that individuals should think of themselves as businesses-of-one – the “CEO of their own career” – and draws many parallels between lessons learned from the stories of successful Silicon Valley technology companies and an individual’s career.
Publishers Weekly reviewed the book positively, saying, “with plenty of valuable guidance relevant to any career stage, this book will help readers not only survive professionally in times of uncertainty but stand out from the pack and flourish.” The Economist said that “Hoffman and Casnocha make a number of astute observations about shifts in the world of work.”
As of September 2012 it had sold more than 100,000 copies. It became both a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Business Insider republished visual summaries of The Start-Up of You, which have received over 13 million views.
Hoffman is co-author, with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh, of the management book The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.
The book was released in the United States on July 8, 2014. It argues that previous career models of lifetime employment and free agency no longer work in a business world defined by continuous change. Instead, it proposes that employers and employees should think of each other as “allies” and move from a transactional approach to employment to a “relational” one. It proposes a new framework for managers and employers to organize their work, described as “tours of duty.” Further, it argues why managers should encourage their employees to gather “network intelligence” and why companies and managers should maintain a lifelong relationship with former employees via a corporate alumni network.
The book became a New York Times bestseller. Arianna Huffington named The Alliance “the must-read book of the summer” in 2014.
Net Worth $3.8 Billion
The most connected man in Silicon Valley, Reid Hoffman has had a hand in creating two of its most successful social networks. He cofounded the professional networking site LinkedIn, which now forms the bulk of his fortune, and was an early backer of Facebook. Now a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, he has led the firm’s investments in Groupon and Airbnb. He also sits on the boards of several nonprofits, including Kiva, which seeks to combat poverty through microfinance. The Stanford and Oxford alum co-authored “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age,” a 2014 bestseller that encourages companies and employees to think of each other as “allies on a tour of duty.” Hoffman belongs to the so-called “PayPal Mafia,” and was one of the first employees at the payment company that was later sold to eBay. Prior to joining PayPal in 1998, Hoffman created the (failed) dating site SocialNet, which some regard as the first online social network.
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