Facebook is the largest social networking site in the world. But what has become a Silicon Valley giant was once a concept born from a dorm room. This is the story of The birth of Facebook and the $1,000,000,000 bargain.
Face of social media
With over 2.34 billion active monthly users Facebook truly is the face of social media. Almost everyone you meet uses the platform and I’m sure many of you have seen the highly rated feature film “The Social Network”. But for those who were wondering how the tech giant first came to be, here’s a quick summary.
In 2003 Facebook founder Mark Zuckaberg created a site called “Facesmash”. It existed to allow people to compare faces of Harvard’s students to determine who was better looking. Naturally the site was condemned by Harvard’s administrative board and Mark himself was nearly expelled. While there is no doubt the site hurt feelings and objectified individuals it unknowingly provided the structure that would form the world’s largest social media platform.
Facebook goes global
In February of 2004 the site was launched as a Harvard project. However, it quickly gained momentum and was introduced to additional colleges like Yale, Stanford and Columbia. By late 2006 it was an international endeavour with anyone over the age of thirteen having access to a free account.
The Yahoo offer
Yahoo recognised its value and attempted to buy the company for $1,000,000,000 but the offer was declined. Many thought this was insanity and when asked about his greatest low point, Mark Zuckaberg spoke of this period. It changed everything for Facebook, it was no longer about just growth, how to expand the offering, how to impact more people, now it was about pure business. In 2006 Facebook had 10 million users so the jury was still out on whether it would grow to become the giant of Silicon Valley, or fade into irrelevance like many companies do. The decision caused utter turmoil throughout the business from employees to large scale investors who saw a chance to make hundreds of millions on their investment. Zuckaberg said the hardest part of this turbulent time was the number of people who quit following the decision to turn Yahoo down. They no longer believed in Facebook and did not support the company’s mission. Among this exodus was Facebook’s entire management team who left within a year of the call being made.
Today it is worth hundreds of billions of dollars and is an advertising resource like no other, so safe to say the game of roulette came up red for Zuckaberg. It’s imperative to marketers with over 42% of us saying it’s crucial to our strategic efforts getting brands out there.