Senin, 20 Desember 2010

Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg..The Hottest Social Networking Platfrom of Internet.. Part-1

Photo: Emily Shur
Photo: Emily Shur
He didn't have much choice but to sell. It was summer 2006, a little more than two years after Mark Zuckerberg had created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room as a way for him and his friends to better connect with schoolmates. In the intervening years, he'd raised $37.7 million from venture capitalists and transformed his modest Web site into a certified social phenomenon. College kids across the nation clamored for access, which Zuckerberg doled out, school by school. By mid-2006, about 7 million users, most of them college students, had a Facebook account.
But for all of Facebook's success, there were also signs of trouble. Zuckerberg wanted the site to be more than a campus thing. He wanted to supplant and surpass MySpace and make Facebook the largest social network on the planet. He wanted it to become the next Google, a site that people of all ages would find useful in their daily lives. But that hadn't happened. Facebook had cornered the market for college students, but its 11-month-old effort to capture the attention of high school students — and take users away from MySpace — was going nowhere. Indeed, Facebook's growth was leveling off, inching its way toward 8 million members, while MySpace's continued to surge, with 100 million members in August of 2006.
Photo: Emily Shur
At the same time, suitors like Viacom and Microsoft had begun to take a serious look at Facebook, and they were tossing out numbers with lots of zeroes. Some investors and executives began wondering if it was time for Zuckerberg to sell. It was starting to look like Facebook had peaked.
Zuckerberg disagreed, but when Yahoo came calling with a bid of $1 billion in cash, the pressure became too much. He relented in July, verbally agreeing to sell Facebook to Yahoo. Strategically, it seemed like a good match. Yahoo had hundreds of millions of users, but its foray into social networking was struggling. Facebook had cool tools and was looking for a mass audience.
The timing, however, couldn't have been worse. In the days after Zuckerberg agreed to sell, Yahoo announced it was projecting slower sales and earnings growth, and that the launch of its new advertising platform would be delayed. Its stock price plunged 22 percent overnight. Terry Semel, Yahoo's CEO at the time, reacted by cutting his offer from $1 billion to $800 million. Zuckerberg, who had been warned about Semel's reputation for last-minute renegotiations, walked away. Two months later, Semel reissued the original $1 billion bid, but by then Zuckerberg had convinced his board and executive team that Yahoo wasn't a serious partner and that Facebook would be worth more on its own. He rejected the offer and became famous as the cocky youngster who turned down $1 billion.
Today, Zuckerberg, 23, is famous for other reasons. For one thing, analysts think he could be the nation's richest man under 25, with a net worth estimated at $1.5 billion. But more important, he has transformed his company from second-tier social network to full-fledged platform that organizes the entire Internet. As a result, Facebook is the now most buzzed-about company in Silicon Valley, and Zuckerberg is constantly compared to visionaries like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Even some of the tech industry's most legendary figures are genuflecting before Zuckerberg. In an entry on his blog, Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen called Facebook's transformation "an amazing achievement — one of the most significant milestones in the technology industry in this decade." Says Marc Benioff, CEO of, "I'm in awe." (So am I. I have known one of Facebook's executives since childhood.)
As for those concerns that Facebook's membership had peaked? Well, now it's signing up nearly 1 million new users a week. By the end of August there were 36 million of them. And these aren't just the tweens or college kids you might suspect; the fastest-growing segment of Facebook users is over 35, a group that represents 11 percent of all site users. Total registrations have more than quadrupled over the previous year. The number of employees has tripled, as has revenue. And venture capitalists say that if Facebook were to go public today, investors would value it at more than $5 billion — five times what Yahoo had been prepared to pay.
But Zuckerberg's greatest contribution goes beyond Facebook's success. His company suggests a new model for how connection, communication, and commerce can work online — a radical and ambitious rethinking of the Internet's potential.
Zuckerberg's journey from snot-faced upstart to dotcom deity began in the summer of 2006, just after the demise of the first Yahoo bid. Zuckerberg won't speak directly about this time period, but associates and friends say that, for the first time in his career, the curly-haired tyro found himself facing immense external pressure. Sure, he'd retained control of his company for the time being, but he hadn't solved any of the problems that led him to consider a sale in the first place. Critics were accusing him of hubris and foolhardiness. He had something to prove.

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