How Mark Zuckerberg Started

How Mark Zuckerberg really started is not how the movie The Social Network showed it.

How Mark Zuckerberg started infographic

Mark Zuckerberg meets a computer

His father, although not an engineer, was an early computer enthusiast. Running a dental office he had a vision that computers would change the way people communicate. But for the time being he used them for taking scanning people’s mouths. At age 10 Mark was bored with school. His father noticed and introduced him to his Altair computer. Together they wrote a program that connected the computer at home with the computer in the office. They called it “ZuckNet.” It alerted doctor Z, as he is known, when a patient arrived. It worked better than having the receptionist yell, “Patient here!”

Mark Zuckerberg starts hacking

Mark quickly learned everything his father knew about computers. He started studying with a tutor. Then he started taking a college class in computer science while still in middle school. He read books. But he really started learning to code when he transferred to a private school where he met a programming whiz kid Adam D’Angelo. Together they started hacking. They made an artificially intelligent music player that learned the user’s music taste. Soon Microsoft found out about it and offered money and a job. Zuckerberg was not interested.

There is a running theme in how Mark Zuckerberg started. He would be offered millions and even billions at least 11 times since then, and every time he walked away. He might have a bigger plan every time.


Most of the facts in the timeline are based on David Kirkpatrick’s book The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.

In The Facebook Effect, David Kirkpatrick narrates a history of how Facebook was from a dorm-room novelty to a company with 500 million users, and how Mark Zuckerberg stayed focused on growth even when it meant to raise money from investors selling the company equity.