How to sum up a man like Mark Zuckerberg? Some call him a visionary. Some call him a tyrant. Some call him that guy with the slightly creepy way of looking at you, like he’s maybe wondering whether you’re food. But whatever you think of him, you can’t deny that he’s richer than you will ever be, and that’s a damn attractive trait for any man.
How does this happen? How does an ordinary, wholesome kid from White Plains, New York end up making $74 billion, simply from giving people worldwide an easier way to find out how racist their relatives are? The story begins at Harvard, where young Mark studied psychology and computer science, wishing to understand both how the mind works and why understanding how the mind works is unnecessary. While at Harvard, he created a computer program called Facemash, which allowed students to select the best-looking person from a choice of photos. It was a sensation: nobody had ever thought of using photographs to decide whether someone was attractive or not, and Facemash brought about a revolution in the field of looking at and judging things.
Eventually, Facemash led to Facebook, or as he originally called it, “Thefacebook”, before he learned about the difference between good names and terrible ones. Of course, certain of Zuckerberg’s classmates accused him of stealing their ideas to build Facebook, but isn’t that always the way? Just as Edison was accused by Tesla, as Led Zeppelin was accused by Willi Dixon, as Avatar was accused by the Smurfs, Zuckerberg fell prey to the scourge that gnaws at all geniuses: jealousy. And isn’t that really what’s behind all the criticisms made of him since? After all, when people have a go at Facebook for invading the privacy of millions, isn’t it because they wish they could invade the privacy of millions? I know I do, and if I could, I would. But I can’t, because I don’t know how computers work. But Mark Zuckerberg DID know how computers work, and he parlayed that knowledge into an impressive empire.
Funnily enough, Mark never graduated from Harvard, dropping out in his sophomore year after realising that being rich was better than learning things. But in 2017, Harvard awarded him an honorary degree, which just goes to show not only that you can succeed without a degree, but if you do succeed without a degree, you’ll end up getting a degree. So what’s the point in getting a degree in the first place? None, that’s what. And that’s the lesson Mark Zuckerberg has for all of us.
Today, almost everyone is on Facebook, including 99 per cent of people who say that Facebook is evil and should be shut down. It’s just difficult to not be on Facebook in this day and age when nobody answers their phone and everyone wants to know what you did on your holiday. Thanks to Facebook, we have more friends than ever before, and we don’t like any of them, which is a big improvement on the pre-Facebook era when we each had about three friends and we liked them so much it was exhausting. It’s that brilliance – the ability to connect us to more people while destroying our love for humanity – that makes Mark Zuckerberg the great man he is.
Whether he’s coming up with a new way to monetise hatred, staring eerily at members of Congress, or hunting antelopes for food, Mark Zuckerberg is an inspiration to us all. Surely the world would be a better place if we were all more like Mark Zuckerberg: even if that would mean we all had $74 billion, causing a catastrophic collapse in the value of global currency. Food for thought.