Mark Zuckerberg's Original Plans for Facebook
Today Facebook is a (ubiquitous) noun, a verb, and a social media behemoth. But in its early days, the company was an "ice breaker" and an "online directory for colleges," according to its founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The Next Web has uncovered a June 2005 informal video interview Zuckerberg gave to System Seminar TV, where he refers to his fledgling company as "The Facebook."
Wearing shorts and holding a red plastic cup of beer as he talks, the then barely-of-drinking-age Zuckerberg (he'd turned 21 just weeks before) explains the site's development: "When we originally got started at Harvard it was just me programming what was a facebook really at that time for Harvard...I realized that because I didn’t have people’s information like a school would [have if it were] making a facebook, I needed to make it interesting enough so that people would want to use the site and want to put their information up or else it wouldn’t be useful for other people and therefore it wouldn’t grow."
His goal for the site was not "an online community but sort of like a mirror for the real community. So the Facebook for your school isn’t somewhere where people actually go to meet but where you go to see who knows each other and maybe sort of an icebreaker."
In an interview at Y Combinator's Startup School this weekend Zuckerberg sounded disillusioned with Silicon Valley, but in 2005 he was starry-eyed about the place: "Palo Alto is kind of this mythical place where you know, all the start-ups come from," he said.
Zuckerberg, who sounded awed that he'd go to parties on campus and end up in people's rooms and see Facebook windows open, did not have world domination on the brain. His plans at the time for the then 16-month-old company: To create "a really cool college directory product."
He explained: “There doesn’t necessarily have to be more. A lot of people are focused on taking over the world or doing the biggest thing, getting the most users…Part of making a difference and doing something cool is focusing intensely," he said.
Inc. contributing editor Courtney Rubin was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.