Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., laughs during the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The summit brings together the leading minds in the tech industry for two-days of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Photographer: George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a social-media-reliant age, most people will know the name Zuckerberg and his accomplishments, specifically the invention of Facebook. However many do not realize that Zuckerberg completely changed the way businesses operate at such a young age. His story of vision and determination is one of great leadership that many professionals can learn something from.

The Story Of Zuckerberg and Facebook

Zuckerberg has always had a heavy interest in computer programming and developing new programs. Many people do not know that while Zuckerberg was in high school he created a program called Synapse, which was eventually developed into Pandora. Several companies such as AOL and Microsoft had an interest in buying out Synapse and hiring Zuckerberg before he even graduated high school. However, he declined the offers and enrolled to be a student at Harvard University for the fall of 2002.

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While at Harvard, Zuckerberg developed multiple software programs such as CourseMatch, which helped students choose their classes based on the course selections of other users, and Facemash, which compared the pictures of two students on campus and allowed users to vote on which one was more attractive. At Harvard, Zuckerberg was known as the go-to software developer on campus, with obvious reason.

While enrolled at Harvard and living in dorm rooms, Zuckerberg and three friends created Facebook. The site took off, leading Zuckerberg to drop out of college and move to Palo Alto, CA to work full time as the site took off. During 2004 and 2005, Zuckerberg received many offers to purchase Facebook from well-known companies such as Yahoo! and MTV Networks. He declined all offers because he wanted to focus on expanding the site by opening the project to outside developers and adding more features.

What Can Young Professionals Learn From Zuckerberg?

All this is to say, at 19 years old, Zuckerberg had made his name as a young professional. He was creative, willing to change, and not afraid to take his company to where he believed it needed to go. Zuckerberg was always taking risks and was constantly having to place himself as a leader in the industry. Most of all, he believed in Facebook and never gave up.

What would the social media industry look like if Zuckerberg had taken offers from Yahoo! or MTV? What if he had never dropped out of Harvard to pursue his business full time? What if he never discovered his talent for computer programming? All of these things came out the way they did because Zuckerberg took risks. As a young professional, it is important to do the unordinary and take risks.

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