The name is Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg. The phenomenon and mania that surrounds this man is incredible. With legions of loyal followers from investors to tech geeks, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg is now worthy of going down in history as one of the most influential people ever. Or even better, becoming immortalized in a board game trivia quiz question like “Who is the founder of Facebook?” With a number of impressive stats and titles such as Time Person of the Year 2010 for “Connecting more than half a billion people” and named by Forbes as number 40 on the most powerful list and number 212 on the world billionaires list, at 26 years old, makes him the youngest richest person in the world with an estimated wealth of US$6.9B (at September 2010).
But all this noise about him rarely answers the inquisitive question of what he is really like as a person. Late last year, Oprah took a sneak peek into Mark’s private life, showing his modest rented house in Palo Alto, San Francisco. But none of us are Oprah and don’t have the same access to someone like Mark. Yet on his recent trip in December to visit China’s internet titans such as Baidu and Sina, my friend Yuancheng (Co-Founder of LBS Jiepang.com) had a chance encounter with the man himself. Like an excited little school boy meeting his idol for the first time, here’s what Yuancheng had to say…
“We both arrived early for our planned morning meetings with people in the same office building, were waiting in the lobby’s Cafe.”
Here’s how the dialogue went.
YC: “Hi, Mark! I’m a huge fan of yours, as well as Facebook’s.”
He was surprised that people recognized him… but then he smiled at me.
YC: “Can I take a photo with you?”
His girlfriend, Priscilla took the photo for us.
YC: “Thanks! I’m also doing an Internet start-up here in China.”
MZ: “Really? That’s cool! What’s it?”
YC: “We are creating Jiepang.com, a LBS.”
YC: “Location based service”
MZ: “Oh, location! Cool! Cool!”
YC: “We launched in May 2010, and now have nearly half million users.”
MZ: “That’s cool!!”
“Then I gave my name card to him and said thanks and good bye. I really feel like he is just an ordinary young person. Much more ordinary than I thought he would be! Mark uses the same iPhone as me, wears the same kind of hoodie and sneakers as me and also drinks the same priced coffee that I did! See? We are both ordinary young people. What Facebook and Mark has done, I believe Jiepang and I can also achieve!”
So there you go, for all of us hopeful, young entrepreneurs who want to create and build great companies there is hope. Mark Zuckerberg is after all, human.