Back in the site's early days, Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg "acted like he was captain of a pirate ship," handed out business cards that read, "I'm CEO...B**ch," and rarely got up before noon.
These are just a few of the revelations from David Kirkpatrick's new book on Facebook, The Facebook Effect: the Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World. (Read excerpts here and here.)
The information in Kirkpatrick's book is "solid gold," writes TechCrunch. Indeed, it's clear the author has gotten up close and personal with Facebook insiders, presenting juicy tidbits and strong personalities in his text.
Kirkpatrick details Facebook's early start in a four-bedroom house in Palo Alto.
Zuckerberg slept later than most -- he seldom got to work in the equipment-jammed dining room before afternoon. His typical garb in the office was pajama bottoms and a T-shirt. When the software code-writing got intense, he was a taskmaster. If someone got hungry and wanted to go out for fast food, recalls a frequent visitor, "Mark would, like, pound the table and just say, 'No! We're in lockdown! No one leaves the table until we're done with this thing." Zuckerberg was determined to keep this ship moving forward, and he was more than happy to be the captain.
Not infrequently, he acted like he was captain of a pirate ship. Among the few possessions he had brought to Silicon Valley with him were his fencing paraphernalia, which he left lying in a pile. Often he'd grab his foil and start swinging it through the air. "Okay, we've got to talk about this," he would declare, one hand held behind his back, lunging forward with this foil. Often the sword would get uncomfortably close to people's faces.
Kirkpatrick's intimate look at Zuckerberg, who, as CEO, has emerged as one of the company's most public figures, presents the former Harvard student as irreverent and unconventional.
As the Facebook boys started dealing increasingly with real business professionals, a reputation for rambunctiousness spread throughout the valley. "It's Lord of the Flies over there," one executive told an executive recruiter. Zuckerberg had to be careful which business card he handed out at meetings. He had two sets. One simply identified him as "CEO." The other: "I'm CEO...bitch!"
The Facebook Effect explains why Facebook wanted to remain independent and how it fended off acquisition offers.
One excerpt details Viacom exec Michael Wolf's attempts to woo Zuckerberg with flights in a company jet.
Later, Wolf visited Zuckerberg's apartment and "popped the same question he'd asked on the plane. "Why don't you just sell to us?" he asked. "You'd be very wealthy.""
Zuckerberg's response: "You just saw my apartment. [...] "I don't really need any money. And anyway, I don't think I'm ever going to have an idea this good again."
Check out the full excerpt here.