As part of its 25th-anniversary celebration, CNBC compiled the “CNBC First 25: Rebels, Icons & Leaders” list of the 25 people “who have had the greatest influence, sparked the biggest changes, and created the most disruption in business over the past quarter century.” A familiar name appeared at No. 8: Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
CNBC said in its profile of Zuckerberg:
Mark Zuckerberg makes our anniversary list of the 25 most transformative leaders, icons, and rebels of the past quarter-century by epitomizing both the social media revolution and the new generation of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Like Bill Gates three decades earlier, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University after two years to start his own company. Whereas Gates had moved to Albuquerque, N.M., Zuckerberg took his fledgling company to Palo Alto, Calif., securing $500,000 in funding from PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel in return for a 10 percent stake.
Zuckerberg took Facebook public in 2012, raising $16 billion in the biggest tech initial public offering ever — despite first-day trading glitches — and valuing the company at $104 billion. His challenge is continuing to grow and innovate. More than half of the world’s Internet-connected population use Facebook, and the law of big numbers stares it down.
In response, Zuckerberg has been making Facebook an applications platform, with his $1 billion acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram in 2012 an example of that strategy. Facebook is also going full bore for mobile. Last year, Zuckerberg formed Internet.org, an alliance of tech companies to deliver digital services over cheap phones to users in developing countries. He also must stay relevant to the new generation of digital natives so that Facebook, now 10, doesn’t get a reputation of being the social network for old people.
One-hour special “Rebels, Icons & Leaders: The CNBC First 25,” hosted by Tyler Mathisen, is set to air on CNBC Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.
Readers: Are you surprised that Zuckerberg was included in “CNBC First 25: Rebels, Icons & Leaders?”