An Indian, who dreamed it big , who abandoned his parents for his dream in his mid teenage, has failed to materialise his dream. A document of his success and failures. This blog exposes human aspirations and feasibilities. Rights and wrongs. a story of an uneducated boy and his desperate attempt to be a learned man and a Just Man. This blog ( informative and educational) also includes other important events during his life time.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Person of the year : Mark Zuckerberg.
For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them; for creating a new system of exchanging information; and for changing how we all live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year.
On the afternoon of Nov. 16, 2010, Mark Zuckerberg was leading a meeting in the Aquarium, one of Facebook's conference rooms, so named because it's in the middle of a huge work space and has glass walls on three sides so everybody can see in. Conference rooms are a big deal at Facebook because they're the only places anybody has any privacy at all, even the bare minimum of privacy the Aquarium gets you. Otherwise the space is open plan: no cubicles, no offices, no walls, just a rolling tundra of office furniture. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's COO, who used to be Lawrence Summers' chief of staff at the Treasury Department, doesn't have an office. Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and co-founder and presiding visionary, doesn't have an office.
The team was going over the launch of Facebook's revamped Messages service, which had happened the day before and gone off without a hitch or rather without more than the usual number of hitches. Zuckerberg kept the meeting on track, pushing briskly through his points — no notes or whiteboard, just talking with his hands — but the tone was relaxed. Much has been made of Zuckerberg's legendarily awkward social manner, but in a room like this, he's the Silicon Valley equivalent of George Plimpton. He bantered with Andrew "Boz" Bosworth, a director of engineering who ran the project. (Boz was Zuckerberg's instructor in a course on artificial intelligence when they were at Harvard. He says his future boss didn't do very well. Though, in fairness, Zuckerberg did invent Facebook that semester.) Apart from a journalist sitting in the corner, no one in the room looked over 30, and apart from the journalist's public relations escort, it was boys only. (See pictures inside Mark Zuckerberg's inner circle.)
The door opened, and a distinguished-looking gray-haired man burst in — it's the only way to describe his entrance — trailed by a couple of deputies. He was both the oldest person in the room by 20 years and the only one wearing a suit. He was in the building, he explained with the delighted air of a man about to secure ironclad bragging rights forever, and he just had to stop in and introduce himself to Zuckerberg: Robert Mueller, director of the FBI, pleased to meet you.
They shook hands and chatted about nothing for a couple of minutes, and then Mueller left. There was a giddy silence while everybody just looked at one another as if to say, What the hell just happened?
It's a fair question. Almost seven years ago, in February 2004, when Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, he started a Web service from his dorm. It was called Thefacebook.com, and it was billed as "an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges." This year, Facebook — now minus the the — added its 550 millionth member. One out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account. They speak 75 languages and collectively lavish more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. Last month the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day. (See a Zuckerberg family photo album.)
What just happened? In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over.
Facebook has merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life: nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook account, but 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. It's a permanent fact of our global social reality. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here. (See pictures of Facebook's overseas offices.)
Zuckerberg is part of the last generation of human beings who will remember life before the Internet, though only just. He was born in 1984 and grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., the son of a dentist — Painless Dr. Z's slogan was, and is, "We cater to cowards." Mark has three sisters, the eldest of whom, Randi, is now Facebook's head of consumer marketing and social-good initiatives. It was a supportive household that produced confident children. The young Mark was "strong-willed and relentless," according to his father Ed. "For some kids, their questions could be answered with a simple yes or no," he says. "For Mark, if he asked for something, yes by itself would work, but no required much more. If you were going to say no to him, you had better be prepared with a strong argument backed by facts, experiences, logic, reasons. We envisioned him becoming a lawyer one day, with a near 100% success rate of convincing juries."
"On or about December 1910, human character changed." — Virginia Woolf, 1924
She was exaggerating — but only a little. Woolf saw a fundamental shift in human relations taking place at the beginning of the 20th century "between masters and servants, husbands and wives, parents and children." Those changes, she predicted, would bring about transformations in every sphere of life, from religion to politics to human behavior. Few would say she got it wrong.
A century later, we are living through another transition. The way we connect with one another and with the institutions in our lives is evolving. There is an erosion of trust in authority, a decentralizing of power and at the same time, perhaps, a greater faith in one another. Our sense of identity is more variable, while our sense of privacy is expanding. What was once considered intimate is now shared among millions with a keystroke.
More than anyone else on the world stage, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is at the center of these changes. Born in 1984, the same year the Macintosh computer was launched, he is both a product of his generation and an architect of it. The social-networking platform he invented is closing in on 600 million users. In a single day, about a billion new pieces of content are posted on Facebook. It is the connective tissue for nearly a tenth of the planet. Facebook is now the third largest country on earth and surely has more information about its citizens than any government does. Zuckerberg, a Harvard dropout, is its T-shirt-wearing head of state. (See portraits of TIME's 2010 Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerberg.)
Evolutionary biologists suggest there is a correlation between the size of the cerebral neocortex and the number of social relationships a primate species can have. Humans have the largest neocortex and the widest social circle — about 150, according to the scientist Robin Dunbar. Dunbar's number — 150 — also happens to mirror the average number of friends people have on Facebook. Because of airplanes and telephones and now social media, human beings touch the lives of vastly more people than did our ancestors, who might have encountered only 150 people in their lifetime. Now the possibility of connection is accelerating at an extraordinary pace. As the great biologist E.O. Wilson says, "We're in uncharted territory."
All social media involve a mixture of narcissism and voyeurism. Most of us display a combination of the two, which is why social media are flourishing faster and penetrating deeper than any other social development in memory. Social media play into the parts of human character that don't change, even while changing the nature of what once seemed immutable. (See pictures of Facebook's overseas offices.)
Like two of our runners-up this year, Julian Assange and the Tea Party, Mark Zuckerberg doesn't have a whole lot of veneration for traditional authority. In a sense, Zuckerberg and Assange are two sides of the same coin. Both express a desire for openness and transparency. While Assange attacks big institutions and governments through involuntary transparency with the goal of disempowering them, Zuckerberg enables individuals to voluntarily share information with the idea of empowering them. Assange sees the world as filled with real and imagined enemies; Zuckerberg sees the world as filled with potential friends. Both have a certain disdain for privacy: in Assange's case because he feels it allows malevolence to flourish; in Zuckerberg's case because he sees it as a cultural anachronism, an impediment to a more efficient and open connection between people.
At 26, Zuckerberg is a year older than our first Person of the Year, Charles Lindbergh — another young man who used technology to bridge continents. He is the same age as Queen Elizabeth when she was Person of the Year, for 1952. But unlike the Queen, he did not inherit an empire; he created one. (The Queen, by the way, launched a Facebook page this year.) Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is a recognition of the power of individuals to shape our world. For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them (something that has never been done before); for creating a new system of exchanging information that has become both indispensable and sometimes a little scary; and finally, for changing how we all live our lives in ways that are innovative and even optimistic, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME's 2010 Person of the Year.