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10 Dumb Moves That Should Have Cost Mark Zuckerberg His $25 Billion Fortune

By on February 11, 2012

NOT *THAT* DUMB: One time Zuckerberg stopped at the wrong gas station

What happened: A man attempted to rob Zuckerberg at gun point at a gas station. Zuckerberg jumped in his SUV and drove away without a scratch.

What could have happened: The unthinkable.

CATASTROPHICALLY DUMB: Zuckerberg hacked into the Crimson and read private emails.

What happened: When the Harvard Crimson re-opened its investigation into the Winklevosses’ claims that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook, an enraged Zuckerberg hacked into the Crimson email database and read what reporters were telling each other about the story.

He downloaded some of them and sent them to friends.

What could have happened: Harvard has an honor code. One of Zuckerberg’s friends might have reported him, and he could have gotten kicked out of school, seriously damaging his reputation and Facebook’s ability to survive its first few months.

DUMB: Zuckerberg’s first investor was Harvard classmate Eduardo Saverin, who was lazy and not a good worker

What happened: Back in 2003, Zuckerberg realized he needed money to pay for servers for some of the Web projects he was working on while a student at Harvard.

He had a rich friend named Eduardo, and he asked him to help.

Eduardo wanted real responsibility, and Zuckerberg gave it to him. Big mistake. During the summer when Facebook really took off,

Eduardo was back in New York partying. He even used Facebook ad space to advertise his own startup. Zuckerberg ended up diluting his shares in an effort to push him out of the company. Eventually Saverin sued and got a big $5 billion settlement.

What could have happened: Pushing Saverin out of the company like that could have resulted in a disastrous lawsuit that Zuckerberg – who borrowed $85,000 from his parents to keep Facebook running that summer – could not have afforded. Zuckerberg got lucky that Saverin wasn’t paying attention.

JUST NOT SMART: In college, Zuckerberg trashed users in a message to a buddy
What happened: When he was 19, Zuckerberg told a friend in an instant message that users were “dumb f—s” because they were sharing private information about themselves with him. The IMs only surfaced years later, when Facebook already had too much momentum.

What could have happened: Harvard has an honor code. The IMs could have leaked much earlier and scared non-college students away from joining a site that already made them feel weird about sharing so much information online.

OH BOY, THAT’S DUMB: Zuckerberg wanted to give up on Facebook and do a new startup

What happened: During Facebook’s first year – even as the site had a million users – Zuckerberg only wanted to use it to help him launch a second company, a file-sharing startup called Wirehog.
Sean Parker eventually convinced him this was a terrible idea.

What could have happened: Zuckerberg might have sold Facebook to Google or Friendster and become the millionaire founder of a failed startup called Wirehog.

PROBABLY DUMB: Zuckerberg hired the wrong executives

What happened: Zuckerberg hired a bunch of startup veterans, including former Amazon exec Owen Van Natta, who really (and justifiably) wanted to sell Facebook for a couple hundred million, or maybe even a billion dollars.
Zuckerberg eventually fired them all and hired Sheryl Sandberg, who has been more patient.

What could have happened: Zuckerberg, then in his early 20s, could have gotten into an ugly fight with executives many years his senior, and the board might have taken their side and pushed him out, just like Apple’s board pushed out Steve Jobs.

WHAT A LUCKY S-O-B, DUMB: Zuckerberg agreed to sell Facebook to Yahoo

What happened: Zuckerberg actually agreed to sell Facebook to Yahoo for $1.1 billion.Yahoo CEO Terry Semel, who had been in favor of the deal, backed out at the last minute because of poor quarterly results.

What could have happened: Semel, who was willing to pay $1 billion, could have ponied-up, and Facebook would share the fate of Flickr or Geocities – a Yahoo acquisition that has either stagnated or been shut down.


WHAT WAS HE THINKING, DUMB: Zuckerberg didn’t want to let users upload and share photos

What happened:  Zuckerberg didn’t want Facebook to be a photo-sharing site.Sean Parker eventually persuaded him. Engagement shot through the roof.

What could have happened: Facebook would probably have remained a nice, popular site for college students, but it wouldn’t be the worldwide phenomenon it is now.

DUMB LUCK: Zuckerberg offered the Winklevosses half of the company

What happened: After Facebook launched, the Winklevosses freaked out and had their lawyer reach out to Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg’s lawyer responded, and asked the twins and their cofounder, Divvya Narendra, if they wanted to take 50% of Facebook and put the issue to rest.

The twins, who were really angry and thought they had a bullet-proof case, said no.

What could have happened: Zuckerberg probably would have lost interest in working so dependently on someone else, especially the Winklevosses. He would have moved on to another project, like he wanted to do anyway.



  1. Zuckerberg

    February 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm


  2. Hanacho

    February 12, 2012 at 5:28 am

    Nigerians please READ the NNPC Policy.
    And TELL me why the crops of thieves starting from the GROUP managing Directors are STILL in office.
    Established by the NNPC Act No. 33 of 1st April, 1977
    MandateManagement of All Government in the Nigerian oil IndustryCoordinating the development of Nigerians first gas master plan (GMP)Ensures efficient and effective operations in both downstream and upstream operations in the oil and gas sectorCo-ordinates the activities of its subsidiaries for effective service delivery.
    Madam Minister,
    (1) Please ASK yourself, Have these managers respected there VALUES .
    (2) With the huge fraud within the NNPC and its agents, the managers, starting from GROUP Managing directors have failed Woefully, defrauding the NATION and bastardising with huge abuse the oil sector which ought to keep every Nigerian happy.
    (3) No body is above the law , these guys have committed crimes, relocating them within NNPC is Nothing More like a MOCKERY to Nigerians .
    MADAM Minister IT’S A BIG SHAME, you cannot take action on the thieves .