Mark Zuckerberg is one of the most recognizable CEOS in the world, and what he has achieved at 32 years old is pretty staggering.
Even though more than a billion users flock to Facebook every month and he has donated billions of dollars to medical research through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, it’s important to remember that he’s still a human being with weird quirks, just like everyone else. Read on for some unexpected facts about the Facebook founder.
1. He nearly worked for Microsoft.
When he was a senior in high school he co-created an app called Synapse Media Player, an MP3 player that kept track of the user’s favorite songs and made playlists based on their choices, essentially an early Spotify or Pandora.
Microsoft sought to acquire the company and its founders, but instead of working for the Seattle tech giant, Zuckerberg and co-creator Adam D’Angelo — who went on to found Quora — got a patent for the tech and went to college instead.
2. He was inventing in middle school.
When Zuckerberg was 12, he created an instant messaging program that he called ZuckNet so his dentist father could know when patients arrived.
3. He has unexpected pop culture tastes.
One of his favorite books is The Aeneid, and one of his favorite TV shows is The West Wing, which was created by Aaron Sorkin, the man who also wrote the movie based on the creation of Facebook, The Social Network.
4. He’s known for being frugal.
Even though today he has a beautifully appointed home that is powered by an AI butler with Morgan Freeman’s voice, in an interview with The New Yorker in 2010, he said that he found all of his apartments on Craigslist.
5. His eyesight is the reason behind Facebook’s color scheme.
Facebook’s logo is blue because Zuckerberg has red-green color blindness.
6. He wasn’t always a high-level coder.
He first learned to code from a C++ for Dummies book.
7. He’s multilingual.
He’s always been interested in ancient languages such as Latin, and he can speak Mandarin.
8. He turned down many offers to sell Facebook.
Many big name companies wanted to see if he wanted to sell — NewsCorp, MySpace, Viacom, Yahoo, NBC, Microsoft (again) and Google all put their hats in the ring — but Zuckerberg held firm.
9. He and his wife’s first meeting was a little inauspicious.
While Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan are now parents and major philanthropists, they met for the first time in line for the bathroom at a fraternity party at Harvard.
Related: A Reminder From Mark Zuckerberg: ‘Put People First’
10. He’s an admirer of Steve Jobs.
The late Apple founder’s bold leadership style apparently inspired the message he put on his first business cards: “I’m CEO, bitch.”
11. He’s on Twitter.
But he’s unsurprisingly not very active on it. He’s tweeted 19 times since 2009.
12. He can laugh at himself.
Zuckerberg is known for being somewhat awkward, but he wrote an appreciative post about Andy Samberg’s impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live.
13. He’s a fitness buff.
For 2016, Zuckerberg set a goal to run 365 miles during the course of the year. He met his goal midway through the summer.
14. He looks up to Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.
He has Einstein’s quote, “Make things as simple as possible but no simpler,” and Picasso’s insight that, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up,” as his favorites on Facebook.
15. His dog is a celebrity too
Beast, Zuckerberg’s Hungarian sheepdog, has his own Facebook fan page that has more than 2 million likes. His daughter’s a fan too — he posted that Max’s first word was dog.
16. A dozen people held him manage his Facebook page.
Zuckerberg reportedly has a team of 12 people that tend to his Facebook account to monitor the comments, write his posts and take the photographs that end up on his page.
17. He’s very protective of his privacy.
Zuckerberg has made some considerable and litigious moves to ensure his privacy. He bought a $100 million plot of land in Hawaii in 2014, and is recently decided not to sue the people who own pieces of the property through generational ties. He also tried to tear down four houses in and around his home in Palo Alto, Calif.
18. He’s buddies with Vin Diesel.
In an interview with The New York Times, the action star shared what the unlikely duo’s relationship is like. “We were hanging out up at Facebook about two years ago, and I was excited about Fast 7. He said, ‘You know what movie I’d most like to see is the return of Xander Cage.’ It’s at a point where if Mark and I are together and if I quote a line from a character I played and I do it slightly wrong, he’ll correct me. It’s embarrassing!”
19. He seems taller than he really is in photos.
Turns out, Zuckerberg is only around five feet and seven or eight inches, however he seems much taller in photos. And that’s because he apparently has some positioning tricks. A 2010 New Yorker profile reads, “He’s only around five feet eight, but he seems taller, because he stands with his chest out and his back straight, as if held up by a string.”
And according to Wired writer Graham Starr (and tested by Nick Douglas at Life Hacker), Zuckerberg has some photo tricks that help him look taller. One of his biggest tricks is standing closer to the camera or holding himself higher as others lean in closer.
20. His signature T-shirt costs $300 to $400.
Any day of the week, you can catch Zuckerberg in a grey T-shirt, a hoodie, a pair of jeans and some Nike sneakers. There’s a reason he wears the same thing every day. In a 2014 Q&A, when asked about his simple wardrobe, Zuckerberg said, “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.”
Turns out, Zuck’s iconic grey T-shirt, made by Italian designer Brunello Cucinelli, costs a whopping $300 to $400. However, retailer Vresh Clothing studied the color, material and length of the shirt to create an affordable replica for those who want to copy the CEO’s style.
21. He can’t be blocked on Facebook.
As it turns out, you can only unfollow the mind behind the platform. Apparently blocking Zuckerberg or Priscilla Chan isn’t an option for users. If you attempt to block them, an error message will appear that reads, “this profile can’t be blocked for now.” As for the reason, a Facebook spokesperson told Quartz that “people trying to block a profile or Page may see an error message if it has been blocked many times within a short period.”
22. He has a substantial budget for security.
It costs millions of dollars to keep Zuckerberg safe in 2017 — $7.3 million to be exact. The figure was in a regulatory filing Facebook submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which noted that funds for his security plan — including trips made on a private airplane — made up 83 percent of his compensation package in 2017. The company spent $4.9 million on Zuckerberg’s security detail in 2016.
23. He doesn’t ride in style.
Zuckerberg has fairly inexpensive taste when it comes to cars, reportedly driving a $30,000 Acura TSX and a Volkswagen Golf GTI.