The relatively private life of Facebook’s founder — or at least a fictionalized version of it — is about to get much more public.
A movie called “The Social Network,” based on the life of Facebook’s sweatshirt-wearing co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg, hits theaters on October 1.
Truly biographical or not, the film is sure to thrust the 26-year-old Zuckerberg further into the spotlight, making him a household name if he’s not already. His site, after all, is used by a half-billion people around the world.
We searched the Internet for info about Zuckerberg and created this list of six fun and little-known facts about the man behind Facebook. Much of it is pulled from a notable profile of Zuckerbergin The New Yorker, which has had the Internet buzzing since it published online earlier this month.
Take a look and let us know what you think. What choice details did we miss? You can leave us a note in the comments section.
The king of public is private in real life
Zuckerberg is a fan of saying that, with Facebook, he wants to make the world a more open and honest place — where people share details about themselves with the world. So it could be perceived as ironic — if not hypocritical — that Zuckerberg keeps some details private on his own Facebook page.
In a recent profile of Zuckerberg, Jose Antonio Vargas of The New Yorker writes that the CEO of the world’s largest online social network is rather shy and private.
“He doesn’t like to speak to the press, and he does so rarely,” Vargas writes. “He also doesn’t seem to enjoy the public appearances that are increasingly requested of him.”
The interests he lists on Facebook are bizarre
From Shakira to “ending desire,” the interests Zuckerberg lists on his private Facebook page are certainly unexpected if not plain bizarre.
Under interests, he lists the following: “Eliminating Desire, Minimalism, Making Things, Breaking Things, Information flow, Revolutions, Openness.”
His favorite musicians include Daft Punk and Lady Gaga.
Among his favorite TV shows, he lists “The West Wing,” which, as The New Yorker’s profile of Zuckerberg points out, was written by Aaron Sorkin, the man who wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie about Facebook.
He’s a classics buff with an “imperial tendency”
Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and graduated from high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. There, he studied Latin and became a fan of the classics. At Harvard University, which he attended for two years before dropping out to pursue Facebook, Zuckerberg “was known for reciting lines from epic poems such as “The Iliad,'” writes Jessica Vascellaro in The Wall Street Journal.
Zuckerberg also built games with classical themes.
“The first significant program Zuckerberg ever designed was a game based on the living room classic Risk,” Michael Grynbaum, then of the Harvard Crimson, wrote in 2004.
“It was centered around the ancient Roman Empire,” Zuckerberg told the college paper at the time. “You played against Julius Caesar. He was good, and I was never able to win.”
A friend told The New Yorker that Zuckerberg has an “imperial tendency.”
‘Zuck’ has at least a few nicknames
Friends and co-workers call him “Zuck.” For proof, check out this memo on Facebook’s blog, called “Working with Zuck,” in which Facebook software engineer Andrew Bosworth (or “Boz”) rattles off a bunch of notes about what it’s like to work with Zuckerberg. “Zuck expects debate … Zuck isn’t sentimental … Zuck pushes people,” and so-on, the blog post says.
But Zuckerberg has earned other nicknames, too. The Wall Street Journal says his mom used to call him “Princely” when he was young. When he joined the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at Harvard, his friends took to calling him “Slayer,” writes Rebecca Davis O’Brien, who attended Harvard with Zuckerberg and wrote a piece about him in The Daily Beast.
The reason Facebook is blue: Zuckerberg is colorblind
According to The New Yorker, Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, which means the color he can see best is blue. That also happens to be the color that dominates the Facebook website and mobile app.
“Blue is the richest color for me,” he told the magazine. “I can see all of blue.”
Money doesn’t matter much to Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg doesn’t seem to care that much about money. One big piece of evidence to support this idea: Zuckerberg hasn’t sold Facebook despite the fact that he’s reportedly been offered at least $1 billion for it.
Terry Semel, the former CEO of Yahoo! who reportedly offered Zuckerberg that sum, told the New Yorker that he’d never met a person who would turn down a $1 billion offer. “He [Zuckerberg] said, ‘It’s not about the price. This is my baby, and I want to keep running it, I want to keep growing it,'” Semel said, recalling his conversation with Zuckerberg in 2006. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The Harvard newspaper picked up on the same sentiment.
“That’s just like not something we’re really interested in,” he told the paper in 2004, referring to offers from companies wanting to buy Facebook. “I mean, yeah, we can make a bunch of money — that’s not the goal.”