Before It Was Mature Facebook, Infant Facebook Was 'Wild'

'Wired' takes a closer look at Zuckerberg and his team during the social media giant's early days
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2018 5:53 PM CDT
Facebook's Early Years: Beer, Balls, and 'Brogrammer 'Tude'
Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to meet France's President Emmanuel Macron after the Tech for Good Summit at the Elysee Palace in Paris on May 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

It's true that Mark Zuckerberg jump-started Facebook in the spring of 2004 while attending Harvard, but it was in the infant firm's new home in Silicon Valley just a few months later where endless hours of frenetic coding, partying, and a "brogrammer 'tude" started to transform the company into the social media giant it is today. Drawing from his own as well as past interviews of those players—including Zuckerberg, Sean Parker (the co-founder of Napster and Facebook's first president), and various other staffers—Adam Fisher dives deep for Wired into the social media giant's "wild" early days. It was then, during Facebook's infancy, when a "very, very loose" company culture ruled the roost: Zuckerberg's first business card read "I'm CEO … bitch," and you'd be just as likely to catch a couple of the early innovators in a game of beer pong as you would behind their laptops.

Fisher details Parker's transformation into an "alpha male"—he got a tan and a fancy suit and started raising money for the company—while Zuckerberg kept shuffling around in flip-flops, talking up his new platform to "mesmerized" parties. The company's first office featured explicit murals (one early staffer described some as "a little bit hostile"), video games, and a stocked bar, while workers often showed up to work in PJs and devoured food from what Max Kelly, the company's first cybersecurity officer, says was a "mentally unbalanced" caterer. "There were worms in the fish one time. It was all terrible," he notes. Still, things started to gel in this all-nighter environment; by 2006, Facebook's famous News Feed was developed, and the founders turned down a $1.2 billion buyout offer from Yahoo. "We were like, 'F-- those guys, we are going to own them!'" Kelly says. Zuckerberg had just one word to describe things by then: "Domination!" More on those early heady times here. (More Longform stories.)

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