Mark Zuckerberg Before Facebook

Updated on 18 August 2017

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Business Ideas Mark Zuckerberg Had Before Facebook - And Why They Matter

Entrepreneurs are often tempted to give up when their first business venture isn’t an immediate success, but good news – it’s OK not to get it right on your first try.

Nobody proves this better than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Before his Facebook success, Zuckerberg was already an experienced entrepreneur. He spent his childhood developing various business ideas, and continued to do so as a student at Harvard University in the US.

In 2004 he launched what is today the world’s biggest social media platform with over two billion monthly users. He became a millionaire in 2006 at 22 and is today one of the youngest billionaires in the world.

Zuckerberg’s trajectory is an example of how even the most successful entrepreneurs have to take practice shots before hitting the big time.

“If you’re a successful entrepreneur, chances are, this isn’t your first rodeo,” says Neil Patel, an American entrepreneur who founded behavioural analytics and engagement platform, KISSmetrics.

“An entrepreneur who succeeds at his or her first venture is like getting a hole-in-one. Everyone wants a hole-in-one. Everyone tries to get a hole-in-one. But very few people actually do.”

Zuckerberg was just like you before his big break. Here are 4 ventures that eventually led him to Facebook. 


Zuckerberg came up with the idea for an ‘at home intranet’ system as a pre-teen. The concept allowed family members to send messages to each other’s computers while at home – basically an internal instant chat system.

Where Is It Now? – In an interview with The Daily Dot, Zuckerberg says his first attempt at a business venture didn’t last long, but that his first creation inspired a number of very early ideas for social networking.


In high school, Zuckerberg together with friend, Adam D’Angelo, developed a music player app that could learn a user’s listening habits and then recommend music based on their interests.

Where Is It Now?  Microsoft in 2002 attempted to buy the app from Zuckerberg and to recruit him. Zuckerberg however, declined the offer. He made the app available to the public for free, and went on to study at Harvard University, according to a Telegraph report.


Zuckerberg launched this website while still a student at Harvard University in 2003, according to a Business Insider report. The website informed students of who had already signed up for classes they were interested in taking.

Where Is It Now? – CourseMatch, together with other projects Zuckerberg worked on at the time, formed the basis for what would become Facebook. In the same Business Insider interview he says “So there were all these different projects, I probably did like 10 different things like this when I was at Harvard. I thought I should put some of this stuff together to create a tool where people can share whatever they want with the people around them. And that was how the first version of Facebook came.”


The website FacesMash featured pictures of Harvard University’s female students and asked users to rank them according to attractiveness. The website made a cameo in the movie, The Social Network, about the story behind Facebook’s conception.

Where Is It Now? – According to a Forbes article,’s domain name went up for sale in 2010 and was sold to a mystery buyer for $30 000 in the same year.

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