Before he became the sixth-richest person in the world and Silicon Valley’s own Gwyneth, Mark Zuckerberg was just another postcollegiate guy. In gym shorts. With a beer. In a recently unearthed video from 2005, Zuck explains “The Facebook” to a possibly even younger interviewer who looks fresh from hawking henleys at the Palo Alto A&F. “For the unititiated, or those without a computer,” per our narrator, Zuckerberg rattles off some of The Facebook’s important features: “I think the Facebook is an online directory for colleges, and it’s kind of interactive,” he says, holding a red solo cup. (“Should I put the beer down?” he asked at the start of the interview. Nah, brah!)
The video reveals a still-partly-grown Zuck, one who hasn’t yet formed into the philanthropic money cannon or aspirational lifestyle guru we now know—let alone committed to a single hue of T-shirt. Sometime between the making of this video and Facebook’s loss of that clunky “The,” the young CEO hammered the vaguely nasal, bro-y vowels (browels?) and occasional vocal fry out of his speaking manner.
As unrefined and frankly juvenile as Zuckerberg sounds in this video, it’s abundantly clear (in hindsight!) that here we have a person who sees a chance to define and own a niche that the rest of the world is failing to quite see the point of yet. When the interviewer asks what’s next for The Facebook, Zuck gives what sounds like a shrug but what any VC can see is a commitment to dominate a market:
“There doesn’t necessarily have to be more. A lot of people are focused on, like, taking over the world or doing, like, the biggest thing, getting the most users. I think, like, part of making a difference and doing something cool is focusing intensely. There was a level of service we could provide when we were just at Harvard? that we can’t provide for all the colleges. And there’s a level of service we could provide when we were a college network that we wouldn’t be able to provide if we went to other types of things. So, I mean, I really just want to see everyone focus on college and create, like, a really cool college directory product that is just, like, very relevant for students and has a lot of, like, information people care about when they’re in college.”
Said like a future power broker or…also like someone who is trying to talk while a guy is doing a kegstand right there.