Zuckerburg at Harvard to recruit
08 November 2011, 15:09
Cambridge - Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard University as a
dropout with a novel idea. He returned on Monday with a triumphant
message: He's hiring.
The 27-year-old CEO received a rock-star
welcome during his first official visit since he left for California's
Silicon Valley in 2004. He made his recruitment pitch to 250 students at
Harvard after a similar meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of
"We're just getting started," he told reporters and a
few hundred students who gathered at the Harvard campus to catch a
glimpse of the internet pioneer.
"The next five or 10 years are going to be about all the different products and industries that can be rethought."
many students turned out to see the billionaire outside a university
library that campus officials had to set up temporary barriers to
separate him from his audience.
Aaron Perez, an 18-year-old freshman from New
York, said Zuckerberg's creation was one of the reasons he chose to
study computer science. He said he's encouraged to hear that companies
are hiring computer programmers in today's struggling economy.
an empowering story, especially these days," said Perez, who risked
being tardy to rowing practice to see Zuckerberg. "It makes it seem like
I've got a chance."
Harvard computing officials were working on
their own university wide online directory when Zuckerberg created
Facebook as a campus-only social network. The then-sophomore told the
campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, it was silly that the university
needed years to create the site.
"I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week," he said.
An earlier Zuckerberg creation, Facemash, almost led to his expulsion after he hacked university computers for student photos.
there were no hurt feelings on Monday, as university officials and
faculty welcomed Zuckerberg back to campus for the official visit.
Zuckerberg has returned to Harvard before on informal recruiting trips.
are relatively few tech rock stars whose names are known by people all
over the world," said Harvard computer science professor David Malan,
who cited Microsoft's Bill Gates and Apple's Steve Jobs as two other
examples. "He really is in that category."
Zuckerberg said his company has plans to expand and needs talented workers to do it.
a lot of really smart people here and a lot of them are making
decisions about where they're going to work," he said of his decision to
recruit in Cambridge.
The Boston area's status as a centre for
technological innovation has improved in the last several years, local
entrepreneur Dharmesh Shah said. Shah is chief technology officer and
co-founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company, and also runs a
blog devoted to technology start-ups.
Shah created HubSpot while
an MIT student and said he considered basing his new company in San
Francisco but wanted to stay close to MIT and the area's growing talent
"There's a vibrant ecosystem here," he said. "There's
always been this stereotype that start-ups on the East Coast won't take
as much risk as the start-ups you see on the West Coast, and that held
us back. But it's changing. I've never seen it as vibrant as it is right
News that Zuckerberg was on campus spread by word of
mouth, Twitter and, of course, Facebook. Students held their smartphones
aloft to snap photos as he walked through the campus.
student Madeline Halimi of New York, said Zuckerberg's story is
encouraging, but also a little daunting. The freshman student is still
deciding her field of concentration.
"What's really weird is
wondering whether the person next to you will be the next person to
invent something that changes the world," Halimi said.