Before the billions: Video shows young, beer-swilling Zuckerberg

Some of us may have already heard the stories of the early days of Facebook: the startup culture, a laid-back office atmosphere, and a CEO who rarely appeared in the office before 11 a.m. A look into those early days is again surfacing, showing a rare glimpse of the beginnings of a social media behemoth.

The video now trending on social media is part of a larger documentary released in 2008 titled Now Entering: A Millennial Generation. In it, filmmakers Ray Hafner and Derek Franzese interview a young Mark Zuckerberg on what Facebook is and his plans for the future.

The interview occurred in 2005, just shortly after what was then known as “The Facebook” hit 3 million users. Zuckerberg would have been 21 here, and like many other 21-year-olds, he’s dressed in a T-shirt and gym shorts and sipping beer out of a red Solo cup.

It’s almost surreal to hear how Zuckerberg refers to Facebook compared with what it has become. Gone are the plans for drones, artificial intelligence, or overly targeted advertising. Instead, he sees the site as an “online directory for colleges,” and a way to get information on somebody and see who they know.

At that time, Zuckerberg didn’t see it going much further than that. “I just really want to see everyone focus on college and make a really cool college directory product,” he muses. “There doesn’t necessarily have to be more.”

Oh, how that has changed.

Besides the interview itself, there are also moments that some of the now-much-older executives might want to take back. There’s video of a keg in the middle of the office, and at one point someone who appears to be Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz does a keg stand.

Also notable is Zuckerberg’s attitude itself. Gone is the sometimes arrogant demeanor, replaced with a more subdued — and likely buzzed — college kid. It’s also interesting to watch the party happen around him while Zuckerberg calmly waxes poetic on his then-newly created startup.

It’s worth a watch, if only to see how far Facebook has come since the early days.


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