Read the IM in Which Mark Zuckerberg Decides to Found Facebook

Read the IM in Which Mark Zuckerberg Decides to Found Facebook

If you're anything like us, you've spent most of your adult life instant messaging: from MSN, to AIM, to GChat, to texts. And not every message is a stroke of genius—or is it?

We're certainly reconsidering all our IMs after reading the one in which a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg decided to found Facebook ... which could be valued as high as $100 billion and is filing for an IPO Wednesday that could rake in $5 billion to $10 billion.

The messages were released as part of the lawsuits Facebook has faced in the recent past, and Business Insider, in an exclusive, published some of them. Read on for the real origin story behind the site that now consumes seven to eight hours of the average person's time per month.

The Truth Is in the IMs

In the messages, Zuckerberg is exploring the idea of striking out on his own with high school friend (and future Facebook CTO and Quora co-founder) Adam D'Angelo, but also considering how to handle a dating site he has been commissioned to create. We've culled some of the more notable excerpts:

A Hint of What's to Come

Zuckerberg: I also hate the fact that I'm doing it [the dating site] for other people haha. Like I hate working under other people. I feel like the right thing to do is finish the facebook and wait until the last day before I'm supposed to have their thing ready and then be like "look yours isn't as good as this so if you want to join mine you can …otherwise I can help you with yours later."
It's the first intimations of Zuckerberg as an independent founder and boy wonder ... and of some interesting ethics.

Whose Brainchild Was It?

Zuckerberg: I think the Facebook thing by itself would draw many people, unless it were released at the same time as the dating thing.
Zuckerberg
: In which case both things would cancel each other out and nothing would win. Any ideas? Like is there a good way to consolidate the two.
D'Angelo
: We could make it into a whole network like a friendster. haha. Stanford has something like that internally
Zuckerberg: Well I was thinking of doing that for the facebook ...
Note who first suggested turning Facebook into a social network.

A Missed Opportunity

In a separate IM with another person, discussing who should foot the legal bills if Facebook were ever sued:
Confidant
: Well you should recover the shares you need to recover legal fees.
Zuckerberg: I won't pay the legal fees
Zuckerberg: The company that buys us will haha
...
Confidant: So you have gotten responses to your national recognition?
Zuckerberg: Responses from whom?
Zuckerberg: Some more VCs. Still talking to Google and Friendster
Business Insider makes a good point: If Google was looking at buying Facebook, they missed a major opportunity to own it for probably $10 million—an awful lot less than its $100 billion IPO.

A Pseudo-Revelation

Zuckerberg: The thing is they have a programmer who could finish their thing and they have money to pour into advertising and stuff. Oh wait I have money too. My friend who wants to sponsor this is head of the investment society. Apparently insider trading isn't illegal in Brazil so he's rich lol.
Apparently, insider trading isn't illegal in Brazil. 

Remember to save your own IMs ... they might be needed for your biography (or lawsuit!).

The full transcript of the two conversations is available at Business Insider.

Image Credit:  Flickr/Sean MacEntee

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