Surprise! Mark Zuckerberg Isn't a Workaholic. Well, Not Exactly.
Even the most famous introverts open up sometimes. Mark Zuckerberg cautiously did again last night in a lively impromptu Reddit-style AMA session on his Facebook page. During the hour-long Q&A, the billionare Facebook co-founder and CEO divulged his surprisingly normal work hours, waxed about the “pretty wild” future of virtual reality and reaffirmed his support for net neutrality.
"We've held a few Townhall Q&As over the past few months," Zuckerberg wrote, "and I thought doing a Q&A right here on Facebook would be valuable so more people can participate." Makes sense.
The 30-year-old tech wunderkind, who -- fun fact -- was courted by AOL and Microsoft when he was still in high school, even fielded an inquiry from Sir Richard Branson during the text-based heart-to-heart. The billionaire Brit (we can’t help but wonder if Branson was a plant) asked what Zuck thinks is the “biggest benefit” of connecting the two-thirds of the world that still doesn’t have access to the Internet. Zuckerberg quickly responded with a short list of advantages: “access to education, health information, jobs and so on.” Hmm, not to mention gobs of additional revenue.
All told, Zuckerberg answered only 15 questions, including one from Colombian pop icon Shakira. He also acquiesced to a request to share a pic of his Hungarian sheepdog, Beast, and briefly kidded around about adding a sarcasm button to Facebook (or not). (“Sure, we’ll get right on that,” he said, followed by a smiley face emoji.)
Here are four of our favorite highlights from the latest interactive not-so-tell-all with the world’s 14th richest person:
1. Surprise! He works 50 to 60 hours a week, just like the rest of us.
Zuckerberg didn’t amass an estimated net worth of $36.7 billion by working around the clock, like so many successful tech startup workhorses do. Turns out, he’s a regular 9-to-5 working stiff like the rest of us. Well, sort of.
“If you count the time I'm in the office, it's probably no more than 50-60 hours a week,” Zuckerberg wrote in reply to a question about how many hours he works. “But if you count all the time I'm focused on our mission, that's basically my whole life.” Instead of logging overtime at the office, the somewhat shy, lone wolf engineer said he spends most of his time thinking deeply, specifically about how to connect the world. “I take a lot of time just to read and think about things by myself.” (Ah, yes, reading, one of the top habits of the world’s richest people.)
2. He has a hunch the future of virtual reality will be “pretty wild.”
Um, it better be. After all, Zuckerberg only shelled out $2.3 billion for Oculus VR.
When asked to articulate his vision is for the much buzzed about virtual reality headset, the Palo Alto, Calif. big shot went big, saying that Facebook’s mission with Oculus is to “give people the power to experience anything.” Anything? Whoa. We’re not sure we want in on seeing and feeling anything and everything. Not even virtually.
“Even if you don't have the ability to travel somewhere, or to be with someone in person, or even if something is physically impossible to build in our analog world,” Zuckerberg wrote, “the goal is to help build a medium that will give you the ability to do all of these things you might not otherwise be able to do.”
How? Probably via a new class of media we’ve never seen before, which Facebook would likely pioneer.
“Just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the internet to let others experience them too, we'll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments and then share those with people as well,” Zuckerberg said. “It will be pretty wild.”
Related: Mark Zuckerberg Calls the 'A-Ha!' Moment a Myth
3. He’s confident his master plan to beam the Internet to everyone on the planet can play nice with net neutrality regulations.
TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine managed to squeeze in a hard-newsy-ish question about the net neutrality implications of Internet.org ICYMI, this is Facebook’s ambitious initiative to deliver affordable Internet access to basically every last human on Earth. That is with more than a little help from his mega mobile phone company friends, like Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm.
“I think net neutrality is important to make sure network operators don't discriminate and limit access to services people want to use,” Zuckerberg said, “especially in countries where most people are online. For people who are not on the internet though, having some connectivity and some ability to share is always much better than having no ability to connect and share at all. That’s why programs like Internet.org are important and can co-exist with net neutrality regulations.”
Did you get that, unplugged peoples? Some Internet is better than none. Deal with it.
4. Sorry, pal. Zuck’s not about to hire you during a freaking Q&A.
No joke, a nervy Facebook user by the name of Van Chau Tran had the gall to try and hustle Zuckerberg for a job. Hey, why not, right? Uh, wrong.
“May I have a job at Facebook?” Tran asked. A fellow Q&A attendee facetiously confirmed Tran’s dream gig, teasing “Yes, of course! Monday, 8am! Dont be late.” Sorry, dude. No such luck.
Zuckerberg chimed in 19 minutes (and dozens of hilarious, mostly not mean user comments later) with the standard corporate response: a link to Facebook’s official careers page. Disappointment. Still, Tran was stoked enough to say he’d put Zuckerberg’s response on his resume. Maybe it’ll help him stand out when he applies, if he really does. We're crossing our fingers for you, Tran.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.