9 Things Baby Zuckerberg Should Know About Her Famous Parents
Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising
Welcome to the limelight, little Max Zuckerberg. You’ve officially graduated from globally famous baby bump to bouncing billionaire baby.
Congratulations, kiddo. You cleared life’s first hurdle. Next comes filling some seriously big shoes. In case you haven’t heard, your dad is Mark Zuckerberg, 31, a quiet genius who reads and writes in Hebrew, French, Latin and ancient Greek. He also forever changed the Internet -- and how 1 billion humans communicate -- with this little thing called Facebook. No big deal.
Your mom is Dr. Priscilla Chan, 30, a teacher and pediatrician who your daddy describes as “intense yet kind, fierce yet loving, leading yet always supporting others.” Basically, you’re in good hands.
But there’s so much more to know about your college-sweetheart parental units, Zuckerbaby. Enough for us to put together this list of nine things you should probably know about them. Who knows? Maybe you’ll stumble across this on Facebook when you’re older, if FB is still sort of cool.
1. There’s a Beast in your house and he drools.
No, not a real beast. That would be scary. We’re talking about an adorable doggie named Beast, your parents beloved Puli. He’s a scruffy Hungarian sheepdog that looks like an industrial mop.
Your dad dotes on Beast like crazy, to a point where your mom says the mut is his second priority after Facebook. She jokes that she’s his third. But don’t worry, tiny tot, you’ll fit in just fine. Hopefully your mom will make a “relationship contract” for you with your papa, like she did, demanding that he log a certain number of minutes with you per week. Accountability, kid. There’s something to be said for it.
You can tell your parents’ furry herder is pretty important because he’s front and center in the pic your dad posted announcing your very existence (in utero). And your mom calls Beast “smart,” “talented” and “gifted.” So, yeah, you’ve got some hairy competition. Oh, and get used to your dad posting stuff about you on FB, and using you to push agendas. It comes with the territory. Beast knows. He had his own “public figure” Facebook page way before you wowed everyone with a fitting thumbs up in that ultrasound.
2. Your dad’s all for you having your own Facebook account...when you’re 13.
We’re not sure how your mom feels about it, but your dad is all for letting kids use social media and technology. After all, he taught himself to code at the young age of 12. That’s when he built a nifty instant messaging system called “Zucknet” (via old-school Atari BASIC) for your grandfather to use in his dental office.
See, we’re pretty confident your dad will be cool with you going on FB based on the time a random woman (most certainly not your mom!) asked your dad this question: "I am a mother of a teenager, and if you and I were married, how would we handle Facebook with our daughter?" It was kind of awkward, but, long story short, your dad essentially told her to chill out.
"I think sometimes society has a bit of an overbearing attitude where we treat children as if they don't know how to do stuff,” he replied, “when sometimes they're more sophisticated than you could ever imagine. I would want my children to use technology because it's one of the ways that you become literate and develop the skills that you need to for the modern world."
Looks like your dad has your back, but don’t get too excited just yet, daddy's "Lean In girl" (yes, he's already called you that). It’s a no-go until you’re a teen, per your old man’s official terms and conditions.
3. Your mom is the first in her family to graduate college and your dad is a college dropout.
Education is “an incredibly personal issue” for your mother. Growing up disadvantaged in Braintree, Mass., the daughter of Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant parents who fled their native country in refugee boats, your mom viewed school as a means of bettering herself. At 13, she was already dead-set on getting into Harvard. After graduating from high school at the top of her class, she did just that. In 2007, she graduated from the Ivy League university with an undergrad degree in biology. Then she sailed right on through to medical school. No pressure, kid.
Your dad, on the other hand, followed in the footsteps of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and ditched Harvard. He dropped out in 2005, after his sophomore year. He had bigger fish to fry, namely Facebook, this addictive, snoopy online place where everyone talks about themselves and everyone they know or sort of know. Wasting no time after announcing his indefinite departure, your affluent White Plains, New York, native father returned to campus to recruit students with “raw intelligence” to work for his fast-rising social network.
For the record, your mom was none too impressed with your programming prodigy dad’s lackadaisical attitude toward education. (He skipped quite a few classes in his day.) “On our first date, he told me that he'd rather go on a date with me than finish his take-home midterm,” she said in a rare TV interview. “The type-A first child in me was appalled.” Clearly not that appalled.
4. Your mom and dad met while waiting in line for the bathroom at a frat party.
Yes, they partied. Truth is, all parents did at one time or another, even geeky ones. (See this nerdtastic photographic evidence.) Yours just happened to catch each other’s eyes while waiting outside the loo at your dad’s rowdy Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi. Yeah, they waited to pee together on a turnt-up Friday night. So romantic, we know.
“He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there,” your mom recalled about your dad, aka “Slayer” to his former frat bros. We don’t get it either. “I remember he had these beer glasses that said ‘pound include beer dot H.’ It’s a tag for C++. It’s like college humor but with a nerdy, computer-science appeal.” Aw, nerd love. So cold and fuzzy.
5. There’s a famous movie about your dad and it makes him seem like a jerk.
It’s called The Social Network and, sorry grasshopper, your dad probably never wants you to see it. The Academy Award-winning film chronicles the birth of Facebook. Specifically the nasty, friendship-gutting legal feuds over its shady inception and ownership that went down after your dad’s social juggernaut blew up beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
Your dad appeared to be a good sport about the movie at first, reportedly treating all of his staffers to a theater showing of it, followed by a round of ironically apropos appletinis. He reportedly left the theater in a huff, though, and later said the only thing the filmmakers got right was his fashion sense...or lack thereof.
There’s really no nice way to put this, but the movie blatantly makes your dad out to be a socially inept, Machiavellian meanie. “...basically the framing is that the whole reason for making Facebook is because I wanted to get girls, or wanted to get into clubs,” he said. “They [the film’s creators] just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.” If you’re itching to know what really did or didn’t go down, Google Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss twins. Or ask your dad.
6. If it’s up to your mom, you’ll probably stay out of the public eye.
The center of attention might be your mom’s least favorite place to be. While your dad trots the globe championing Facebook and daydreams about capturing your first steps in virtual reality, his other half carefully guards her privacy. For the most part, she evades the media, save for the paparazzi and when it benefits your daddy’s business and philanthropic interests.
Ever the supportive wife, she does, however, have her own Facebook page, where she sparingly posts the requisite pics of herself with friends, your dad, and, of course, Beast. She rations out status updates sparingly, using them to ask safe questions about how to better care for the pup and, get your Passport ready, to poll her friends about the best places to pitstop when traveling to new corners of the world.
Your mom also occasionally posts about causes near and dear to her heart, like the students in the low-income San Francisco Bay area and Newark, N.J., schools she and your dad poured hundreds of millions of dollars into, as well as a non-profit private school they’re opening next Fall.
7. You were born into one of the richest families on the planet.
Ka-ching, baby. With a net worth of about $45 billion, your dad is one of the wealthiest people on the planet. On the day he announced your birth to the world, he also announced his and your mother's plan to give 99 percent of their Facebook shares to charitable causes during their lives.
Unlike plenty of other insanely rich tycoons, your parents haven’t gone overboard and purchased a private island, a yacht or any fancy cars. Last we heard, your dad drives a black VW Golf GTI, not a Ferrari FXX K. Your mom seems equally frugal, famously refusing to buy a $600 pair of shoes she can easily afford.
While a private island isn’t on your parental units’ shopping list yet, a 750-acre swath of secluded land on the North Shore of Kauai was. Aloha, peace and quiet on the stunning white sands of Hawaii. Between that and your parents $7 million Palo Alto mansion -- and the four neighboring houses around it that they bought -- you’re one lucky kid.
8. Your mom is cool with all those boring hoodies and T-shirts your dad always wears. Seriously.
That is unless they're going somewhere formal, she says. Otherwise, your mom’s generally pro-hoodie. “He wears a fresh hoodie every day, so that pretty much meets my lowest barrier for him,” she told NBC about your leisurewear-loving pop. “I’m happy with whatever he wants to wear, as long as it’s appropriate for where we’re going. So he can’t wear it to weddings and he can’t wear it to baby showers, but he can do whatever else he wants.” Cross your fingers she’s just as chill when it comes to your threads, too.
Like the late Steve Jobs, your dad digs wearing the same dowdy duds every day. In his case, that would be his trademark chest-hugging gray T-shirt, a black hoodie and jeans. He says his underwhelming attire is a function of keeping it simple to save time. “I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” he said when asked about his drab wardrobe choices during a recent Facebook Q&A.
9. You’re dad doesn’t eat animals. Not unless he kills them himself.
Yeah, we don’t want to think about it either, kid. Your dad gave up meat in 2011, which he, of course, announced on Facebook as part of a personal challenge. “The reason for this is that I feel lucky for having such a great life,” he said. “In order to practice thankfulness, I want to be more connected to the food I eat and the animals that give up their lives so I can eat them."
Yep, unhand that meaty McNugget, Zuckerbaby. Pick up a bow and sharpen your arrow instead. Your dad is a vegetarian -- well, mostly -- and that could mean you will be, too.