Why Is Mark Zuckerberg a More Famous CEO Than Anyone Else in Tech?

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Among all social media CEOs, why is only Mark Zuckerberg famous? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan, CEO of Invento Robotics, on Quora:

Among all social media CEOs, why is only Mark Zuckerberg famous?

A very good question. Zuckerberg is indeed more famous than many of his peers who built great tools. How many of us know/talk about Jan Koum [Founder of WhatsApp]? Many of us use WhatsApp more than Facebook. We watch YouTube everyday, but majority of us would draw blank when asked about Chad Hurley or Steve Chen. In fact, Zuck is arguably more popular among the masses than even Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

If you go beyond social media, you can find that Elon Musk is so much more popular than William Durant [Founder of GM] or any GM CEO although GM cars are 100x more common than Teslas.

Thus, it is not just a question of how much the tool is used. Zuckerberg became a very popular figure well before his tool was globally used in this scale.

I would guess that Zuckerberg is famous because:

  1. He chooses to live in the public spotlight. A lot of CEOs hate that spotlight and have more secretive lifestyles.
  2. He is pretty much a single founder [let’s not get into the complicated lawsuits] and has no one to share the spotlight with. Thus, he is referred to directly, unlike those who are referred to in more generic terms like “Those Google founders”.
  3. He didn’t sell out his company nor was he replaced. That is quite unique in his industry. Snapchat is trying to follow that.
  4. He is extremely rich - the youngest in the ranks of the hyper rich like Bill Gates. There is something that attracts us about that quality especially if they don’t irritate us a lot.
  5. Zuck was not as big of a jerk like many other founders in the valley, and thus he is a much more loved/respected figure than most and given that he is not competing head on with another equivalent company, he is far less controversial than Gates or Jobs.
  6. Facebook is a key controller of information. They can choose what to push and what not to and that makes him popular in the network [which is pretty much the world now].
  7. He is young and has a pretty good smile. That makes him favorable to the cameras.
  8. A popular movie was made on his life, while even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t have such popular movies [The Pirates of the Silicon Valley, while a cult hit, never hit the masses]. The Social Network made $244m at the box office while the Steve Jobs movies each made about $35m. No match.

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