Seven Years Of Self-Improvement For Mark Zuckerberg And Facebook

Zuck never stops trying to get better at being Zuck—and it’s paid off for the business.


As busy as Mark Zuckerberg’s day job keeps him, he finds time each year to give himself a personal challenge. Here’s a look at his last seven years of accomplishments–and the progress his company has made along the way.


2009 Personal Challenge: Wear a tie every day.

Company Milestone: Facebook is taken more seriously by advertisers and becomes cash-flow positive a year ahead of schedule, transforming it from startup to long-term comer.

2010 Personal Challenge: Learn Mandarin.

Company Milestone: Although Facebook isn’t available in China, the service exceeds 500 million monthly active users, becoming the world’s largest social network.

2011 Personal Challenge: Only eat animals he kills himself.


Company Milestone: Acquired more than 10 startups. Moved company headquarters to the former home of Sun Microsystems in Menlo Park, on a large, centralized campus.

2012 Personal Challenge: Code every day.

Company Milestone: Facebook’s IPO values the company at $104 billion, a record for a new listing, though a software glitch slightly marred the debut. Purchases Instagram.

2013 Personal Challenge: Meet a new person every day who doesn’t work at Facebook.

Company Milestone: Launches, in partnership with other tech companies, with the goal of making Internet access available to the entire world population.


2014 Personal Challenge: Write at least one thank-you note every day.

Company Milestone: Among the cards Zuckerberg might have sent: to Jan Koum, for selling him WhatsApp for $22 billion, and to Palmer Luckey, for selling him Oculus VR for $2 billion.

2015 Personal Challenge: Read a new book every two weeks.

Company Milestone: Facebook expands its platform as a publisher, introducing Instant Articles and accelerating its video initiatives. It also begins to seed Oculus with content.

Related: How does Mark Zuckerberg generate innovation?

About the author

Kim Lightbody is an editorial assistant at Fast Company, where she does all sorts of editorial-related things for both print and web.