Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg credited his “Jewish mother” for giving him the willpower to turn down a $1 billion buyout offer from Yahoo! in 2006 - at a time when he was only 22 years old and the social network was only making $20 million in revenue.
Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s former director of global business marketing, recounted the story in his book “Becoming Facebook,” which came out earlier this month. Hoefflinger recalled being present at a lunch meeting in 2009 between Zuckerberg and legendary businessman Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel.
Grove, trying, in Hoeflinger’s words, to “determine the legitimacy—his bar was notoriously high—of his lunch companion,” asked Zuckerberg how he turned down Yahoo’s offer, a decision for which he was heavily criticized at the time.
“I just thought we could do it,” Zuckerberg replied, adding that he believed at the time that Facebook could grow to become a successful company with a much higher valuation.
“Where does that willpower come from?” Grove asked.
As Hoefflinger wrote, “Zuckerberg considered the question—possibly for the first time—and concluded simply, ‘Jewish mother.’”