Zuckerberg Credits ‘Jewish Mother’ For Turning Down Yahoo’s Early $1 Billion Offer

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg credits the willpower to turn down Yahoo’s $1 billion acquisition offer and further his tech company to his “Jewish mother” in a book published earlier this month.

The author of the “insider coming-of-age story” writes of a 2009 conversation between 25-year-old Zuckerberg and former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove.

“How did you turn down Yahoo’s $1 billion?” Grove asked, according to Business Insider.

“I just thought we could do it,” replied Zuckerberg, who was 22 years old at the time of the bid, while citing his belief that his business would grow way larger than people expected. (RELATED: Facebook: Way More Than A Social Media Company)

“In that answer, one visionary CEO with willpower recognized another across a chasm of nearly two generations. There was—at that moment—no difference between the two, as the torch passed viscerally from one Silicon Valley era to another,” reads an excerpt from “Becoming Facebook,” a book by Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s former director of global business marketing, who also worked at Intel for more than a decade. The passages were made available to Business Insider.

Hoefflinger’s perspective is Grove was not asking in an overly critical way, but rather out of sincere curiosity, since at the time of the offer, Facebook only had around eight million users (compared to the billions today).

“Where does that willpower come from?” Grove inquired in a follow-up question.

“Jewish mother,” Zuckerberg concisely replied.

Grove, who was often considered a legend in Silicon Valley, reportedly had several one-on-one meetings with budding entrepreneurs in the tech world, including founders like Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.

Hoefflinger says he’s responsible for connecting Grove and Zuckerberg, after seeing if the fresh-faced recent Harvard graduate wanted to meet with the Silicon Valley veteran.

Intel (which Grove led) is not only famous for being a contemporarily influential technology corporation, but for also empowering hundreds of other tech companies to materialize and grow through its revolutionary microprocessors and microchips.

Zuckerberg has cited his Jewish heritage before.

“I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world. After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others,” Zuckerberg wrote in December of 2015 on his social media profile. “As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. Even if an attack isn’t against you today, in time attacks on freedom for anyone will hurt everyone.”

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