Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sean Parker

Sean Parker (born 1979) is an American technology businessman and entrepreneur. He co-founded Napster, Plaxo, Causes, and Airtime. He was Facebook's founding president. As of the third quarter of 2011, Parker's net worth was estimated to be $2.1 billion.

Early Life
Parker was born in Herndon, Virginia to Diane Parker, a TV advertising broker, and Bruce Parker, a U.S. government oceanographer. When Parker was 7, his father taught him how to program on an Atari 800. Parker’s father, who put his family over his entrepreneurial dreams, told Parker "if you are going to take risks, take them early before you have a family."

As a teenager, Parker’s hobbies were hacking and programming. One night, while hacking into the network of a Fortune 500 company, Parker was unable to logout after his frustrated father unplugged his computer. Because his IP address was exposed, F.B.I. agents tracked down the 16-year-old, showed up at his doorstep and seized his computer. Since Parker was a minor, he was only sentenced to community service.

In 2004, Parker saw a site called "Thefacebook" on the computer of his roommate’s girlfriend, who was a student at Stanford. Parker had experience in the social networking space as an early advisor to Friendster and its founder Jonathan Abrams, for which he was given a small amount of stock in 2003." Parker met with Mark Zuckerberg, and a few months later, joined the five month old company as its founding president. According to Peter Thiel, Facebook’s first investor, Sean Parker was the first to see potential in the company to be "really big," and that "if Mark ever had any second thoughts, Sean was the one who cut that off."

As president, Parker brought on Thiel as Facebook’s first investor. Within the initial round of funding, he negotiated for Zuckerberg to retain three of Facebook’s five board seats. This gave Zuckerberg control of the company, allowing Facebook the freedom to remain a private company. Additionally, Parker is said to have championed Facebook’s clean user interface and developed its photo-sharing function. Zuckerberg notes that "Sean was pivotal in helping Facebook transform from a college project into a real company."

During a party in 2005, police entered and searched a vacation home Parker was renting and found cocaine. Parker was arrested on suspicion of possession but not charged. This event was subsequently used by Facebook investors to pressure Parker into resigning as company president. Even after stepping down, Parker continued to remain involved with Facebook’s growth and meet regularly with Zuckerberg. The event was later dramatized in The Social Network.

Personal Life
Parker is primarily based in New York City although he frequently travels to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Stockholm, and London for Spotify, Airtime, and the Founders Fund. His $20 million townhouse in Manhattan includes an indoor pool, 30-foot bamboo trees, and an entrance hall adorned with actual subway cars. He is engaged to Alexandra Lenas, a singer-songwriter.

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