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What Did Mark Zuckerberg Do After Losing a Game of Scrabble to a Teenager?

There are three things you need when you play Scrabble: an extensive vocabulary, a good strategy, and a little luck. All in the name of good fun and games.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was not happy losing a game of scrabble with his friend’s high school daughter that he decided to create a program that will show him the best word combinations. Competition knows, no age.

What’s the Story?

Aboard the corporate jet, Mark Zuckerberg played a game with his friend’s teenage daughter – and she beat him. Being the competitive man that he is, he built a program to help him win the next match. (Source: NY Post)

How Did the Program Work?

Making a basic program like this took little to no effort for a programming genius like Zuckerberg. The program’s end goal was simple. It was designed to give him all the possible word combinations out of the letters he placed in.

This allowed him to choose the highest possible score which would ultimately give him a lead against his opponent. In an interview with the New Yorker, Zuckerberg said “During the game in which I was playing the program, everyone around us was taking sides: Team Human and Team Machine.” (Source: The New Yorker)

Was the Facebook CEO Always This Competitive?

A former Facebook employee by the name of Dave Morin, used to play Risk with Zuckerberg at the office. He told the NY Post, “He’s playing you in a game of games. He’s trying to figure out the psychological way to beat you in all the games.” (Source: NY Post)

Former Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo told Evan Osnos of the New Yorker, “He’s a ruthless execution machine, and if he has decided to come after you, you’re going to take a beating.” (Source: Business Insider)

And they are not the only once who think this way. Even LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman agrees that there is a common misconception about Zuckerberg’s competitiveness. One thing is for sure, there’s more than what meets the eye. Hoffman told the New Yorker, “There are a number of people in the Valley who have a perception of Mark that he’s really aggressive and competitive. I think some people are a little hesitant about him from that perspective.” (Source: Business Insider)

Is It Competitiveness or Just Plain Arrogance?

A lot of people might misconstrue Zuckerberg’s actions into something else especially after the release of The Social Network. If you have not seen the film yet, the plot focuses on the early years of Facebook and his relationships with his then friends. His character in the film comes off as cold, sly, and woman-crazy. (Source: Business Insider)

Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg told the New Yorker, “From its facts to its essence to its portrayal, I think that was a very unfair picture. I still think it forms the basis of a lot of what people believe about Mark.” Facebook, nor Zuckerberg chose to be involved in the film. (Source: Business Insider)

Aside from personal friends and other co-workers, the iconic Bill Gates had a few things to say about the Facebook’s CEO: “Somebody who is smart, and rich, and ends up not acknowledging problems as quickly as they should will be attacked as arrogant. That comes with the territory, I wouldn’t say that Mark’s an arrogant individual.” (Source: Business Insider)

7 thoughts on “What Did Mark Zuckerberg Do After Losing a Game of Scrabble to a Teenager?”

  1. 660trail

    I thought the whole point of the game was to not use any thesaurus or other help. Surely it’s pointless if we all have access to computer generated data like that.

  2. Gingrpenguin

    Why did he have a teenager on his jet?

  3. FoodTrafficker

    Um, Scrabble Word Builder already exists on Hasbro’s site.

  4. mrpickleby

    Ace programmer there. /S

    That’s perhaps one of the easiest programs to write.

  5. BLKush22

    Poor loser.. or rich poor loser

  6. Vast_Heat

    That’s a common problem assigned in entry-level programming classes.

    People impressed by that were probably impressed with Clock-Boy’s clock.

  7. ShadeScapes

    what’s funny is The Social Network (movie) was only realistic and grounded in reality in some of its telling of the Zuckerberg story, but THIS action (losing scrabble, making a program to learn faster as a result of being pissed that he lost, etc) sounds *exactly* like it could have been a scene in that movie.

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