Facebook went live on February 4, 2004 (my birthday, BTW!). In The Accidental Billionaires, author Ben Mezrich described the day when Mark Zuckerberg explained the site’s interface to his business partner and fellow Harvard sophomore:
Mark hit more keys, changing the page to the opening screen that you’d see when you went to thefacebook.com. . . It was extremely simple- and clean-looking.
“So to log on,” Eduardo [Saverin] said, his hovering shadow covering most of the screen. “You need a Harvard.edu e-mail, then you choose a password.”
“Correct,” [said Mark].
The Harvard.edu e-mail was key, in Eduardo’s mind; you had to be a Harvard student to join the site. Mark and Eduardo know that exclusivity would make the site more popular.
They were right. Within hours, the majority of the Harvard student body was a registered member. Within a few short months, students from colleges across the country were petitioning for Facebook to grant access to their school. And today, well, we all know where the site stands internationally.