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The Facebook That Wasn't

  • Slate, Thursday, September 30, 2010 1:03 PM
Adam Goldberg could have been a contender. So says Slate of the Columbia grad "who came within arm's reach of a multibillion-dollar idea that ultimately slipped his grasp." The idea? A social network for college kids named Campus Network -- then called CU Community for Columbia University. At one time, according to Slate, CU represented "perhaps the greatest threat to Facebook's dominance."

Says Goldberg, now 26 years old: "If you talk to [Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg], he'll be the first to tell you he thought CU Community was the biggest competition that Facebook ever had." What happened? For one, Facebook had first-mover advantage when it opened its doors to other Ivy Leagues. Also, perhaps a bit overconfidence, Goldberg says: "I really believed that Campus Network was a better product." Also, as Facebook continued to gain steam, Goldberg also says he turned down advertisers, including MTV, and didn't seek out venture capital. Ultimately, however, Slate suggests that Facebook real edge was its simplicity. "Facebook respected the Web's learning curve. Campus Network did too much too soon."

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