Known as the ‘darling of the IT world’, Sean Parker was the co-founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook. He is highly respected as a web visionary and tech expert. He is also the co-founder of other internet ventures such as Causes, Plaxo and Airtime.
Parker was born in 1979 in Herndon, Virginia. His mother was a TV advertising broker and father was an oceanographer for the U.S government. As a child Parker had to deal with problems at school and asthma attacks but even through these, his exceptional intelligence was not hard to spot. His father taught him programming on an Atari 800. Most of teens were spent programming and hacking into companies and various organizations. He was even sentenced to community service when he was caught by the FBI for hacking into the network of a Fortune 500 company.
Parker graduated from high school in 1998. While at high school he did an internship for Mark Pincus, who is now the CEO of Zynga. He won a Virginia science fair for the Web Crawler he developed after which he was also hired by the CIA. In his senior year Sean Parker was earning over 80,000 dollars per year. This was enough for his parents to let him follow his dream of becoming an internet entrepreneur. At 15 years of age, Parker co-founded the computer file sharing service ‘Napster’ with the fourteen year old, Shawn Fanning. It was launched in 1999 and within a year the service had attracted millions of people. However due to several lawsuits, Napster was shut down. It has been called the fastest developed business of all time. After Napster, Parker launched Plaxo in 2002 which was a social networking service and an online address book. This service was later combined with Microsoft Outlook. Plaxo can be called the stepping stone towards bigger services like Zynga, LinkedIn and Facebook.
Sean Parker came across the site ‘The Facebook’ on the computer of his roommate’s girlfriend. Because he had prior experience in social networking sites he decided to meet with the founder of the website, Mark Zuckerberg to know more about it and offer his own services to it. A few months after this meeting, Parker became the founding President of Facebook. He was also the first investor of the website and saw great potential in it. Due to the unfortunate incident of the police finding cocaine in his rented vacation home, he had to resign from his post of president even though he was not charged for the possession. He did however continue to be involved in the affairs of the company as according to Zuckerburg, Sean had played a huge role in the development of Facebook from a college project to what it is today.
In 2006, Parker became a managing partner in Peter Thiel’s venture capital fund based in San Francisco called the ‘Founders Fund’. Parker has also invested in some other ventures such as ‘Spotify’ and ‘Votizen’. In 2011, he founded another website called ‘Airtime.com’ with his co-founder from Napster, Shawn Fanning. Sean Parker also established the philanthropic service called ‘Causes’ which uses social media to connect with charities. The service had 90 million users by 2010 who donated approximately $27 million to good causes. Parker’s net worth is estimated to be over $2 billion.