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Sean Parker is an entrepreneur who co-founded the music file-sharing service Napster and was the founding president of Facebook.
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Born in 1979 in Herndon, Virginia, Sean Parker is a darling of the tech world. Beginning as a rogue computer hacker in his teens, Parker showed his early genius as co-founder of the file-sharing computer service, Napster. Later, he became the founding president of Facebook. He's reported to be worth more than $2 billion.
Internet entrepreneur. A tech maverick and respected Web visionary, Sean Parker was born December 3, 1979, in Herndon, Virginia. His childhood was shaped by struggles in school and asthma attacks that were sometimes so severe he'd have to go the hospital.
Even with his frustration in the classroom, Parker's intelligence was hard to miss. He was a voracious reader, and when he was 7 his father, a U.S. government oceanographer, started teaching him computer programming on an Atari 800.
Parker quickly took to the digital world. By his teens, Parker was hacking his way into the computer networks of companies and other organizations around the world.
When Parker was 15, his hacking drew the attention of the FBI, and he was forced to do community service with other teenage offenders at the local library. Around this time, he met Shawn Fanning, who was also 15 and, like Parker, an adept hacker. With some others, they launched an Internet-security company, Crosswalk, which helped firms stymie hacker attacks. The business didn't take off, but a friendship and a future partnership were forged.
On his own Parker developed an early version of a Web crawler, a project that earned him top honors at a Virginia state computer science fair and drew the notice of the CIA, which lauded him for the work.
Spurning a CIA internship, Parker chose to work instead for a series of companies, including an early Internet service provider, pocketing $80,000 for his work in his senior year of high school. Able to convince his parents he should put off college, Parker joined friend Shawn Fanning and started the file-sharing service Napster in 1999.
Napster's popularity among music lovers quickly escalated. Within its first year, the service attracted tens of millions of users, but also became a target of the music industry, which saw the start-up as a huge threat to its business. The company was eventually ordered to shut its service down, but not before Parker, who'd fallen out of favor with Napster's older partners, was forced out.
Parker, who retreated to a beach house in North Carolina, found himself at a crossroads. "I had no home," he recalled. "I was totally broke. I would stay at a friend’s house for two weeks, then move because I didn’t want to become this permanent mooch.” His then-girlfriend argued he should leave the computer world behind and get a job at Starbucks. Parker, though, had other plans.
Long before the term "Web 2.0" came into vogue, Parker was fascinated by the power and potential of social networking. With some partners he launched a new company called Plaxo, an online service that kept users' address books up-to-date.
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