In Zuckerberg Family, One Tech Pioneer Leads to Another

November 29, 2016
DMD Staff

Ed Zuckerberg, DDS, is the founder of Painless Social Media, a company geared toward bringing in new clients and bolstering relationships with existing ones. He’s also the father of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In this clip, Dr. Zuckerberg explains how early exposure to technology and internet access in his home dental office laid the groundwork for Mark’s successful career.

Ed Zuckerberg, DDS, is the founder of Painless Social Media, a company geared toward bringing in new clients and bolstering relationships with existing ones. He’s also the father of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In this clip, Dr. Zuckerberg explains how early exposure to technology and internet access in his home dental office laid the groundwork for Mark’s successful career.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“I had the unique situation of practicing in my house. Being tech savvy, that kind of passed on to the house too. I wanted to get computers in my kids’ hands at a pretty early age, so I think Mark had his first computer when he was around 8 or 9, and Randi was about 2.5 years older, so she got one around the same time. And it didn’t take long—fast-forward to like 1995, ‘96, when this thing called the internet came around.

The internet in 1995 meant AOL, America Online, dial-up internet access. Having my office in the house meant that after 3 o’clock when the kids came home from school. First of all, understand back then that there were limited business internet uses back then. I was doing some dial-up electronic claims transmission back then, and maybe some patient benefit verification online. I worked with a company called Trojan Dental since my early days of practice in the 80s. They went from microfiche to desktop, to actual internet download. And so there was some need for the office to have an internet connection, although not a steady one. And after 3 o’clock, it became brutal.

We kind of had to set up rules: a half-hour for everybody. But the kids’ access didn’t start until after the office finished for business at 5. It didn’t quite work out too well. So in ’96 I looked into other options and I decided to have the entire house wired for broadband. That was kind of a trip. And then we brought a T-1 line in, which was outrageously expensive in those days. I think it was like $150 or $200 a month. And there were times that I doubted if it was going to pay off financially. It obviously has.

But when you talk about advantage, whereas Mark was 12 years old, and most kids were fighting for their half-hour of internet, Mark had full-time internet access, and also the ability to talk to other computers in the house. He learned the meaning of people being social and interacting with each other at a very early age. In fact, the world’s first social media network, theoretically, was something Mark built for our house called Zuck Net, which I utilized back the ’96 to have the front desk send messages to me when my next appointment arrived, my hygienist to send me a message that she’d be ready for an exam in 5 minutes. And oh, by the way, Mrs. Jones knows that number 30 needs a crown.

That was kind of an early, cutting-edge advantage for him, and certainly he took great opportunity of the edge.”