Parker cofounded file-sharing service Napster in 1999, when he was only 19 years old. Napster became one of the fastest-growing businesses of all time, as well as one of the most controversial. Parker and his cofounder, Shawn Fanning, are often credited with revolutionizing the music industry.
After several lawsuits from music associations eventually shut down Napster, Parker went on to found a social-networking site called Plaxo. He was ousted two years later.
Parker joined the Facebook team in 2004, when it was just a fledgling college startup. As the social network’s founding president, he would play a huge role in the site’s early investments, design, and transition into a viable company.
In 2005, Parker was arrested on allegations of cocaine possession. Though official charges were never filed, the incident contributed, in part, to his departure from Facebook.
Though he stepped down just a few months later, Parker continued to play a role in Facebook’s growth.
Parker was played by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 Facebook movie “The Social Network.” Parker was upset by his portrayal as a party boy, saying that Timberlake’s character was “a morally reprehensible human being” and that the movie was “a complete work of fiction.”
Parker became a managing partner at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund in 2006. In his time since leaving Facebook, he has helped bring Spotify to the US and founded political-engagement startup Brigade Media.
He’s been busy spending his massive personal fortune as well. In 2011, he paid $20 million for a West Village townhouse known as the “Bacchus House” for its party-animal past. Parker had previously been renting the house for $45,000 a month, in addition to the apartment he owns in San Francisco.
The Daily Mail reported that Parker and then fiancee Alexandra Lenas were permanent residents of New York City’s ritzy Plaza Hotel while their new three-story townhouse was being renovated.
Parker and Lenas were married in the summer of 2013, in a $4.5 million, three-day ceremony in the woods of Big Sur, California. All 364 guests — including Jack Dorsey, Mark Pincus, Dustin Moskovitz, and Chris Hughes — were given Tolkien-esque costumes made by “Lord of the Rings” designer Ngila Dickson to wear during the ceremony. Parker ended up paying an extra $1 million in a settlement with the California Coastal Commission for failing to obtain the proper permits for the event.
Last summer, the couple added another property to their portfolio: a nine-bedroom Los Angeles mansion called “The Brody House,” which they bought from Ellen DeGeneres for $55 million.
Parker often dresses in fine suits by top designers like Tom Ford and Dior.
Parker is also a philanthropist — in June, he donated $600 million to launch the Parker Foundation, which will focus on funding programs in life sciences, global public health, and civic engagement. He recently pledged $24 million to develop the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford. He also donated $4.5 million to support a malaria-elimination program at the University of California San Francisco’s Global Health Group.
Parker was born in Herndon, Virginia, to Diane Parker, a TV advertising broker, and Bruce Parker, a U.S. government oceanographer. When Parker was seven, his father taught him how to program on an Atari 800. Parker’s father, who put his family before his entrepreneurial dreams, told Parker “if you are going to take risks, take them early before you have a family.” As a teenager, Parker’s hobbies were hacking and programming. One night, while hacking into the network of a Fortune 500 company, Parker was unable to log out after his father unplugged and confiscated his computer keyboard. Because his IP address was exposed, F.B.I. agents tracked down the 16-year-old. Since Parker was under 18, he was sentenced to community service.
Parker has appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as a guest in 2011. He has also featured on the cover of Forbes 400 issue. Moreover, his profile appeared in Vanity Fair. Parker is the host for The TechFellow Award that annually gives 20 entrepreneurs $100,000 each to invest in startups.
Oakton High School
Chantilly High School
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.
Winter Victoria Parker, Zephyr Emerson Parker
US$2.6 billion (August 2017)
Now, we are selling over 5 million songs a day now. Isn't that unbelievable? That's 58 songs every second of every minute of every hour of every day.
It takes these very simple-minded instructions - 'Go fetch a number, add it to this number, put the result there, perceive if it's greater than this other number' - but executes them at a rate of, let's say, 1,000,000 per second. At 1,000,000 per second, the results appear to be magic.
Each year has been so robust with problems and successes and learning experiences and human experienes that a year is a lifetime at Apple. So this has been ten lifetimes.
The reason we wouldn't make a seven-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit a price point, it's because we don't think you can make a great tablet with a seven-inch screen.
The manual for WordStar, the most popular word-processing program, is 400 pages thick. To write a novel, you have to read a novel - one that reads like a mystery to most people. They're not going to learn slash q-z any more than they're going to learn Morse code. That is what Macintosh is all about.