Mark Zuckerberg

2012 was a year of milestones for the Facebook CEO, who turned 28, got married, and led the biggest IPO in Internet history. Now what?

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

2012 was a year Mark Zuckerberg will remember vividly -- and not just because he turned 28 and married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. The year will go down as the one in which Zuckerberg came out from under his hoodie and began to prove his talents as a leader of one of the titans of consumer tech. His rock-star persona helped as he wooed Wall Street and pulled off the biggest Internet IPO in history, raising $16 billion. But we all know what happened next: The stock cratered and Zuckerberg quickly went from idol to villain -- at least among Wall Street and investors, an important new constituent.

Yet things took a turn for Zuckerberg in September, when he sat for his first interview since the botched IPO and decisively took control of the story. He told the world that the shift to mobile wasn't a problem but an opportunity, and that, yes, he cared a lot about making money. The jury is out, of course. Facebook could scare off users by overdoing it with ads, or it could make a major privacy misstep, an area where the company has stumbled in the past. But 2012 ended well for the young billionaire and the empire he built.

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