Here’s The Story Behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘I’m CEO, Bitch.’ Business Card
Back when Facebook was still known as “The Facebook,” an ambitious, baby-faced 22-year-old Mark Zuckerberg coined the phrase “I’m CEO, bitch.” It comes off as cocky and conceited — everything you’d expect from a 22-year-old kid running a company that was about to explode, so of course it found its place on his first set of business cards. Little did he know then that he would become one of the most iconic CEOs of the 21st Century.
“I designed the original Facebook business cards. (It’s been almost 6 years since I designed them, so I’ll recall this as best as I can.)
Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth is correct in that I modeled the business cards after the first redesign (sans “the”) of the site. I felt it was not only fitting, but iconic. The footer of the card that he refers to was an homage to the random quotes that would rotate at the site’s footer—such as “I don’t even know what a quail looks like.” We were small enough at the time that it was a trivial task to ask each employee for a custom footer and many of them had a lot of fun with it.
As for Mark’s, it’s no secret that Mark looked up to Steve Jobs at the time. When Aaron Sittig and I were the only designers in late 2005, he would hold his design meetings with us in that classic “aggressive” Steve Jobs-style. It was during one of those meetings where I remember him first uttering the phrase, “I’m CEO, bitch…”
Countless designs are referred to as “happy accidents” and this would be a prime example of that. Because of the relationship that Zuck and I had at the time, I felt comfortable having fun with his tagline.
So, quite simply, it was a phrase I typed in that stuck.
Feel free to fish for the meaning if my explanation is a bit bland and uneventful, but therein lies the wonder of design. Sometimes the best part of any piece of work is the meaning people pull out of it.
Eventually, during my tenure at Facebook, the fabled cards were pulled and subsequently replaced. In this designer’s view, these retired cards were an excellent representation of the company culture at the time. Their replacement reflected the changes a young Facebook needed to go through in order to be where it is today.”