In April 2005, current General Catalyst Venture Partner Kevin Colleran replaced Eduardo Saverin as Facebook’s business development head and first sales guy. Colleran was Facebook employee number seven, according to The New York Times.
And eight years ago around this time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg decided to fly out to New York to meet his new hire in person at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square.
Now the two had never met face to face, and, because in the early days when FB had only room for one profile pic, the above was Colleran’s. So Zuck naturally thought that Facebook’s first salesperson was the “tough looking black guy” on the right and not the white-looking Irish dude on the left.
The former just happened to be rapper 50 Cent, of “In Da Club” and “P.I.M.P.” fame, whom Colleran had met through his previous job as a consultant at RCA.
According to David Kirkpatrick and our sources, Zuck “looked crestfallen” at the mixup. And the next day, Colleran called up Facebook President Sean Parker and asked, “What’s up?” “Well,” Parker explained, “the meeting went fine. But we both feel a little weird, because we thought you were African-American.” SERIOUSLY. THEY THOUGHT THEIR SALES GUY WAS 50 CENT.
What makes this story even better is that 50 Cent KNOWS. Because, after Facebook got big and lucrative, Parker ended up telling him. And, according to sources, 50 Cent was like, “Damn, should have taken the job.”
As David Beckham likes to say, “Hindsight is a wonderful thing.” Oh, and this.
Disclosure: I own shares in Facebook (Colleran’s former employer) and am in a relationship with a VC at General Catalyst (his current one).