Facebook founder returns to Harvard to recruit

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (AP) ? Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is returning to Harvard University to enlist new talent for his social networking site.

It’s the 27-year-old CEO’s first official visit to the Ivy League school since he left in 2004. Relations between the two have sometimes been prickly, but he planned to meet with both Harvard students and officials after a recruiting visit to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier in the day.

Harvard computing officials were working on their own university-wide online directory when Zuckerberg created Facebook as a campus-only social network. The then-sophomore told the campus newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, that it was silly that the university needed years to create the site.

“I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week,” he said.

An earlier Zuckerberg creation, Facemash, almost led to his expulsion after he hacked university computers for student photos.

The Boston area’s status as a center for technological innovation is much improved since Zuckerberg left to launch Facebook in California’s Silicon Valley, according to local entrepreneur Dharmesh Shah, who is chief technology officer and co-founder of HubSpot, a marketing software company. Shah also runs a blog devoted to technology startups.

Shah created HubSpot while an MIT student. He considered basing his new company in San Francisco but wanted to stay close to MIT and the area’s growing talent pool.

“There’s a vibrant ecosystem here,” he said. “There’s always been this stereotype that startups on the East Coast won’t take as much risk as the startups you see on the West Coast, and that held us back. But it’s changing. I’ve never seen it as vibrant as it is right now.”