Mark Zuckerberg’s Inspiring Response to Grandma Who Called Him a ‘Nerd’ on Facebook

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Mark Zuckerberg recently shared his personal challenge for 2016 — to build an assistant powered by artificial intelligence—on Facebook, and while it’s an ambitious goal, it’s the CEO’s response to one commenter that is generating the most attention.

On Sunday, the Facebook founder and CEO wrote that “every year, I take on a personal challenge to learn new things and grow outside my work at Facebook. … My personal challenge for 2016 is to build a simple AI to run my home and help me with my work. You can think of it kind of like Jarvis in Iron Man.” The invention will be something of a robot butler, Zuckerberg explained, helping with chores around the house and even childcare for his 1-month-old daughter, Max. “I’ll teach it to let friends in by looking at their faces when they ring the doorbell. I’ll teach it to let me know if anything is going on in Max’s room that I need to check on when I’m not with her.”

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Mark Zuckerberg told one woman to encourage her granddaughters to “be the nerd” rather than marry the nerd. (Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

The post got more than 24,000 comments in response, including one from Darlene Hackemer Loretto, a grandmother who is hoping her granddaughters will marry the next Mark Zuckerberg. “I keep telling my granddaughters to date the nerd in school, he may turn out to be a Mark Zuckerberg! Thanks [to] FB, I’ve reconnected with family and many old friends and classmates,” Loretto wrote. Zuckerberg responded to her directly, urging the grandma to take her familial encouragement one step further. The new dad wrote, “Even better would be to encourage them to *be* the nerd in their school so they can be the next successful inventor!”

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The response has been applauded online, receiving more than 20,000 likes for its empowering message. “Mark Zuckerberg, good answer … we need more girls/women in technology and science!” wrote one user. “Always encourage young girls to grow up to become the successful ones, not just marry the successful men,” wrote another.

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Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and daughter Maxima Chan Zuckerberg. (Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

Loretto, the grandmother who wrote the original comment, has responded to the reaction on her own Facebook page. “I do encourage them to do well, I’ve done everything in my life MYSELF, my children’s dad died at a very young age and I did it all,” she wrote. “[Even] starting two businesses. I said it once to them in jest and NEVER did I think anyone would even see this, let alone get the attention it has gotten.”

But the Facebook CEO’s response is a great indication of the attitude he’ll take with his own daughter. According to one Facebook photo, Zuckerberg has already started his daughter on the road to smarts and success, reading her the oh-so-classic bedtime story “Quantum Physics for Babies.”

(Top photo: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook)

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