How A 17-Year-Old Impressed Zuckerberg to Become One of Facebook’s Youngest Employees

Short Bytes: Michael Sayman is one of the youngest employees of Facebook, working as a Software Developer. He struggled his way through the family financial crisis and wrote an iOS app that topped the game charts. It all started just five years back when this teenage app prodigy developed an interest in programming and wrote his first app.

This is the story of Michael Sayman, one of Facebook’s youngest employees and how he landed his job. Getting a job at Facebook isn’t an easy task and you must possess some extraordinary talent to impress the nerdy brain of Mr. Zuckerberg and enter 1 Hacker Way, Menlo Park, California.

Telling his story in a Facebook TechPrep video, Michael Sayman tells how he was able to provide for his whole family during the recession when his family lost their house.


It was just five years back when this teenage app prodigy developed an interest in programming and decided to make his own website based on WordPress to share tips and tricks for his favorite game Disney’s Club Penguin.

It had been just about one year since Steve Jobs had announced the opening of iOS app store. So, he wanted to code a mobile app to make his website more popular. Sadly, he didn’t know anybody to teach him how to write an app. “It was a horrible process of learning, absolutely the worst. My school didn’t offer computer classes so that’s what I had to do,” he said.

So, he decided to take the ultimate route of internet and figured out how to make his app. For the Apple app store registration, he needed the $100 fee. As his family was financially struggling, his mom said if he couldn’t convert the app into sales, he would have to work at the family’s Peruvian chicken restaurant.

When he launched his app, those were the pretty early days with just 1,500 apps in the iOS Store. Eventually, his app rose to the top 10. The Hustle writes, “On the first day, Michael made $40, then $120, and $179. He made $5,000 the first month. On the first day, Michael made $40, then $120, and $179. He made $5,000 the first month.”

“After the first check arrived I was like, ‘Oh my gosh he’s earning more than me!” his mom, Cristina Sayman, said.

At the same time, due to the recession, his family was struggling and his father lost his job. It was the time when he came up with the idea of ‘4 Snaps.’ In this game, players will take 4 pictures and ask the others to guess the word.

At the time he submitted his new app to the App Store in May 2013, he failed half of his final exams.

Michael publicized the app by paying Instagrammers about $40/day, something he was struggling to afford. But, his risk paid off and his app rose the #127 position in the App store World Games list, eventually to #1.

Technology companies like Facebook are known to keep an eye on such prodigies and same was the case with Michael. A Facebook recruiter reached out to him and offered him a summer internship. Along with his mother, he was taken to the Parse dev conference and given a tour of the world of Facebook.

Unsurprisingly, Michael said, “It was like a Disney World but for tech people.” Talking about Zuckerberg, he said, “He sits down on his desk, puts his feet up, has a soccer ball, and he’s dribbling it. And I’m like, ‘Is this real life right now?”

He got an internship at Facebook for $6,000 a month and today he’s a software developer at Facebook. Here are the famous apps written by him:

Club Penguin Cheats app
4 Snaps
Super Stickman Jump
Bubble Bounce
The Impossible
Doodle Town

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