The Inventory: Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes, 27, co-founder of Facebook and director of online organising for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, has just launched Jumo, a social network that allows people to support world-changing solutions in their communities and across the globe.

What was your earliest ambition?

As a child I wanted to become an architect. Something about the planning and vision, I guess.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

I went to public [state-funded] schools in North Carolina until I left to go to a private boarding school at 14. From there I went to Harvard. We started Facebook midway through my sophomore year, so it was straight from academia to the start-up world.

Who was, or still is, your mentor?

I look up to a lot of people, but outside of my parents, I’ve never really had a mentor.

How physically fit are you?

I exercise most days. But I also have a glass of wine most days, so the two often cancel one another out.

Ambition or talent: which matters more to success?

Anybody can be ambitious. Some mix of thoughtfulness and impulsiveness seems to be the right combination.

Have you ever taken an IQ test?

When I was eight or nine, but I don’t remember the score.

How politically committed are you?

Very. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our society is as just and fair as it can be. Politics is messy … Like most people, I wish it happened a bit differently, but that’s not an excuse not to pay attention or be involved.

Do you consider your carbon footprint?

Yes. But I think more about the innovation and governmental policies needed to see a meaningful slowing of climate change.

Do you have more than one home?

I can barely keep up with one at this point.

What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?

I love history and literature. I’d love to own more original manuscripts, letters, books – anything that exudes a different time and place.

What’s your biggest extravagance?

Eating good food. I love that going to a nice restaurant means turning off the phone, e-mail, Facebook, and focusing on good conversation and good food.

In what place are you happiest?

Usually it’s at home in my reading chair, or in front of my computer on a slow Sunday.

What ambitions do you still have?

I want to have as maximum an impact on the world as possible – to change it in a positive, lasting way. I also look forward to having a family of my own.

What drives you on?

Making the world more fair and raising the level of human awareness and understanding. Small goals, I know.

What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?

I’ve been fortunate to be part of a great start-up that has changed not just the internet, but the way people interact. I also got to be part of a historic team that helped elect Barack Obama. It’s hard to choose.

What has been your greatest disappointment?

The realisation of how anti-intellectual the business and political world is at its core.

If you lost everything tomorrow, what would you do?

Get up, take stock, and find a way to survive and hopefully flourish.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

No, I’m agnostic. How could anyone be so sure of anything so important?

If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?

I’ve been pretty fortunate, so a seven. I feel like I’m just getting started.

Jumo launched its beta version on Nov 30 at

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