Facebook is all over the news today with a variety of stories. The first has to do with money. It seems that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is now richer than Apple’s owner Steve Jobs. It seems that in just five years, Zuckerberg has amassed a net worth of just about $6.9 billion dollars.
This year, Zuckerberg, 26, added $4.9 billion to his fortune-vaulting to #35 on the Forbes 400 with an estimated fortune of $6.9 billion. Why the jump? Recent private equity investments in Facebook valued the firm at around $23 billion — more than triple its 2009 value of $7 billion. Illiquid private shares in secondary markets point to an even richer valuation.
Jobs has a net worth of $6.1 billion — $1 billion higher than 2009 — placing him at # 42 in the list of America’s richest.
So what about the rumors of a Facebook phone? That is exactly what it was. Just a rumor. It seems that Facebook has no intention of trying to compete with Apple or the Droid. In fact Facebook does not want to compete with any type of hardware.
Our strategy is very horizontal. We’re trying to build a social layer for everything. Basically we’re trying to make it so that every app everywhere can be social whether it’s on the web, or mobile, or other devices. So inherently our whole approach has to be a breadth-first approach rather than a depth-first one. And we work on all of these different things at the same time, so I’m sure whatever leak you got was probably accurate for whatever the person said. But it was probably just one part of what we are doing. Anyhow. I just wanted to give that context
Then there was the story of Facebook making a sizeable donation that was shown on all of the major TV networks. It seems that Zuckerberg is donating $100 million to a school district located in Newark. Why Newark? Because it has the distinction of having the worst public school system in the nation.
Newark spends about $22,000 a year on each of its 40,000 pupils, but only about half of its students graduate. Of those who do, only one-fifth go on to four-year colleges. More than 85% of the Newark students at community colleges need remedial help in math and English.
But what was surprising about the story of Zuckerberg donating such a large amount were the detractors who immediately criticized him. Their thinking was that the man behind Facebook was making the donation because he was trying to improve his image. It seems that there is a new movie about Zuckerberg that does not portray him as being a ‘nice guy.’ In fact it seems that he has lied, cheated, and stolen his way to the top. Not my words, but the words of some who compare him to Gordon Gekko.
It does appear that Facebook is a company to keep your eye on. It seems unstoppable and is being compared to Google.
I personally don’t know the man and have no opinion.