Last year, I made a prediction that Mark Zuckerberg would eventually become the world’s richest man, or at least come very close to it. The past week has been heaven for those who like me have been greatly anticipating the upcoming Facebook IPO. As Facebook finally filed for its IPO, Zuckerberg confirmed what many including myself firmly believed: that he plans on leading Facebook to the very top. Zuckerberg, who is yet to turn 30, will likely officially become the 9th richest man in the world once Facebook goes public. Believe me, I will be discussing the Facebook IPO and what I think about buying the shares (most already know my opinion) but today I simply wanted to talk about Mark Zuckerberg.
The guy has been able to build one of the most important companies in the world from his dorm in Harvard and looks as determined as ever to take Facebook to the top.
It’s Not About The MoneyYou might think that no one becomes this rich without being driven by money, by its power and by the though of passing by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in the top rankings. I think it’s becoming more clear every day that Zuckerberg was not about the money.
Sure, you could say that it’s easy for him now. He announced he would be making $1 per year, exactly the same as Steve Jobs who seemed to mentor the Facebook founder in the later years of his life and actually said he had a lot of respect for the guy that wouldn’t sell out unlike others he had accused of doing so (Bill Gates would be the main guy). So clearly, Zuckerberg is not motivated by money these days. He also pushed off his IPO much longer than most would have and has signed the giving pledge, promising to give away at least half of his fortune.
It Never Was In FactSure, you might say that it’s easy to forgo getting a salary of a few million dollars when you’re worth billions. I don’t think ,any would have been to resist selling their stakes in the earlier years. Imagine yourself being offered millions, then tens of millions and even hundreds of millions while you are still barely able to afford your own place. Props to Zuckerberg for resisting. Just take a look at founders of other companies such as Google. By the time those companies turned public, the founders barely had a few % of the company. Zuckerberg has almost 30%!!! If you saw the “Social Network” movie, you might think that he was able to accomplish that through dishonest tactics. Some parts are unclear of course but I think that overall, what he was able to do is impressive.
Facebook’s DirectionOne of the big critics that Facebook faces when being compared with Google is that revenues are much lower than Google at the same stage and revenue growth as well. That is more than fair. I will discuss my opinion on why that is soon but the basic story is that Facebook still to this day probably does not spend much time on revenues and monetization. A few years from now, I expect many more companies like Zynga () to build a business model centered around Facebook.
I also think one recent move by Zuckerberg, the hire of Sheryl Sandberg, says a lot about him. This woman is exceptional, well liked and a strong leader. That is one more proof that Zuck is after improving his product, not acting in his self-interest. Many leaders would hesitate to put such a high profile leader next to them.
Clearly Not PerfectIt has been well discussed that Zuckerberg and Facebook had many privacy issues, especially in the earlier times of the company. Even recently, changes were done to the company that created a stir among users. There was also that now famous “meltdown” when Zuck was interviewed about privacy concerns at Facebook. But I don’t think anyone would argue that he has gotten much better at his position and at dealing with the media, users, etc. He’s not perfect, but I would argue that he is the perfect leader for Facebook as it moves towards its IPO.
Do you think Facebook is in a good position?