In last year’s Forbes rankings, which are generally the reference, Mark Zuckerberg ranks as the 52nd richest person in the world. It’s an amazing accomplishment for a 27 year old to rank on that list. The fact that he has decided to sign the Giving Pledge promising to give away at least 50% of his net worth to charity over the course of his life is truly impressive.
Think about it… Have you ever heard of a young tech prodigy that founded a company that had a great impact, that helped him become the world richest man. This man also signed the giving pledge as he, his wife and Warren Buffett are behind the effort to get this pledge signed by as many of the world’s billionaires as possible. I am of course talking about Bill Gates. How interesting it was to see Bill Gates interview Mark Zuckerberg as it seems so clear that Zuckerberg is following the Gates path.
Back to the question though. Is it realistic for Zuckerberg to hope get to the top of Facebook? In 2011, the richest man in the world is Mexico’s Carlos Slim with an estimated net worth of $74 billion!!! How far is Zuckerberg? Not that far I would argue.
Mark Zuckerberg is estimated to own 24.6% of Facebook, a company that will likely go public next year. Obviously, it is not clear what that stake is worth. However, many, like myself, believe that Facebook would be an incredible bargain at a $100 billion valuation. More likely, the company will be trading higher if revenues and earnings are in line with current estimates. At a $150 billion valuation, Zuckerberg’s stake would be worth close to $35 billion, putting him at #6 in the world behind Carlos Slim, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Bernard Arnault and Larry Ellison.
Still Short Of Slim’s $74 Billion
There is no doubt that getting to that first $37 billion will be much easier than the second part. It’s not as if Zuckerberg will be creating a second Facebook. However, I do expect the company to grow. He has been said to believe Facebook will become the first company to ever be worth $1000 Billion. That is highly unlikely. However, seeing Facebook become the most valuable tech company in the world is very possible. That would mean overtaking Apple’s $330 Billion market cap… if that happened, Zuckerberg’s stake would make him the richest man in the world (assuming the others remain close to their current values).
Can Facebook Truly Overtake Apple?
I think it would be difficult to justfiy how Facebook would pull this off right now because the company still has so much of its focus on user experience rather than revenues and profits. However, I think the possibilities are almost endless and risks are rather small for the leading social network.
What do you think? Will Zuckerberg one day be the world’s richest man? If so, how long will it take?