Zuckerberg On Top Of The World?

avatar By: IS
Date posted: 02.07.2012 (5:00 am) | Write a Comment  (2 Comments)

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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 Money

You 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 Fact

Sure, 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 Direction

One 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 (ZNGA) 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 Perfect

It 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?

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2 Comments

  1. Comment by Robert Zaleski — February 7, 2012 @ 11:55 am
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    I honestly think they’ve topped out, where else can they go? They may have invented Social as we know it, but more and more sites are building social around niches, which is where I think things will go. Then maybe Google will finally get their OpenSocial API so people can pull all their communities to one home page, and what will Facebook have left?

    Really, what’s left for Facebook? True, your family and friends are likely to remain in contact in Facebook. But your other interests are likely going to remain elsewhere, on other sites devoted to your interests. So what we’ll really end up with is a network of communities we interact with. I don’t think Facebook will end up as the center as that, the walled garden will bite them, just like it bit Apple with the PC, and might again with the smart phone. And your closest friends and family aren’t something you want to share, those are the people you hang with at 11 PM in your living room, not at the park on the Basketball court.

  2. Comment by IS — March 11, 2012 @ 2:18 pm
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    @Robert- In terms of users, I agree, the growth is very limited. I do however think that in terms of advertising or making money, it has barely started. There are so many things that could be done.

    Just one idea.. Google makes a ton of money by being an ad broker between advertisers and websites. I think Facebook could do the same and make tons of money doing so while giving users more relevant ads and publishers more money. That is one example

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