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How to Get Rich Quick – The Lesson Behind the Facebook IPO

The IPO of Facebook is producing some amazing stories of wealth.

Of course the main focus is on Mark Zuckerberg and the billions he’ll be worth. Not bad for a young man who set up his company 8 years ago. But that’s a story that’s been circulating for years. The staggering numbers have just been getting bigger over time.

The stories that I’m finding more interesting are those lucky (and unlucky) souls on the periphery of this gold rush.

Like good old Mark’s dad Edward. An article in Business Insider the other day explained that post IPO, Mark’s dad would be in line for a $60m windfall. Apparently, way back when Facebook was being set up, Mr Zuckerberg Snr was asked by his son to provide some working capital. In return he was granted 2,000,000 Facebook share options although these were set to expire after 12 months. Sensing that this was a little unfair on the chap considering the important role he’d played in financing the early growth of the company, the board (I wonder who led this initiative), voted to reissue the options as Class B shares with no end date on them. At IPO these shares will make Mr Zuckerberg one of the richest dentists around.

By contrast, there’s the story of Joe Green – a former roommate of Zuckerberg at Harvard. Green was responsible with Zuckerberg and others for creating the forerunner to Facebook, called ‘FaceMash’. However, when the rest of the team left college to set up the new company, he chose to stay and finish his studies. Apparently he calls it his $400m mistake. That said, don’t feel too sorry for him. The shares in Facebook he retained plus his ownership of Facebook App ‘Causes’ will still make him a multi-millionaire from the IPO.

Is there a moral to these stories? Well yes and it’s quite simple – support start-ups! Oh, and if a friend asks you to invest in his or her fledgling business, give it some serious consideration. You might regret it if you don’t.

Image sourced from wordcastnet.com

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1 Comment

  1. Guy on February 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Let’s not forget the grafitti artist who painted the Facebook office back in 2005 and who decided to take some stock instead of being paid… He’s now worth $200m on the back of that little decision.