It’s probably just envy, but we can’t get over the feeling that Mark Zuckerberg owes us some of his billions.
We just learned that the Facebook founder added US$1.6 billion to his fortune on Thursday after his company, the world’s largest social networking site, hit a record high in the stock market.
That’s real money coming from a virtual world. That’s lots of moolah (If like us, you can’t grasp the enormity of US$1.6 billion, it’s US$66 million per hour or US$1.1 million per minute) coming from the many hours we waste on Facebook to seek likes from friends and read their tepid posts. As active users of the site — we’re now 1.32 billion strong, or 4.4 million in Hong Kong alone — we can say we’re the ones making this 30-year-old Harvard dropout fabulously rich. Shouldn’t we be entitled to a part of his wealth?
But on Facebook’s 10th anniversary in February, all we got from him was a personalized video of our “most memorable” posts. That’s a gift? We did those ourselves. Or perhaps it’s like a “thank you” card for all the little things we did to make him rich.
Zuckerberg’s net worth is now US$33.3 billion, making him richer than two of his fellow nerds, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Facebook founder is now No. 16, moving past Brin and Page who rank 17th and 18th.
Facebook’s stock surge was fuelled by its glowing report card on earnings and revenues for the second quarter, which topped analyst estimates. The shares reached US$76.74 at the close, boosting the company’s market value to nearly US$194 billion, Reuters reports.
That means the Menlo Park, California-based company is even bigger than Coca-Cola and AT&T. It’s No. 15 on the Standard & Poor’s 500 benchmark index, just below the US$196 billion market cap of International Business Machines, says the wire agency.
“A 100-year-old company with real assets versus a company admittedly with virtual assets and they are trading at the same market cap – crazy,” Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, was quoted as saying.
“[Zuckerberg's] just getting started,” David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, tells Bloomberg. “He’s going to become the richest person on the planet.”
Meanwhile, let’s continue browsing through the status updates on Facebook. Let not Zuckerberg’s real billions distract us from our virtual pleasures.
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