what a week for mark zuckerberg! on monday, his girlfriend of nine years — priscilla chan — graduated from stanford university medical school AND it was his birthday! he posted “I’m so proud of you, Dr. Chan” during the commencement ceremony. aww, ain’t love grand?
then facebook shares became available to the public and institutional investors for the first time. it was an incredible payday for the private investors who have supported facebook until now. the private investors have risked everything on an idea–that ordinary people want to look up old friends, find new ones, play hidden chronicles, and post pictures of their adorable ___ (cat, dog, baby, grandmother, thing they made for dinner). those investors, and mark, were right. facebook shares opened at $38 per share and are holding steady as i write this.
mark’s fortune is now so vast that relationship advice expert donald trump opined that a naive young billionaire often makes bad moves, saying “they get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot. I’m notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1 million, that would be very good.” that donald, always an optimist!
so one day after facebook went public, mark zuckerberg changed his status from single to married and wrote a pithy post: “Married Priscilla Chan”. . . it has a lot of ‘likes’. . . .
a curious financial note that the donald might not have thought of: let’s say i’m a billionaire.
okay, i had to have a few moments to close my eyes and think about that one! back to business!
i’m a billion. my girlfriend (her name, just hypothetically, is priscilla) is a pediatrician who wants to open up a clinic for underprivileged children. i want to give her, say, a billion to build the clinic of her dreams. if she’s my girlfriend, the transfer taxes are awful–the internal revenue service will have an agent on my doorstep asking for their share of the money toot sweet! that’s french for jimmy johns fast–
but if i want to give my wife (again, just hypothetically named priscilla) a billion dollars to open a clinic, it’s what the i.r.s. call a “nontaxable event”. the i.r.s. hates nontaxable events–if they could figure out a way to make taking a nap on the lounge chair in your backyard a taxable event, they would! personally, i think the world has come out on top. mark owns all our personal information because we have an implacable human need to connect. priscilla makes medical care available to kids who might otherwise not be able to get it. and love reigns! too bad about the i.r.s.
and, of course, i wonder–did they invite all their facebook friends?