Tag Archives: priscilla chan

it’s been a great summer for my friend mark zuckerberg

so lots of folks are frowning about facebook.  the social media network built in mark zuckerberg’s harvard university dorm room in 2004 offered up its shares to the public in may.  at the opening bell, it was trading at $38 per share and expectations were high.  it was the most anticipated of ipo’s!

since then, share prices have plummeted to less than $20 as i write.  board member and one of facebook’s biggest investors peter thiel sold off 80% of his shares today and that’s gotta hurt.  thiel was an early angel to the company, with a $500,000 check.  he’s going to end up with over a billion dollars.  that is so much more of a return on investment than i netted when my ex husband and i sold the family home this summer.  and i don’t see any articles on cnn.com about what a lousy investment the presser family made in real estate.

dustin moskovitz, one of facebook’s cofounders, is selling 7 million shares today, netting him about $9 million. that sounds like a defection, like a friendship issue. but it’s not. moskovitz still has 126 million shares, or about $2.4 billion in the company. so mark, don’ t hit the “defriend” button!


but let’s look at mark’s summer.  and facebook’s summer.

mark and his girlfriend priscilla chan married a few days after the ipo in may. contrary to the storyline of “the social network” mark and priscilla were an item beginning even before facebook was started. he’ll always know she loves him for himself! and she graduated from medical school this year and is pursuing her own dream of being a pediatrician. what a happy couple! i have no idea where my “save the date” postcard and my invite went. but that engraved toaster i got you at bloomingdale’s is on its way!

so on a personal note, mark is having a great summer.  and professionally?  well, he’s young and he’s created something so amazing that he could walk away and everybody would still think he’s a genius.

but is he going to walk away?  no.  just because facebook (and the other social network systems) have been overvalued doesn’t mean there’s a fundamental problem.  it just means that some people were a little overenthusiastic.  a social network’s only asset is information about its users.  the only thing facebook owns is information about you–your pictures, your posts, that status update–that it can sell to advertisers.  there’s never been a company model quite like facebook, groupon, zynga, linkedin before.  it’s to be expected some mistakes would happen in figuring out how to value information about its users.

but with mistakes comes opportunity.  the price is dropping.  some analysts think facebook is going to settle around $12 a share and that still leaves mark zuckerberg incredibly wealthy.

mark and priscilla have lived in this home for quite a while. it’s big, to be sure, but not quite what you would expect for a gazillionaire. and i respect that the two of them handed out candy at halloween on their own. they’re pretty regular, all things considered.

and here’s the great thing about the shares settling in the teens–it means that mark can look forward to regular type folks investing in facebook.  including me!

see you at the board meeting, mark!




the facebook nation travel policy

facebook challenges the notion of a world of nations bound by geographical borders and nationally shared identities.  facebook nation will, by the end of the summer, have a citizenry of over 900 million.  which makes facebook’s census figures just shy of those of china or of the entire african continent.  facebook has a government insofar as SOMEBODY is making the rules.  i figure mark zuckerberg is king and his wife priscilla chan our queen. facebook national travel policy?  you can go anywhere as long as your passport is stamped “like”!

kate and william, by comparison are of a royal family that rules over the united kingdom, population 62 million, and it’s roughly twice the size of the state of new york. happy anniversary wills and kate!

facebook citizens can be separated by oceans or seated side by side at computers (or any reasonably intelligent phone).

i’ve been thinking about national boundaries in the past week.  in 2011, i began a journey that has hopscotched around the world and around my geographic country of america–all to meet my facebook friends, my fellow citizens of a country without borders.  before this journey, this resolution, i had never purchased a plane ticket for myself.  didn’t have a valid passport (only about one third of americans actually have one).  and i had never been out of the country before.  making a commitment to meet every one of my facebook friends in person has changed all that.

for most countries, a visa–a permission to enter the country–is either a fee one pays at the airport or just a wave hello from an official after you stand in line for a while.  other countries are a bit more stringent.  i sweated through several weeks waiting for my visa to india.  and it cost a lot of money.  this week i’m sweating through waiting on three visas to brazil. brazil is feeling a bit bruised because american policy about allowing brazilians into america has become more of a hassle since 9/11.  wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all belonged to the nation of facebook where there are no boundaries?

for the most part, i try to have a chaperone when i am traveling to see a facebook friend i’ve never met before. reggie has twice been my chaperone. without him, i’m sure i’d still be in mexico city at the plaza revolucion eating ice cream and chatting with my facebook friend yoshi maeshiro whom i met on facebook because he is a fan of my grandfather who wrote science fiction novels.


reggie is my chaperone for brazil, as is one other facebook friend vincent peters.  reggie is about to be deployed to afghanistan.  he cannot personally visit a brazilian consulate without going offbase.  so vince is pleading his cause at the brazilian consulate in washington.  meanwhile, i have gotten my shots and filled out my paperwork.  it’s very unnerving to hand over one’s passport to a representative of another country and have them say “we’ll get back to you on this.”  i do what i do because i believe strongly that if we are only interacting on the internet we are not fully engaged.  we are only friends if we can cement that friendship with reality.  we leave for brazil next week.  between now and then i need to learn the words i learn for every country i visit:  hello, goodbye, thank you and friendship!



mark zuckerberg avoids transfer taxes! also, incidentally gets married.

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!

the movie “the social network” makes it sound like mark was a bit of, ahem, loser with women. actually, he and priscilla have been dating for nine years. they’ve been together during the tough times and the really great times. for my wedding present to the zuckerbergs, i’m going to give them a photo album entitled “my trip to the grand canyon”, a link to a leah silberman music video and a list of all my friends!  oh, wait, they already have that!  p.s. don’t they look adorable pictured here in their backyard at the wedding?

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.

but i wonder what you think …

and, of course, i wonder–did they invite all their facebook friends?