Morning Coffee Feb 02 2012

The Tao of Zuck

By joseph walker

For a guy asking investors for $5 billion to grow his company, Mark Zuckerberg sounded awfully nonchalant about the money-making part of taking Facebook public. In a "Letter from Mark Zuckerberg" included in the company's IPO prospectus yesterday, the 27-year-old chief executive say he and his employees "don't wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money." Nope, for the Harvard dropout who stands to be worth as much as $28 billion when Facebook goes public, making a buck is just a tool to pursue the "social mission" of making "the world more open and connected."

As if to illustrate how little he cares about money, the prospectus announced that as of January 2013, Zuckerberg will take home only $1 in base salary. Of course, it's Zuckerberg's 28% stake in the company he founded in a dorm room that will soon make him one of the world's richest people. Last year, Zuckerberg made about $720,000 in total cash compensation and received about $700,000 in chartered air travel paid for by the company. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg earned $30.87 million, most of it in stock, and Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer made $24.72 million with the vast majority of it in stock.

The prospectus is unusual in the depth to which it explains the company's workplace culture. The Facebook philosophy is spelled out in "The Hacker Way," a mini-manifesto that says the company values the power of ideas rather than personalities in internal arguments about its product line and strategy. Facebook engineers are expected to quickly build their ideas into products and take risks even if they might fail. Every engineering employee and manager goes through a training program called Bootcamp where they're required to learn the nitty-gritty of the company's code base.

Maybe it's Facebook's impressive financials that allow Zuckerberg, who is partial to hoodies and sandals, to wax philosophic about his 3,200-person company. Facebook generated $3.71 billion in revenue last year, up 88% from 2010, and earned a $1 billion profit. That's a fraction of the $9.73 billion Google earned last year, but Facebook did it with about 29,000 fewer employees. Facebook is still a relatively small company by staff size, though it has doubled each of the past three years and says it will hire thousands more in the years to come.

In a way, the entire prospectus is about corporate culture and work. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Zuckerberg resisted going public for years out of fear that a focus on the stock price would replace a focus on the company's "social mission." The prospectus warns that the tremendous "wealth" that its IPO will bring to employees could affect their willingness to stay with the Menlo Park, Calif. company.

Zuckerberg has already accomplished a lot for a guy not yet 30 years old. His next test is to lead the company into its post-IPO future while maintaining the culture he's so meticulously built. That's why, he says, the phrase "this journey is 1% finished" adorns many a wall in Facebook's offices.

New Blood (WSJ)

Sony Corp. has appointed 51-year-old Kazuo Hirai as its next chief executive. Hirai, who says he wants to shake up the company's organizational structure to promote innovation, succeeds Howard Stringer, Sony's first non-Japanese CEO.

Keeping Jobs Here (Computerworld)

The U.S. Congress thinks it may have a new tool to discourage companies from sending jobs overseas: shame. A recently introduced bill would require American companies to break down their employment numbers country by country.

Study Hard (Networkworld)

Forget basket-weaving, here's the really hot major you should be pursuing in college: IT management. A survey finds that 85% of Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) students in the U.K. find jobs within six months of leaving school.

The New Secretary (NYT)

Amid all the early employees and investors who stand to get rich from Facebook's IPO is graffiti artist David Choe whose stake is worth $200 million. He decided to take stock instead of cash for painting frescoes in Facebook's first headquarters.

European Cuts (Reuters)

IBM could cut as many as 8,000 of its total 20,000 work force in Germany, according to a union official.

Improving (Reuters)

Engineers at Electronic Arts have fixed whatever infrastructure issues were keeping players waiting to log onto its super-expensive Star Wars MMO game. The company reported 2 million units sold and 1.7 million subscribers for the game.

Finding Funding (WSJ)

If you're scheming to get your start-up funded, you don't necessarily have to cozy up to Peter Thiel or Larry Page at a dinner party. While many angel investors come from high-tech powerhouses like Google, many others reside at less flashy companies like IBM and McKinsey.

Buzz Around the Office

Ring Around the Automobile (YouTube)

Don't count sheep while you're driving.

List of the Day: Learn from Others' Mistakes

Trust the experts. Executive Career Coach Meg Montford shares the hard lessons she learned along the way.

1. Beware of blurting out what's on your mind.

2. Respect for your boss is expected.

3. "Friends" at work are different from friends outside of work.

(Source: onTargetJobs)



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