Morning Coffee Mar 09 2012

The Road Not Taken: The People Who Turned Down Facebook

By joseph walker

There's more than a few people who wish they could go back in time and "like" Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg first reached out to them.

Take Joe Green. When he was an undergraduate at Harvard, he and Mark Zuckerberg hacked together a Web application called Facemash that let users vote on whether their classmates were "hot." The app got them in trouble with Harvard administrators, and Green's dad advised him to abstain from working on more "Zuckerberg projects."

So when Zuckerberg morphed Facemash into Thefacebook and asked Green to head up its business operations, he declined. It's a decision that cost him $3 billion, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Green's not the only one who opted out of becoming an early Facebook employee and the chance to become super rich. Another Harvard classmate of Zuckerberg's, Joe Jackson, took a summer internship with J.P. Morgan Chase rather than move to Palo Alto, Calif., with the rest of the company. Jackson, a current Harvard Business School student, isn't in the poor house, but he recognizes what could have been.

Compare that experience with Chris Hughes, who did move to California. The Facebook co-founder left the company in 2007 to work on Barack Obama's presidential campaign. He's worth an estimated $850 million and plans to purchase the century-old liberal magazine, The New Republic. The 28-year-old will become publisher and editor-in-chief of one of the country's most historically influential journals. That's what you call a simple twist of fate. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Looking Up (FINS)

The U.S. added 227,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate remained at a steady 8.3%. That's likely to change at some point this year, though. A survey of chief financial officers finds that most think unemployment will fall below the 8% in 2012.

You've Got Fired (AllThingsD)

AOL is close to announcing layoffs of 40 people on its AIM instant messaging and email services. The headcount reductions will include Senior Vice President of business operations Eric van Miltenburg and AIM head Jason Shellen.

New at the Top (CNet)

Facebook's former Director of Engineering Yishan Wong has joined Reddit as its new chief executive. Reddit, a news aggregator and message board, is a subsidiary of Advance Publications.

Secret Life (NYT)

Details are emerging about the life of Hector Xavier Monsegur, the former LulzSec hacker who went from directing cyberattacks on corporations and foreign governments to becoming a government informant. The NYT calls him the "party boy of the projects."

Skilled Money (SF Examiner)

About 1,400 AT&T and IBM employees in San Francisco will be the beneficiaries of a $5 million federal retraining grant. Another 300 unemployed workers will be part of the program.

Thinning the Ranks (AllThingsD)

Yahoo's vice president of global product marketing and business development, Luis Salazar, will leave the company. A former Microsoft general manager, Salazar is said to have been well-regarded.

Funding Jobs (The Republic via AP)

Texas Governor Rick Perry defended his policy of giving $169 million in state money to privately owned tech companies to lure jobs to the state. Tech companies are like free-agent professional athletes, he said, and must be enticed to set up shop in a given state.

Wowza (WSJ)

The iPhone photo sharing company Instagram has just 13 employees, no revenue model, and is available only on one device. That's not stopping the two-year-old company from being valued by investors at a whopping $500 million.

Buzz Around the Office

Fresh Guacamole (YouTube)

Digital artist and animator Adam Pesapane combines food and playthings.

List of the Day: How to Dress

It sounds superficial but what you wear can determine how others perceive you.

1. The younger you are, the more conservatively you should dress.

2. Both men and women should keep a blazer at work to dress things up as necessary.

3. Aim to dress professionally even on a casual Friday.

(Source: Forbes)

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