Antonio Garcia Martinez joined Facebook as a product manager right before its IPO in 2011. He was hired to work on Facebook’s ad products, and he eventually created the doomed FBX ad exchange.
Garcia Martinez left the company in 2013 and then wrote the book “Chaos Monkeys,” a description of what it’s like to work alongside Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook in Menlo Park, California. “Chaos Monkeys” is probably the best, most detailed description of what it’s like working at the giant social media network from the point of view of ordinary employees.
The book reveals that many of them are very well compensated. This isn’t surprising, as the competition for tech workers in Northern California is intense. But Garcia Martinez went a step further than that. He detailed exactly what he was paid, in salary, stock, options and bonuses. While salaries at Facebook aren’t a secret, it is unusual to see a Facebook employee describe their compensation in such detail.
It turns out that even when you’re offered a package worth nearly $1 million, you still don’t feel rich, Garcia Martinez writes:
Facebook’s original offer was 75,000 shares, vesting over four years, in addition to a $ 175,000 salary. I had managed to wangle the equivalent of 5,000 shares up front in cash to pay for credit cards, a new car (with the licence plate ADGROK, of course), and the sailboat I was then living on — about $ 200,000 in cash all together. That left 70,000 shares. Assuming nominal performance, from both me and the company (our bonuses were a product of individual performance reviews and a company-wide multiplier more or less arbitrarily chosen by Zuck), I’d get a cash bonus in the 7 to 15 per cent range.
Garcia Martinez said his comp worked out like this, on the day of the IPO:
- $38 per share
- × (70,000 shares ÷ 4 years + 3,000 shares annual bonus)
- + ($ 175,000 base salary + $ 17,500 rough annual bonus)
- = $971,500 per year [about £800,000].
But then … taxes! And Silicon Valley property prices!
After the IRS took its chunk Garcia Martinez was left with about $550,000. Apartments in the San Francisco area start at $1 million and go up to $3 million for a nice but modest house. So even when you’re a near-millionaire in SF on paper, your actual circumstances can still feel decidedly middle class, Garcia Martinez says.
And, if he had held onto any of that stock, Garcia Martinez would be even better off now. While FB did dip into the teens after the IPO, it is now trading at $131.
Many Facebook employees joined the company far earlier than he did, and emerged from the IPO multi-millionaires. That showed up later, Garcia Martinez says, in the form of “a certain debauched air” inside the company as people splurged on luxury cars:
I didn’t quite realise all this, sitting there on the first day the company was public, looking at a stock price, but I would soon enough. I’d see not just my fortunes change (even if not in a fully “fuck you” sort of way) very quickly ; those of everyone around would change as well. From the slightly ridiculous nights out (I recall a double steak dinner and four-figure restaurant bills in there somewhere), to the rather rapid accumulation of Porsches, Corvettes, and even the odd Ferrari in the parking lot, things did assume a certain debauched air at Facebook, despite all the corporate clamor for austere discipline. That was all in the future. Right then, it just seemed I was finally going to live at something above a subsistence level, and have more than peanuts in the bank.
Garcia Martinez now lives on a boat in Washington State.
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