Facebook reported its Q2 earnings this morning and it was a huge result on all fronts.
Income from operations – up $US1.4 billion over just $US562 million this time last year. Total revenue – up 61% to more than $US3 billion (for the quarter).
And still its active user base grows, literally years after the naysayers said the social media giant’s allure was wearing thin. Monthly active users for Q2 stood at 1.32 billion; mobile audience up 31%. to 1.07 billion.
Facebook’s share price hit an all-time high on the news of $75. Compare that to when Mark Zuckerberg rang the bell two years ago to announce Facebook’s debut on the stock market, it opened at $38 before dipping in the following months to as little as $18.
Three months later, Zuckerberg’s personal worth had more than halved to $9bn based on the 500-odd million shares he held in Facebook. He was 28 years old at the same.
But Zuckerberg has proved himself anything but an idle CEO, and the results of what some have called outrageous spending are paying off in a big way.
He bought Instagram for $1bn just before Facebook’s IPO. Crazy, some said.
He laid out a staggering $16bn for messaging app WhatsApp. “Insane.”
His most recent big buy – $2bn for VR headset company Oculus Rift – has been widley labelled an extravagant boy’s toy purchase.
He doesn’t own a music streaming site yet, although he does have a pretty solid partnership with Spotify which could easily turn into an acquisition and he hasn’t yet made any noise about a move into video streaming, so there’s still huge growth potential.
But amongst all these numbers, there’s one correlation which has gone widely under the radar and it has seen Zuckerberg admitted into an extremely rare club.
Today’s earnings call solidifies his worth at comfortably above $30bn, given the 422,954,082 shares he owns. It’s fluctuated a little between $30bn and $31bn, but the trend is looking up.
So, there it is – Mark Zuckerberg has more billions under his belt than years he has lived.
He hit it three or four times briefly back in February and March but you wouldn’t bet against Zuckerberg being worth well over $31bn by his 31st birthday next May.
If that doesn’t sound like a big deal, try to find someone who can match that and you’ll come up with a very short list.
According to Forbes, Carlos Slim touched over it once in 2011 when he was valued at $74bn at the age of 71. He matched it in 2013 with $73bn at 73, and despite the fact that as you get older, the bar gets a little harder to leap over, Slim is actually bucking the trend.
At 74, he’s in a red-letter year and is worth $80bn.
It is, if you’ll excuse the pun, on a par with the timeless golf mark of “shooting under your age”, in that it’s not a goal you’re expected to even consider until you’re well into your middle-age.
Which brings us to the other remarkable billionaire in this club that Zuckerberg is now flirting with.
Bill Gates first topped the Forbes rich list in 1995 with $12.9bn. It took him until he was 43 to pass the billions-to-years mark in 1998 ($51bn), after which he made a staggering jump to $90bn at 44 years of age.
In 2003-2005 he slipped under the mark, but has steadily stretched the gap again since. He’s been pretty much its sole member for 12 of the past 15 years.
And when it comes to more billions than years, no one else comes close to Slim, Gates and Zuckerberg, nor have they since Forbes started listing the world’s wealthiest.
Of course, before that, it was a different story. In the times of tyrants, frontier wealth and absolute royalty, the billions-to-years club was a little more open. You can see them all here in this wonderful list of The 25 Richest People Who Ever Lived compiled earlier this year by celebritynetworth.com.
But here’s how the list stands after today:
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