May the Farce Be With You

May the Farce Be With You

It wasn’t a good week for women in technology. First, according to Sequoia’s Sir Michael Moritz, “for all the many smart, driven, capable young women interested in working in technology: apparently, you don’t exist.” Then, no sooner was she born that little Max Zuckerberg’s parents, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, announced that they were giving away 99% of their Facebook shares (about $45 billion) to help make the world a better place for her.

But wait: little Maxima might not have fared so badly. It has now been widely reported that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is not the charity it was first thought to be: it’s an LLP, not a 501c3, which basically means that he’s starting a new company that’s free to invest wherever and however he’d like (Not All Of Mark Zuckerberg’s Donation Will Go To Charity: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is set to receive Zuckerberg’s stock grant, is neither exclusively a charity, nor a charitable trust), although Zuckerberg claims that the focus is on social good. According to a Facebook SEC filing, the money will go to “philanthropic, public advocacy, and other activities for the public good.”

Not that that worked out so well when he donated $100 million to the Newark public school system, which turned out to be a waste – and a lot of pork being spread around to $1000/day consultants.

Zuck is also part of Bill Gates’s new Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a multi-billion dollar initiative to back clean energy, Recode reports, and we’ve already covered Gates’s so-called philanthropic motives.

Not that Zuckerberg will be relinquishing control of Facebook any time soon. In fact, the 99% will be gifted in the course of the Chan-Zuckerberg’s lifetime. Call us skeptical, but we buy into this latest PR play about as whole-heartedly as we bought into Zuck’s $1-a-year salary myth. As for helping to further education with his micro-schools, again, he’s also pushing Facebook software, thus creating new markets.

Which brings us to the forest through the trees. The stock market has been a bit volatile lately, and overinflated, many would argue, with four major tech stocks driving the market: FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google). Could it be that one of the major tech insiders conveniently used the birth of his daughter to start pulling his money out of his Facebook stock, despite the fact that he did say in the course of his lifetime, which could simply be brilliant obfuscation on his part? The LLC might have been a smart move at this point, from a man who is quite adept at calculating his every move, although those moves might not always be apparent, at first blush. We’re living in a volatile time in tech and in our humble opinion, the Chan Zuckerberg clan just made a move to ensure that, no matter what goes on in the market and in the tech world at large, and having a newborn at home aside, it won’t be them who’ll be losing much sleep. Onward and forward.

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