Facebook’s founder donates his shares to charity, but …?

They say charity begins at home. The same can clearly be exemplified by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s decision to donate 99% of their wealth within their lifetime on the occasion of the birth of their daughter. Well many many congratulations on the cutest new addition to the Facebook family.


Image source: Facebook

Here’s the part of the 2200+ word note that has attracted the maximum attention:

We will give 99% of our Facebook shares — currently about $45 billion — during our lives to advance this mission. We know this is a small contribution compared to all the resources and talents of those already working on these issues. But we want to do what we can, working alongside many others.

It takes a big heart to donate your fortune for charitable purpose at the age of 31. Even Bill Gates was in his mid 40s when he decided to donate his fortune for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffet far older. Clearly Mark is entering into uncharted territory for billionaire philanthropists. Hats off and respect to you Mark.

But why do such billionaires suddenly emerge as philanthropists? The answer perhaps lies in a need of self actualization. If we compare Mark, Bill and Warren – the three of them share a common streak : They have all started companies that emerged as dominant force in their industry, meaning they had no goal left to accomplish. This in turn, creates a need to indulge in other activities, that can provide them a sense of purpose. Charity, notably is something that ranks fairly high in this list. Yet, not all entrepreneurs think on similar lines. Steve Jobs, for instance, never quite believed in such activities.

Mark has so far often been symbolised as a ruthless entrepreneur and CEO, targeting next segments of growth while equally indulging in strategic acquisitions (notably Instagram and Whatsapp). In fact he can easily be attributed as a focused founder who wants his venture to remain the numero uno social network and will take every step necessary for it. Can the recent decision just be another step in the same direction?

In the past as well, Mark has resorted to charity notably during Ophrah’s show when Facebook was facing lot of heat over data privacy issues. This, in turn urges the skeptic in me to analyse the situation a bit more .

Here’s a look at another excerpt from his note:

As you begin the next generation of the Chan Zuckerberg family, we also begin the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join people across the world to advance human potential and promote equality for all children in the next generation. Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

Connecting people and building strong communities , really ? Isn’t it not sounding like another promotion of Internet.org ? Let us make the world a better place by providing free internet, forget net neutrality and indulge in facebookization of internet ! Mark is currently facing a lot of heat these days over his pet project.

If this is true, then the entire initiative will only emerge as a platform to promote internet.org !

However, let’s hope it isn’t the case. Here’s ending it on a positive note:

For your generation to live in a better world, there is so much more our generation can do.

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