Given all the talk about Facebook being the new AOL — and I’m as guilty as the next guy — couldn’t the social network have tried a little harder to hire someone other than Chamath Palihapitiya, who was until recently a senior executive at the ill-fated Time Warner unit? His hiring is seen as just another sign that Facebook is prepping for an IPO.
Of course, Palihapitiya has other credentials as well, despite the fact that he is just 30 years old: he comes to Facebook after a brief stint at the venture-capital outfit Mayfield Fund, and before he was at AOL (where he ran the ICQ and AIM business and the broadband unit) he worked at Spinner.com and Winamp.com. Before that, according to his LinkedIn profile, he was a derivatives trader for BMO Nesbitt Burns in Toronto. Yes, the new Facebook hire is a Canadian boy, who was raised in Toronto and got his degree in electrical engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is also apparently a high-stakes poker player, according to his “fun facts” page at Mayfield, who has played no-limit games against some of the best. And he doesn’t take kindly to snotty car salesmen who fail to pay him the proper amount of respect, according to this New York Times article.