Glad I added all those sarcastic caveats to my description of Valleywag below — it seems someone at Facebook played Owen Thomas like a fiddle, and the rumour about Zuckerberg cashing in isn’t true. Owen’s attempt to talk his way out of having been played is here. I still think it would be a smart thing to do though, even if it isn’t actually happening.
According to the scrupulously honest and eminently reliable folks at Valleywag, young Mark Zuckerberg has taken an early cash-out from Facebook, by selling some of his stock in the company’s latest financing round. The gossip site says he picked up a not-too-shabby $40-million as part of the deal with Microsoft.
As Valleywag’s Owen Thomas notes, this isn’t how VC financing typically works. And it’s not how founders of startups typically work either — many hang on long after they could have maximized their return, either because they aren’t allowed to sell any shares or because they don’t want to make it look like they are losing faith.
But why shouldn’t Zuckerberg get a little something for his effort — and take advantage of the market’s valuation frenzy? He still maintains a huge stake in the company. I think it’s a smart move.