The spending culture at Facebook, just as we suspected, adds more evidence that this is a seflish social media bubble, which has kept its money relatively contained -- for good and ill -- to the tech world. Facebook millionaires don't spend like other millionaires, as The New York Times's Somini Sengupta reports in her write-up of the "Reticient Rich." Taking a look at the wealth Facebook has created, Sengupta describes a culture that derides conspicuous consumption. "It’s almost an unspoken rule: spend your money, but do it privately," an anonymous source told Sengupta. Showcasing extreme wealth is such a touchy subject, the Times had to keep most of its sources anonymous. (Really?) As we've discussed before, unlike other bubbles, this one has stayed pretty contained money-wise. This nouveau-riche isn't spending like crazy. Thanks to Sengupta, we get an inside view of how and why this phenomenon is happening.
Spending Money Is Not Cool
Because hoodie wearing Zuck says so: "it is understood, say Facebook employees and their friends, that Mr. Zuckerberg would find it uncool for one of his underlings to drive a Lamborghini to the office," writes Sengupta.
Really, they make fun of each other for it: "If someone buys a fancy car and posts a picture of it, they get ridiculed and berated," one of those insider sources told Sengupta.
Therefore It Happens Underground
Literally: Sheryl Sandberg is building a mostly underground,hidden from view mansion in Menlo Park, says Sengupta.
Or, in secret, like this: "Fabulous home theaters are tucked into the basements of plain suburban houses. Bespoke jeans that start at $1,200 can be detected only by a tiny red logo on the button. The hand-painted Italian bicycles that flash across Silicon Valley on Saturday mornings have become the new Ferrari — and only the cognoscenti could imagine that they cost more than $20,000," writes Sengupta.
Or, modestly, like this: "Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, sets the tone at the company with his trademark rumpled hoodies that display no obvious brand name. He spent $7 million on a large but nondescript home in Palo Alto, a suburb so expensive that even a small, no-frills house easily goes for $1.5 million these days," she adds.
Or, on Other Social Media Endeavors
See: "The one money matter that most Internet millionaires talk about openly is what start-ups they are investing in next," writes Sengupta.
Because of This Mentality
Creating, not consuming, matters: “It is a means to do more, to make more money and ultimately build more,” Ted Zoller, a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation told Sengupta.
Look! These guys are keeping their winnings to themselves, unless they're investing in tech start-ups, which is basically keeping the money to themselves, since they often give money to friends. Just remember, that means less pain for the rest of everyone else later.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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