Lessons I learned from the world’s youngest billionaire

Written by Gabriela Motroc on January 1st, 2014

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Picture 3Call it luck, but the fact that Dustin Moskovitz is eight days younger than Facebook’s renowned co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, has made him Forbes’ youngest billionaire in the world with a fortune of $5.2 billion.

Although Moskovitz’s days with Facebook are over and the action of moving on can be translated into “Asana”, but because of the company he founded in 2008, Moskovitz will undoubtedly be remembered as one of Facebook’s co-founders, along with Eduardo Saverin, Chris Hughes, Andrew McCollum and Mark Zuckerberg.

However, Dustin Moskovitz is not only Facebook’s first chief technology officer or Asana’s founder; he is also a member of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge. Along with his fiancé, a former Wall Street journalist, he has promised to give away most of his fortune.

Therefore, it can be concluded that what I learned from Dustin Moskovitz is more than just moneymaking skills.

Seize the chance

Until a certain point, Dustin Moskovitz’s path was linked to Mark Zuckerberg’s. They were roommates at Harvard and they founded Facebook within the walls of their dorm room with the hope of helping residential students track down and connect with students from other residences. When thefacebook.com became Facebook, both Moskovitz and Zuckerberg took a year off, moved Facebook to Palo Alto and hired the company’s first eight employees.

Although Dustin Moskovitz’s profile includes the term ‘college drop-out’, his actions are responsible for triggering a new life as the world’s youngest billionaire. Therefore, as surreal seizing the chance and following your dreams may sound, Facebook’s founder proved that going against the wave and dropping out of college can turn into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The beginning is always tough

As mentioned above, Dustin Moskovitz started off as Facebook’s first chief technology officer and then upgraded his position as the company’s vice president of engineering. Nonetheless, he had to give up Harvard to pursue the dream he shared with Mark Zuckerberg. Even though it was a tough decision, he took the risk and prepared himself for the struggle that would follow.

Mark Zuckerberg Insider best portrays Dustin Moskovitz’s road to Mark Zuckerberg and since the nine zeroes in his bank account have taken him by surprise, he promised to share it with the world. “I never viewed money as being ‘my money’. I always saw it as ‘The money’. It’s a resource. If it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back into the system”, said Moskovitz.

Always have an ace up your sleeve

Although he founded Asana, a web application which helps teams communication and collaborate better through the use of tasks and deadlines, he is still connected to Facebook thanks to the 125+ million Facebook shares Class B stock, that are worth approximately $2.4 billion, according to International Business Times.

The way in which he secured his fair share of the Facebook fortune was by converting seven more million Class B shares into Class A, which allowed Moskovitz to publicly sell them, says International Business Times.

Never forget your roots

When Moskovitz founded the task management application called Asana, he needed funding in order to pursue his dream and turn this Sanskrit word into a reality that can boost people’s efficiency.

There were two rounds of funding received from angel investors like PayPal’s Peter Thiel, the former president of Facebook, Sean Parker and venture capital firms like Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. This is how Asana was formed.

Later, Dustin Moskovitz became an angel investor himself and backed Facebook’s former executive David Morin’s Path, a social network service which also features photo sharing. What’s more, he was Morin’s go-to advisor and helped him stay on his feet after receiving an offer from Google to purchase Path. As a result, Morin remained at the helm of his own company and has become extremely popular, TechCrunch reports.

Money is made to be spent wisely

Dustin Moskovitz may sit on a $5.2 billion fortune, he doesn’t spend it recklessly. According to Forbes, Asana’s founder along with his fiancé, Cari Tuna established Good Ventures, a private foundation which has shed over $4.5 million in causes like malaria eradication and marriage equality.

The couple has also enrolled in The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the wealthiest people in the world to dedicate at least 50% of their fortune to philanthropy. In his own pledge, Dustin Moskovitz says:

“As a result of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, I’ve earned financial capital beyond my wildest expectations. Today, I view the reward not as personal wealth, but as a tool with which I hope to bring even more benefit to the world […] Over the next few years, we will begin to identify the causes to which we can make the most leveraged contributions. We will donate and invest with both urgency and mindfulness, aiming to foster a safer, healthier and more economically empowered global community.”

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