Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Profile of Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook

Dustin Aaron Moskovitz
Age: 31
Home: San Francisco
Hometown: Ocala, Florida
Net worth: $7.7 billion, according to Forbes

In March 2004, a story in Stanford University’s student newspaper reported an alarming trend.

“Classes are being skipped. Work is being ignored,” said the Stanford Daily. “Students are spending hours in front of their computers in utter fascination,”

The cause?  An addictive new website called TheFacebook.com, created just a month earlier by Harvard University sophomore Mark Zuckerberg. The site had quickly become an obsession for many college students, the newspaper reported. 

Way down in the 26th paragraph, the story mentioned Zuckerberg’s roommate, Harvard sophomore Dustin Moskovitz, was also working on the website. Moskovitz, the story noted, “was vague about what the duo hopes to achieve from the sites.”
Dustin Moskovitz

As we know now, things turned out pretty well for TheFacebook.com – it became Facebook.com in 2005 – and for Zuckerberg. Moskovitz, while not as well known as his former roommate, has done alright too – he is worth $7.7 billion today, according to Forbes.

Moskovitz grew up in Ocala, Florida, attending the public Vanguard High School and fishing during his spare time. At Harvard, he only met Zuckerberg after they were randomly paired as roommates.  His involvement in Facebook was sheer serendipity.

"I didn't really pitch him,” Moskovitz told Mashable.com years later. “It was more like he was working on this thing and I was sitting next to him, and he would say, 'Hey, can you help me with this?'"

Moskovitz became Facebook’s third employee, its first chief technology officer and later the vice president of engineering. But compared to Zuckerberg, he’s generally kept a low profile. While 388 Los Angeles Times stories have mentioned Zuckerberg, only 17 have mentioned Moskovitz.

Moskovitz left Facebook in 2008, but kept enough stock in the company to become  the world’s youngest billionaire in 2010, according to Forbes. He is 8 days younger than Zuckerberg.

One of Moskovitz’s achievements at Facebook was devising software to help the company’s employees collaborate in an efficient manner. Upon leaving the company, Moskovitz teamed up with another Facebook alum, Justin Rosenstein, to create a new company to bring collaborative software to other businesses. They originally called the company Smiley Abstractions, but by the time their product was released in 2011, it was called Asana.  Asana, promoted with the line “teamwork without email,” is Moskowitz’s primary focus today.

In 2011, Moskovitz and his then-girlfriend, former Wall Street Journal reporter Cari Tuna, launched a charitable foundation called Good Ventures. Over three years, the foundation has awarded 52 grants, totaling $30.3 million, to a variety of causes focusing on such things as global health, education reform, criminal justice and immigrant labor. Moskovitz and Tuna, who married in 2013, continue to lead Good Ventures. They have also signed the Giving Pledge, an effort led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to encourage the wealthy to give away half their fortunes to charity.

“As a result of Facebook’s success, I’ve earned financial capital beyond my wildest expectations,” Moskovitz said in a letter to Giving Pledge. “Today, I view that reward not as personal wealth, but as a tool with which I hope to bring even more benefit to the world.”

Today, Moskovitz and Tuna lives in a 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath condominium in San Francisco’s Mission District that he bought in 2010 for $870,000. The condo is just six blocks from Asana headquarters. Moskovitz owns 46.5 million shares of Facebook – 2.1% of the company – which carry a total value of $3.4 billion. 
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