Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is having a great 2014. Financially, in fact, he’s having the best 2014 of anyone on earth. He’s gained $3.4 billion since the start of the year—nearly all of it materializing on Jan. 30, when Facebook reported its quarterly earnings, which showed more than half of revenue coming from mobile devices for the first time.
None of the planet’s other billionaires have gained even half this amount. The 29-year-old’s pile now stands at $28 billion, ranked 22nd in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Presumably, this is consolation after appearing on the current cover of Bloomberg Businessweek with the word “puberty” in very large type. The pickup has helped Zuckerberg narrow the gap to the closest unfathomably rich chief executives in the technology sector, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who have each gained a paltry $1.4 billion in 2014.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has lost $3.4 billion this year, the fourth-worst rout on the Bloomberg charts. (For comparison’s sake, that’s almost exactly the size of Utah’s public education budget for 2012.) Like Zuckerberg, Bezos has most of his net worth in his company’s stock, so he lost billions on Jan. 31 when Amazon reported disappointing results.
The convergence has the heads of Facebook, Google, and Amazon all within spitting distance of each other, personal fortune-wise. (If “spitting distance” can be defined as $5 billion or so.) This one-year chart shows Zuckerberg (blue line) closing some $10 billion worth of ground, as Page and Brin (orange and green lines, essentially identical) rise more slowly, and Bezos (purple line) falls to meet them in just the last trading day.
To catch Page, Brin, and Bezos, Zuckerberg would need Facebook shares to advance another 18 percent this year, while Google and Amazon stand still. Page and Brin have more of their assets in cash, relative to their total fortunes, than Zuckerberg or Bezos does, making them a bit less susceptible to stock market swings.
In the tech field, well ahead of this quartet are Bill Gates, the world’s richest person at $76 billion, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, at $42 billion. Below them, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is next at $18 billion. All of these numbers are beyond comprehension. Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire on the Bloomberg list’s top 150. Recently, he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $1 billion to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.